Just when you thought the Google algorithm updates, mobile optimization push, and other major shifts to your Anderson SEO strategy were behind you, here comes another big development: Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages, most often referred to as AMP.
A lot of Google’s updates are focused on correcting parts of the ranking algorithm that the experts feel don’t best serve the searcher—corrections like penalizing duplicate content and rewarding websites with frequent updates. But the introduction of AMPs is different. It’s an effort to provide a specific audience (users of the Internet on mobile devices) with an improved search experience. That audience is very important due to its large and growing size, and Google wants to make sure that it uses its search engine instead of its competitors’. Here is an overview of what AMPs mean and how they might change the way you approach your Anderson SEO plans.
What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
After conducting an average Google search on your smartphone, you probably click through to one of the pages listed in the top five or so results. Your browser then navigates away from Google’s server to the new website’s server and loads the page along with all of its images, ads, and code. That takes time…sometimes lots of time, at least by the standards of the Internet. With AMPs, there are two big differences from that average search scenario.
First of all, an AMP is a drastically simplified version of the normal desktop or mobile optimized web page that your browser would normally navigate to. The website developer has to create this simplified version, which typically contains little or no images and few if any ads. It’s mostly text, which loads very quickly and communicates to the time-conscious mobile device user the pertinent information of the web page.
Hosted by Google
Another big factor is a variation on the system Google has long used to instantly produce results for even the most obscure searches: storing the information on its own servers instead of going out and gathering the information when a search is conducted. Google has over 150 million AMPs indexed on its own servers, and when a searcher clicks on a link to one of them, it loads just as quickly as a page of search results does: for all practical purposes, instantly.
The Inevitable Growing Pains
As with all Anderson SEO developments, this one is not without its growing pains. Google has wisely rolled out its AMP system gradually, introducing one new change at a time and seeing how it performs. For example, for a while the only AMPs that the average searcher would see on a results page were in a special “carousel” of news stories located above the organic search results. Each phase of the implementation has had its bumps, but they have all been relatively minor and the overall trend has been one of success and popularity with mobile device users. Today, Google has advanced to the point of displaying AMPs among other types of web pages (i.e., mobile optimized, mobile friendly, and desktop-only) in the organic results. You can tell a search result leads to an AMP when it has a small “lightning bolt” icon next to it—if you’re pressed for time, your best bet for a fast page load is to choose that option!
Anderson SEO Benefits of AMPs
Google representatives have been very clear about the fact that the search algorithm does not favor a web page in the search rankings because it is an AMP, or penalize one because it is not. With that said, however, it is obvious that an AMP will perform better than competing pages in some key areas and therefore earn a higher rank. Page load time is a major consideration in the ranking algorithm, for example, and since the entire purpose of an AMP is to deliver a lightning-fast load time, it will automatically do well in that area. That’s the most important indirect benefit for your Anderson SEO effort, but there are others as well, including the fact that there are fewer ads on AMPs.
Accelerated Mobile Pages are already important, but promise to become much more important for Anderson SEO through 2017. Stay in touch for future updates, and contact us for help with all of your Anderson SEO strategy needs.