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Diving Into AMP Pages

Diving Into AMP Pages

Google’s algorithms are dynamically changing to fit consumer needs and get the best results. And with that, we must really look at how we are choosing to spend our time on the internet. What is becoming the most rapid form of web browsing? It is mobile-web browsing. It is estimated that over half of user traffic now comes from a mobile device, the most popular seeming to be the smartphone. Working for #TechStarters, I have seen this information first hand, especially when tracking a website’s analytics. Therefore #TechStarters seeks to create mobile responsive websites for our clients.

In 2015

In 2015, due to 2G and 3G wireless speed, loading full on website features just seemed impossible. Developers, with the help of Google, sought to change this issue by creating Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP Pages for short. These are pages that center around the mobile user by eliminating bulky content and excess code in order to provide faster loading speeds. The key to designing these pages is to use less images, less CSS, and less features. This allows the user to load just the facts without the fluff.

Coding an AMP

AMP Pages are not regular HTML pages. They have a specific coding language tied to them to eliminate useless code. It is not far off from standard HTML, and in fact the Boiler Plate text is almost the same. The only difference is that you are using AMP HTML instead of standard HTML. The tags and such are still the same, so there are no worries there. Also, AMP Pages do not load JavaScript. JS uses a series of functions to load pages or actions in a certain manner. With AMP, there is no need for this design. The less code, the better.

When you are finished coding your page, always check it. In Google’s AMP literature, there are a series of rules that must be accomplished to earn the AMP seal. This list tests all your AMP pages to find missing elements that the Google Search Console can and will flag you for. It could be very simple like meta data or something like a missing logo. Either way, Google is determined to provide its users a positive, fast experience.

How AMP Affects SEO in 2018

When introduced in 2015, AMP pages were not considered a ranking factor by Google. However, times have changed and so has the way people search for information on the internet. Smartphone internet speeds have increased greatly with the introduction of 4G and consumers are expecting fast, easy to navigate content to load on their phones in a matter of seconds. Now, if the phone is loading a mobile responsive page, it is taking time to load all the images, text, and functionality of the site, causing slower loading times. In this loading period, consumers feel bored  and move on to the next Google result. This dramatically affects your website’s overall bounce rate. The more people that bounce from your site, the lower your site’s quality score from Google will be. AMP solves this issue by allowing phones to load information quicker. A study done by Event Tickets Center showed a direct correlation to AMP and a 10% decrease in bounce rate to their site. Other benefits from the AMP pages were an increase in users and an increase in time per session. It is these factors that help Google determine where a site is ranking in its search engine algorithm. Therefore, when the site sees a major boost in its stats, it tends to move up the list of organic searches on both Google Mobile and Google.

Also, as before, make sure to correct all errors flagged by the Google Search Console. If left unaddressed, these errors will dramatically decrease your site’s credibility and can affect your overall ranking on Google.

How to Identify an AMP Page

When a user searches for a topic on their mobile device, this includes smartphones and tablets, they will see a multitude of results pop up. However, AMP pages have a lightening bolt in a circle next to them. This signifies the fast speed in which the page loads and that it fits Google’s standards.

AMP Conclusion

It is not 100% necessary to convert your website to AMP for mobile. In fact, it can hurt your site if not done properly. However, that should not stop you from doing so. Successfully done, AMP can in fact boost your sites overall credibility and ranking on Google because its users are getting straight to the facts without long loading speeds.