Back in November last year we brought you news about Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, which was designed to strip down websites so they load much faster when viewed on mobile devices. While we cautioned against jumping straight in at the time, we did predict that AMP would ultimately have an effect on website rankings. Our Head of Technical SEO, Chris Philpot, has this to say:
“Because Google’s algorithm is so secret, it’s exciting when it publishes one of its ingredients. This allows Google to take a “carrot and stick” approach to new ranking factors. At first, taking advantage of a factor results in a positive change. Once it becomes ubiquitous, Google punishes those who don’t use it. We’ve seen this recently with the “mobile-friendly” label, and I think we’ll see it again with Accelerated Mobile Pages.”
Recently, Google’s Webmasters Blog published an update stating that:
“Later this year, all types of sites that create AMP pages will have expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page, like e-commerce, entertainment, travel, recipe sites and many more.”
While Google is quick to point out that this doesn’t mean overall rankings are going to change (this is just a way of ensuring that mobile users are more easily able to access the pages that work best on their devices), we reckon it’s unlikely that things will remain the way they are.
For a start, Google already takes page speed into consideration when ranking, and it may only be a matter of time before it goes all the way and prioritises the ranking of websites with AMP capability. Additionally, mobile users will soon learn that websites which have AMP symbols next to them will load faster than those who do not – those websites will therefore get more traffic and be ranked higher by Google accordingly.
With this in mind, you may want to begin to look at your website to see how feasible it might be to convert your highest-performing pages into AMP format for mobile users. You might think that unless you have significant resources, it will be difficult to convert an entire website (depending on its size), but this isn’t necessarily the case – WordPress has an official plugin that can convert a page to AMP automatically, and Shopify is following suit. If you’re just looking to test things out to start with, though, concentrate on a few pages first and see what happens.
We’ll give Chris the last word (that is, until further developments come to light) on AMP: “For now, using AMP will boost your visibility – but in time it will become a hygiene factor, and those who ignore AMP will suffer.”
Are you thinking about AMPing up your website? Have you got any questions about the best way of doing so? Tweet us @RocketMill and we’ll be able to help you out.