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What You Need to Know About Google’s #AMP [Updated 9/20/2016]

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What You Need to Know About Google’s #AMP [Updated 9/20/2016]

You have probably heard a lot about AMP lately. This article will give you an in-depth overview of what AMP is and what it means for you. I will update it regularly.

According to Google, AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) “is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere.”

What does that mean in plain speak? 

AMP is an initiative by Google to improve the mobile experience. By stripping down webpages to just the important parts, it allows them to load much, much faster.

Have you ever spent 30 seconds waiting for an article load, just to give up and head back to Facebook? AMP is designed to help you avoid that scenario.

How Does AMP Work?

AMP works in two ways. First, it narrows the technologies used by developers to create web pages. For example, it requires simplified coding and does not permit the use of JAVA. This helps streamline pages.

Second, it serves up pages from its own servers, which means it doesn’t have to connect with each publisher’s server, which can take time.

To do this, developers must create a stripped down version of their site specifically designed to meet AMP requirements.

What are the Benefits of AMP?

There are multiple benefits, to both the user and publishers. Users get a better, faster experience, which means they read more, search more, and possibly even buy more.

For publishers, it results in higher SERP rankings, though Google has been quick to say it isn’t a ranking factor  – yet. But, AMP helps increase mobile friendliness and speed, which are ranking factors.

AMP posts also appear in a carousel in the first organic result spot:

AMP organic result image

But What About Our Ads?

Many publishers have been concerned about what the stripped down versions of their site will mean for ad revenue. And AMP versions of web pages do tend to show fewer ads overall. This is what Google has to say about ads on AMP pages:

“A goal of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is to ensure effective ad monetization on the mobile web while embracing a user-centric approach.”

So, while fewer ads will be shown, it shouldn’t affect ad revenue because it will limit mobile bounce rates by helping deliver content faster. Only time will tell if this balances out financially for publishers, but offering a better user experience is always a good thing.

News About Accelerated Mobile Pages

AMP is constantly evolving, so we wanted to create an always up-to-date resource you could check back on to get more info. Here is the latest in AMP News, starting from the beginning.

Google Announces AMP: October 7th 2015

In early October, Google announced the very beginning of AMP via their official blog. Poor mobile experiences were nearly ubiquitous, and the AMP project sought to change that.

Google Pages Go Live: Late February 2016

In late February of 2016, we started seeing AMP pages show it in Google search results.

AMP Pages Were Slow to Show Up: May 2016

Nearly three months after AMP went live, many publishers still weren’t seeing our newly-minted AMP pages on SERPs – including SEJ.

Google Says AMP is NOT a Ranking Factor: June 24th

At SEJ Summit in Chicago, Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, states that AMP is not currently a ranking factor. He also states he could see it rolling out to product pages and other verticals in the future.

Google Announces AMP for Ads and Landing Pages: July 19th

At Google’s DoubleClick Leadership Summit, they announced AMP for ads and landing pages, filling a much-needed gap in the AMP offering. Ads were much slower to load than content, causing major issues, particularly for top banner ads that readers were scrolling past before they even loaded.

Google Chrome for iOS Begins Supporting AMP: July 28th

Apple users who search using Chrome begin seeing a lighting bolt and a label of ‘AMP’ next to these super fast loading articles.

Google Announces AMPs to Show in Organic Search & New Demo Site: August 2nd, 2016

Previously, the only way to tell which articles were AMP was through the “Top Stories” carousel. On August 2nd, Google announced they would show in organic search results and be signaled by a blue link. Read more here, including Matt Southern’s interview with David “Bez” Besbris, VP of Search at Google, about the latest developments in AMP. They also announced a demo site where publishers can test and fine tune pages.

Google Officially Rolls Out AMP in Organic Search

In their quest to make the internet faster for all, Google is now displying AMP in their organic search results. What does this mean for publishers? This is one more nudge from Google about the importance of making the switch and will increase the reach of AMP for publishers who have already made the jump. From the user side, this change means a faster internet. Read Matt Southern’s news post for more information, including where AMP goes from here.

Editor’s Note: This article will be updated regularly as Google releases new features. 

AMP Resources:

This regularly updated Roadmap shares what Google AMP is doing and where they are planning to take it.

This page on ampproject.org can help you get started in AMP.

Use this plugin to convert your site to AMP. It is a little more complicated than a regular plugin but doable for most tech-savvy folks or developers.

 

Image Credits: 

Featured Image: Deposit Photos | alphaspirit

In-post Image: Taken By Writer 

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Danielle Antosz

Danielle Antosz

Danielle is the former Features Editor for Search Engine Journal and the producer of SEJ Marketing Nerds podcast. She lives ... [Read full bio]

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