Let’s face it; We’ve all been there, riding the subway trying fruitlessly to load a mobile page that takes FOREVERRRR. It’s an extremely frustrating experience, and, oftentimes, I give up all together – most users do.
Slow loading mobile pages can drastically cut down on a site’s conversion rate and visitors. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are trying to solve for these issues, cutting mobile pages down to the bare minimum in order to improve overall performance and usability.
Ah yes, AMP pages. As marketers, we’ve all heard about the rise and importance of AMP as mobile searches continue to eclipse desktop searches.
For those of you who aren’t yet familiar, you should become familiar – and fast. To put it simply, AMP is a way to build pages that load faster on mobile devices, improving overall user experience and performance.
Don’t know where to start with AMP? Not to fear, I’ve compiled a short list of items, as well as resources, that you need to know heading into 2017:
AMP Is Not Yet a Ranking Signal
We know that page load time and mobile friendliness impact rankings in Google and I and many other SEOs suspect that Google will soon (in the next year or so) take AMP into account as a factor as well.
AMP alone will not boost your page up above the competition. As you can see in the screen shot below, if Google were only looking at AMP, Epicurious would be in position 2 and not 3, behind the unoptimized page.
That being said, pages that are already optimized show up in Google search results with an AMP icon. While it hasn’t been explicitly proven to increase click through rates on mobile devices, I theorize it will moving forward.
AMP Pages Are Additional Pages
You shouldn’t be under the impression that adding one line of code to existing pages is all that needs to be done to optimize a page for AMP. In fact, you must build and maintain a whole new set of AMP pages.
If you do decide to create AMP pages, you must add additional code in the HTML, which informs Google and the pages are in fact mobile friendly.
The good news: If your site runs on WordPress, there is a plugin that will automatically convert your existing pages to AMP pages. The bad news: If your company uses another website platform, you’ll have to manually create each individual pages.
Tip: Don’t forget to add your analytics tracking code (slightly different) to each new individual page that is being added.
Speed Is Everything
The whole point of AMP is to speed up load time on mobile devices. Think of AMP as a stripped-down, nitty-gritty version of HTML that allows for mobile devices to display the pages faster. In terms of CSS, there are restrictions, including external style sheets.
Due to the size of images and videos, they need to be able to load quickly on mobile devices to provide a positive user and search experience. Obviously, images and videos can be included on AMP pages, but there are some differences.
When including these images and videos, they must include a tag that limits size, and other items in order to speed up the loading process. Adding the tag is extremely important as the image will still render, but your page won’t be validated.
Remember: Validate & Test
One of the key benefits of creating AMP pages is that you can validate them. The AMP Project offers instructions on how to do this.
By validating your newly created pages, you not only inform search engines that these pages are optimized for mobile, but also inform third party sites. In addition, the AMP logo will be added to your optimized pages (as discussed above) in the SERP.
To make life easier, there’s a Chrome extension that easily informs you if your page is validated correctly.
Overwhelmed? Don’t be.
Google has put together a step-by-step guide on how to create your first AMP page, as well as the other required specifications. AMP should definitely be a top priority for B2B marketers heading into 2017, and although it’s not currently a ranking signal, it very well could be in the near future.
If you’re looking for other inspiration for your 2017 marketing strategy, check out my colleague’s post.