March 1, 2016

Turn up your mobile organic performance with AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages

There’s been some buzz around AMP: Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google along with Twitter, WordPress and others expressed their support for AMP pages in October 2015. Those of us in the search world could only assume that these pages would be integrated into search results eventually. Safe assumption: The following month, Google officially announced that they would add AMP pages into the search engine starting as soon as late February 2016.

So here we are, in the era of HTML5 and we have a new push in mobile. Here’s what you need to know…

What is AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. These pages are designed for mobile use and to load rapidly as they utilize very simple HTML, limited CSS and extremely limited JavaScript.

How is this important for SEO?

HTML5 has taken over the mobile space. Prior to the popularity of HTML5, mobile sites were vastly utilized for mobile experiences. HTML5 makes it easier to write responsive HTML designed to fit any screen: Desktop, Tablet, Mobile, etc. With this responsive design taking flight over the past several years, mobile websites lost popularity and many consolidated their mobile websites into a responsive experience.

Great, Right? Well there is a catch. Many of the responsive sites seen today are still designed for a desktop experience with heavy imagery, expansive JavaScript and CSS files which slow down load times, increase bounce rates and overall generate a negative user experience on Mobile. The result of this is poor organic performance on mobile. That’s where AMP pages come in. AMP pages give webmasters the ability to provide an experience specific to mobile that will load quickly and in return improve the organic performance for mobile.

How do I optimize AMP pages?

To ensure that duplicate content is not an issue with the build of AMP pages, a rel= “amphtml” and a rel= “canonical” should be used. The “amphtml” tag is similar to a canonical as it communicates that it is an additional version of a page except is specifies that it is an AMP page. This tag should be placed on the desktop version of the page linking to the AMP page. The canonical tag will work reversely as it should be placed on the AMP page, linking to the desktop version.

AMP Search

How Can I get started?

For optimal mobile performance, get ahead of the trend and start building AMP pages as soon as possible with the goal for every desktop page to have an AMP version for mobile users. The AMP guidelines are very strict so it is important to understand the restrictions to these pages. All details can be found on the official AMP site: www.AMPProject.org. Understanding that these pages do have tight restrictions, it might be a good idea to cover your basis and test your AMP pages using the new AMP page tool in Chrome Developer Tools.

Many publishers and news sources already have been taking advantage of AMP pages for fast load times on mobile. It’s only a matter of time before your competitor gets with the trend as well, so what are you waiting for? Happy mobile optimizing in 2016!

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