Google’s AMP: A Marketer’s Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages

In short: AMP was designed so publishers could build web pages that load more quickly on mobile devices. What do marketers need to know about this new project? What is AMP? Users are spending more time searching on their mobile devices than on computers all over the world. According to Advanced Web Ranking, the first position in Google search results achieves an average clickthrough rate of 31% internationally. So, search rankings are very important to marketers. Blog posts and news articles formatted with AMP HTML code is one of many tools, such as keywords, headings, and alt-text, that marketers can use to optimize their content for search results. Speed is a signal that impacts search rankings, but that doesn't mean AMP formatting alone will get your site on the first page of Google. AMP removes third-party JavaScript to speed up the page’s load time for mobile users, so the same web page would be simplified and less exciting for the viewer on their computer. Instead, users will only have to check a box in order to create AMP-formatted blog posts to get discovered in mobile search.

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Did you know that, on average, smartphone users touch their phones 2,617 times each day?

According to the survey conducted by dscout in the spring of 2016, smartphone users also spend an average of 145 daily minutes on their mobile phones.

In other words, we’re leaning on our mobile devices more than ever before. In fact, data from HubSpot Research revealed that a whopping 33% of respondents use their smartphone as their primary device for internet use.

Unsurprisingly, Google has responded to the growth of mobile search by launching The AMP Project, or Accelerated Mobile Pages. In short: AMP was designed so publishers could build web pages that load more quickly on mobile devices.

What do marketers need to know about this new project? We’re glad you asked. Let’s walk through some of the most common questions and answers below.

What is AMP?

AMP enables content to load near-instantaneously by removing JavaScript from the page. It prioritizes text-based content, then loads additional content after the remainder of the page has rendered.

Google’s decision to launch this open-source initiative was rooted in the importance of improving the user experience (UX) for the millions of mobile searchers worldwide. (And, in part, to compete with Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles.)

Google has partnered with several different publishers and platforms to start using AMP on its content — Twitter, Vox, BuzzFeed, and the Washington Post, to name a few. It’s also created a carousel of “Top Stories” in Google Search that highlights web pages and articles built with AMP.

Here’s an example of what an AMP-formatted story on the Top Stories carousel looks like once you click:

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You can test what AMP looks like on your own mobile phone now. Open up your Google app and type in the newsworthy topic of your choosing (I chose Mars):

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Pretty fast loading speed, right? As you also probably noticed, articles with the lightning bolt AMP designation can appear in a carousel of results at the top of the search engine results page.

AMP-formatted websites also appear in the main Google search engine results page, as shown below:

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Source: Search Engine Land

If this seems like a big shift, you’re right. Let’s explore why AMP will be so impactful on mobile search and search engine optimization (SEO).

Why Does AMP Matter?

The biggest benefit of AMP is improved user experience: When mobile searchers find the information they’re looking for faster, they’re less likely to navigate away from a website. The AMP Project Product Manager, Rudy Galfi, said that the median time for an AMP-formatted page to load is 0.7 seconds — in comparison, the median load time for other web pages is 22 seconds.

More than half of site visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on a website before navigating away, so AMP has a huge impact on publishers’ ability to attract and keep potential customers on their blog and landing pages. Google found that 29% of smartphone users will immediately navigate away…

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