Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages: What You Need To Know

by | Mar 16, 2016 | Actionable SEO Tips

by Colm O’ Sullivan, AIM.

Accelerated Mobile PagesSmartphones and tablets have revolutionised the way we consume information online. Publishers around the globe use the mobile web to reach their readers, but the experience can often leave a lot to be desired. The expectation is that content should load super fast and be easy to explore. The reality, however, is content can take several seconds to load, or, because the user abandons the slow page, never fully loads at all.

The good news is that slow loading pages will soon be a thing of the past, thanks to Google’s exciting new accelerated mobile pages project.

What is Google Accelerated Mobile Pages?

Launched in late February, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new code-type that will deliver lightning fast content to smartphone users. AMP has the potential to be a game changer.

Richard Gingras, Google’s senior director of news and the project’s chief evangelist latestly declared that “an AMP page is four times faster and 10 times less data. It’s instantaneous. It’s there right away. And that’s really powerful.”

That all sounds great, for the user, but what does AMP mean for marketers?

Organic Search

There are three key things to note, from an SEO viewpoint.

Firstly, Google have latestly said that Accelerated Mobile Pages currently aren’t a ranking factor. Technically this is true but in reality site speed is a ranking factor and AMP loads instantly meaning AMP has a positive impact site speed.

Secondly, AMP pages currently show in Google News only so if your articles don’t currently appear in News, you don’t need to act right now. You do, however, need to think about what your strategy is going to be when it rolls out fully later this year.

Thirdly, and most importantly, in its current form, AMP strips out form code meaning you need to use this hack for lead generation.

Paid Search

We’ve all clicked on ads in error on mobile. For the user, it’s irritating, and frustrating. For the advertiser, paying for that ad placement, it’s a complete waste of money. Add those annoying full screen advertisements that stop you getting to the content that you actually want to see into the mix, and it’s downright infuriating.

This terrible mobile experience is one of the primary reasons why Apple announced that ad-blocking was built into Safari for IOS9 and why Samsung introduced similar software on its Galaxy S7 (and other Samsung Android 6.0+ devices). Just a fortnight ago, one of the biggest phone operators in Europe, Three Mobile, announced that they were implementing ad blocking software across its network throughout Europe. The repercussions of this are huge for mobile advertising, in its current form.

At the Mobile World Congress last month, Google admitted that there’s a problem with the mobile advertising industry right now. AMP Is Google’s Answer to the latest exponential growth in ad blocking software.

According to the AMP Project website – A goal of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is to ensure effective ad monetization on the mobile web while embracing a user-centric approach. With that context, the objective is to provide support for a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies in Accelerated Mobile Pages. As part of that, those involved with the project are also engaged in crafting Sustainable Ad Practices to insure that ads in AMP files are fast, safe, compelling and effective for users.

The key element of this is a user-centric approach. The great news is that while websites will be able to display ads on AMP, those that take over the entire screen are not allowed, nor are ads that force users to watch a video before getting access to the content they actually want to see.

Does this mean that Google will make less money from people clicking less, in error, on mobile?

Google of all companies recognises the importance of online advertising. Faster-rendering pages mean more page views per session, which means users see more ads as a result, and ultimately, Google makes even more money.

Other Ad platforms have also jumped on board. In November, Outbrain, AOL, OpenX, DoubleClick, and AdSense joined the project. Native ad platform, Taboola, also announced that they were AMP ready, in January. Social Network platforms Twitter and LinkedIn are also on board. AMP isn’t a fad, it’s here to stay, and it’s going to change the mobile browsing experience for the better.

In the past year, Google announced that mobile search overtook desktop, Facebook has unveiled its new in-app publishing platform, Instant Articles. Apple declared that the old Newsstand experience would be replaced in iOS 9 with a brand new news-aggregation and discovery platform called Apple News, the latest email open rates statistics show that mobile opens are now over 50%, and now Google has taken it a step forward and set the wheels in motion to create a lightening quick web experience. Thinking about mobile first is no longer an option, we need to think about mobile NOW!

Exciting times ahead,

Colm O' Sullivan
Colm O’ Sullivan,
Marketing Operations, AIM

P.S. If you have any questions about Accelerated Mobile Pages, or online marketing in general… please get in touch with AIM. We’d be happy to help!

P.P.S. If you want to see Accelerated Mobile Pages in action, check out Google’s search demo. Scan the QR Code below or go here on a mobile device:

AMP QR Code.png