What Does Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Mean for SEO?

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Google has recently unveiled a project that is creating a faster web. By serving up simplified versions of content from select publishers, this is an effort to make the web faster and simpler for mobile searchers. Marketers who care about SEO should see the opportunity: Search engines use page-speed as one factor in how high or low a page shows up in search result rankings. Any opportunity to make your website quicker and your content more accessible is something to pay attention to.

Facebook had a similar creation recently, called “Facebook Instant Articles,” that did the same thing. From Facebook’s perspective, a faster web bringing content right to people’s fingertips means people will stay on their platforms longer. Longer time spent on respective platforms means people could be consuming more ads and driving up the value of the platform with their attention and involvement.

Example of Google AMP

Example of AMP articles in Mobile search

Amp Example Article

Example of AMP-optimized Page

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There are, of course, some drawbacks when moving to an AMP layout—one being that any functionality or high design that required JavaScript will be stripped out. What does an AMP website done well look like? Well, it can look very similar as a lot of styling can be done with some simple CSS (cascading style sheets).

If anything, AMP is reactionary against the website bloat that is happening in modern web development to make websites snazzy without necessarily increasing usability. AMP is great for SEO, if you’re able to feed into it, because of the featuring that Google is offering for these types of articles. Will it be the one thing that sticks and makes or break your site in a year for SEO? I would guess not.

Here are a couple WordPress Plugins to create a WordPress AMP version of your site quickly on the WordPress platform:

1. WordPress AMP plugin to set up AMP on a WordPress site quickly — Review and Download

2. Activate the Custom AMP plugin to create a little bit of design on the AMP version of the site — Review and Download

Because the basic WordPress AMP removes most of the styling, the Custom AMP plugin creates the ability to add your logo and some basic styles, which are all simple CSS, and customize it for Google’s AMP format.

How should you handle the upgrade to Google AMP if you want to get the most out of it for SEO?

Should you rush into implementing Google AMP-friendliness? No. At least, not as I’m writing this in June 2016. The tools to implement this are a bit rusty since they are new. They will undoubtedly be improved, AMP will proliferate, and, in the end, making your site Google AMP-friendly will either become an obvious next step for most sites, or it will remain a bit obscure and evolve into just another type of sped up sites.

The internet is getting faster across the board.

The internet is getting faster - Google AMP

 

So while Google AMP and Facebook Instant Articles are lessening the size of each page download, the download speed is also getting quicker. They’ll eventually meet in the middle, and with companies with this much capital incentivized to make fast internet connections more common, technological advances will continue to come fast. There’s always the chance that Google’s Fiber, or other similar advances from other big hitters, may make internet so fast that download size isn’t as important.

In the meantime, utilize Gzip compression and caching on your site when possible. And when you have the opportunity to implement Google AMP capability, do it. It’s not a silver bullet—just a progressive enhancement that will allow your content more visibility in very specific situations. Speed makes websites more usable, and Google and other search engines use page-speed as a data point in the order of search results.


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