It’s been more than two years since Google introduced their mobile-friendly ranking algorithm. Designed to capture the trend towards mobile search traffic, the new algorithm caused a seismic shift in website design and SEO practices.
One technology that rose in response to the change is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a large step forward in providing simple mobile pages faster.
In addition to the SEO boost, businesses that take advantage of AMP can increase both their engagement and foot traffic.
Accelerated Mobile Pages, commonly called AMP, is an open source project backed by Google. Its goal is to allow pages to display near-instantly when clicked, eliminating the lag users otherwise experience when waiting on mobile pages to load.
AMP does this by using a simplified code designed with a “mobile first” philosophy to create AMP-compliant versions of existing sites that are cached, then produced on demand..
The AMP structure consists of three components:
- AMP-HTML: AMP uses a simplified version of HTML with specific tags designed to load more quickly.
- AMP Cache: The Google AMP Cache stores AMP content and prioritizes it above slower mobile search results.
Lightning-fast Load Times
Load times make a huge difference when it comes to holding the public’s attention. 53% of mobile users will abandon a page after 3 seconds if it doesn’t start loading, yet 75% of mobile pages take at least 10 seconds to display.
Between a simplified code, lazy loading, and the cache, AMP pages are incredibly fast. Most AMP pages load in less than a second, compared to the 22 seconds needed for an average web page to load on mobile. Even mobile pages can’t match AMP; they load four times slower.
AMP pages offer several benefits to businesses, most notably the SEO boost. Google’s algorithm ranks AMP pages very highly. In fact, AMP versions marked by the distinctive lightning bolt icon appear first in search results.
A business must be noticed in order to have a chance at winning customers, and that means breaking into the top search results for relevant terms.
Appearing in the first five results, which garner 67% of clicks, is ideal. Failing that it’s necessary to hit the first page at least. Only 5% of traffic reaches the second page of results. Creating an AMP page can be a shortcut to the top of the first page.
SEO isn’t the only advantage to AMP pages. Companies can also expect:
90% of companies see higher clickthrough rates on their AMP pages than their previous mobile sites.
Visitors spend 35% more time on AMP pages, and when they do leave 63% of them will come back at least once within a month. For comparison, typical mobile pages have around a 63% return user rate.
Greater ad revenue
Because they load faster, AMP pages have lower bounce rates than other mobile sites. That means more potential adviews and clicks. Google reported that pages which load within 5 seconds earn twice as much ad revenue as those that take 19 or more seconds.
Increased foot traffic and sales
AMP greatly increases the chances of a business appearing to those looking for local products or services.
This is mainly a benefit for branches of a franchise and small to medium businesses, but it’s a significant competitive edge. 56% of mobile searches have local intent, and 78% of those result in a visit or purchase within 24 hours.
It’s worth noting that failing to optimize for mobile at all is more harmful than just missing out on an advantage. Mobile performance is a huge part of customer experience. 52% of customers lose faith in a company if the mobile site is bad.
Is there a downside to AMP?
There are some disadvantages to using AMP pages. It’s extremely hard to implement even with the new tools that are being developed. The “HTML light” conventions are also very restrictive and block many popular third party tools.
One limitation in particular may be the most concerning for analytics-oriented executives. In order to get the prioritized ranking the AMP pages must be hosted on Google’s AMP Cache servers.
That means direct shares of AMP pages will point back to Google, not the company. Businesses can get around this by including their own links for sharing, but it is something to consider.
AMP is an effective tool for targeting mobile traffic. There are some limitations, and it’s not the best tool for every purpose, but it will deliver fast, attractive content fast enough to satisfy mobile users.
Are you having trouble reaching the first page of mobile search results? Set up a free consultation with Concepta’s experienced developers to explore whether an AMP page could be the answer to your mobile problems.