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It was not exactly a surprise when Google announced it would now include mobile friendliness as an important ranking signal. According to Google, more searches happen on mobile devices than desktops, and this is unlikely to change anytime soon. As further proof of Google’s desire to improve the online mobile experience for users, the search engine giant has created the Accelerated Mobile Pages project. AMP is an initiative designed to help publishers create web pages with faster page speeds on mobile devices.
Google AMP offers two core benefits to adopters of the open standard:
- Initial AMP tests show it increased page speeds by as much as 85 percent
- AMP has been claimed to be a potential ranking signal on Google search engine results pages (SERPs)
To further illustrate why AMP should matter to marketers, below are five reasons to explain its potential impact on the mobile front.
AMP’s emphasis on speed is more relevant on mobile
Any digital marketer who has ever studied analytics data knows how important page speed is, especially when it comes to sustaining visitor interest. It even has a quantifiable effect on search engine rankings.
Page speed, however, is even more important on mobile, where users who are likely to be on the move expect websites to load quickly. Even today, the mobile web experience can be a mix of hits and misses.
Some sites have a responsive design, resulting in decent load times. Meanwhile, others look no different from their desktop versions, creating a bloated experience on smaller screens and constant zooming in and out.
Moz’s mobile optimization guide offers a concise explanation of the importance of page speed on mobile: “Because of hardware and connectivity issues, page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users. Beyond optimizing images, you’ll want to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects.”
AMP solves some flaws of responsive design
Responsive design is the most popular option for ensuring websites render seamlessly across devices of varying screen sizes. While responsive design works, its focus is more on resizing web pages for smaller screens, not so much with page speed itself.
As a result, many sites first designed for desktops carry a lot of unnecessary code when shifting to mobile, which in turn affects page speed.
In contrast, AMP uses its own format to create a separate mobile-optimized version of a site, which Google automatically pulls when displaying it on mobile devices. AMP takes out many extraneous elements when displaying pages, such as the menu bar, footer, and category interfaces, creating a leaner, faster-loading site.
Faster page speeds directly affect conversion rates
Speed has a direct link with a site’s conversion rates. With large e-commerce sites, even slight delays when rendering pages, viewing images, and making purchases can hurt the conversion rate. Worse, it can cause users to abandon the purchase process altogether. In fact, a Kissmetrics report detailing several load speed test stats shows that a site making at least $100,000 a day can stand to lose up to $2.5 million in sales for a mere 1-second delay in page speed.
In other words, AMP’s focus on faster page speeds should have a visible effect on a site’s conversion rate, helping retain customers throughout the purchase cycle.
Better integration with ads
Besides faster page speeds, the Accelerated Mobile Pages project gives publishers another reason to adopt the open standard: streamlined and better-performing ads.
Most recently, Google compared ad performance on AMP and non-AMP mobile pages across 150 different publishers in May. Viewing rates on AMP ads were significantly higher across more than 80 percent of publishers. Likewise, clickthrough rates were higher across more than 90 publishers with AMP-optimized ads.
Of course, using AMP ads are by no means a guarantee of more ad conversions. After all, many people simply don’t like ads, regardless of where they’re placed or how they appear.
AMP will potentially affect SERPs
For now, Google has made it clear that AMP’s effects are limited to the mobile front. Initial tests show that AMP pages appear as a carousel of links above regular search results. This clearly means regular search links are being displaced in favor of AMP pages.
It’s important to note, however, that this is only happening with mobile search results. Time will tell how it affects general SERPs.
Because AMP is free and offers several benefits to adopters, there are very few reasons not to use it. Google has marketers and publishers right where it wants them. So it is ultimately up to businesses and site owners to decide if they want to offer a speedy mobile experience to their audience. This is what Google has been adamant on doing all along. If you want to ensure you are maximizing your efforts with Google, however, you need quality content to truly propel your content marketing conversion rates. Contact us today to learn how we can optimize your content marketing strategy.