Does AMP Affect SEO?

seo amp does it help improve or affect performance

SEO Guide for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) 

Does AMP Affect SEO?

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Google is known to launch new updates every day. In this fast-growing internet world, bloggers, content creators, and others need to optimize their mobile pages. Mobile devices gather a significant percentage of Google’s web traffic.

So, by optimizing your site for mobile users, you are opening to a diverse audience. One downside that many sites owners experience is the webpages have a long load time on mobile, thus diminishing the user’s experience.

So, what is the solution?

AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – is an open source framework that was introduced by Google And Twitter to make super-fast mobile pages. It is important to optimize your web pages for mobile users as they are now spending the majority of time browsing the web either on their smartphone or on the tablet. So, if the mobile browser pages do not load quickly it can discourage the user and you may lose your potential customer.

According to data by KISSmetrics, a one second delay in web page speed can decrease conversions by 7 percent and if it takes more than 3 seconds for a web page to load, 40 percent of users will abandon the page. 

AMP is a perfect solution to all the above problems and should become part of your mobile content strategy. Now, with google introducing mobile-first indexing, AMP has become a vital part of SEO. This article will explain in detail what is AMP, why and how it developed, how it works, is amp important for SEO, benefits, what is AMP for SEO and how you can make AMP work on your website.

What is AMP in SEO?

AMP is an open-source framework that was originally created by Google on October 7, 2015. The Google Accelerated Mobile Pages Project was created as a response to Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News.

The idea behind the AMP project was that Google wants the same algorithm and code to work across multiple platforms and devices, whether its phone, tablet or any other mobile device that people are using. Since the outset of AMP, numerous international news portals have been involved with this project.

The Guardian (UK), The Washington Post and Buzzfeed (US), the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Zeit (Germany), and El Pais (Spain) are some of the first websites implementing SEO AMP. Twitter and LinkedIn have also been involved in the AMP as the technology partners.

In simple terms, AMP is basically a stripped-down HTML page which restricts features from HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

When you integrate AMP to your pages, you are putting speed and readability as your top priority over anything else because of which AMP forces you to use a streamlined version of CSS and Javasrcript is not allowed at all instead of which it provides you with an off-the-shelf Javascript library. AMP pages do not have a lot of stuff for a more complex user experience Google AMP is available for everyone to use and can find the HTML source code on their GitHub page.

Today, almost every large online portal is using AMP in SEO. They have recognized the great advantages of quick loading of mobile websites. With the help of the right codes and plugins, you can also use AMP for your website.

When to use AMP?

The AMP framework often forces digital marketers to ask themselves “When should l use AMP” or “Do AMP pages convert better than non-AMP pages?”. Mentioned below are some common cases where AMP is used. 

  1. When mobile devices are the major source of your traffic – Over the period of 10 years (2009-2018), as per the data collected by Statcounter, the market share of mobile users have increased to 54% whereas the share of desktop users declined to 46.If the majority of your website’s traffic comes from mobile, then catering to the needs of the mobile web users is more important than ever before. The AMP project was created because of shifting patterns of users from desktop to mobiles. AMP is perfect to optimize mobile-first strategy and amp in SEO help in attracting and retaining mobile traffic with better page performance.So, AMP must be on your radar to enhance user experience and to stay ahead of the competition in the market.
  2. To increase your page load speed – Primary goal of AMP framework is to improve mobile page load speed. Websites that have AMP enabled, load almost in just tenths of the second whereas normal pages take on an average 22 secondsto load.
  3. When your bounce rate is high – According to digital marketing experts, you only have 3 seconds to capture the interest of the visitors who clicked in the link to visit your website. If your page takes more than 3 seconds to load, as much as 53% of visitors will bounce from the page and 79% will abandon the site.AMP is crucial for a website because an increase in page load speed improves overall usability and engagement, which eventually convinces users to be on your website longer.

Integrating the AMP Plugin

To input the AMP plugin, you have to select an alternative format for all your webpages. The selected format should align with the specifications of your AMP standard. This shows that you are AMP-optimized, and non-AMP still exists together with the non-optimized versions.

This AMP plugin interferes with the HTML code tag manager and eliminates any aspects that might cause slow loading. Note that if some of your pages are inclusive of JavaScript, it will not be rendered to one of your AMPs. 

The AMP requirements are documented very well and easy to access but might require some development resources to implement.

Fortunately enough, AMP extensions for reputable Content Management Systems, for instance, WordPress are all over, hence AMP plugin implementation is made quick and easy. With these extensions, you can include some videos onto your page.

During the implementation, it is vital to maintain specifications and ensure the AMP-rendered pages are validated before publishing. After finishing the publishing process, it is wise to run the pages through the Google AMP testing tool.

Furthermore, ensure your site has a Google Search Console verification. Now, you can receive Google’s feedback upon your AMP integration.

With AMP-rendered pages, forms are not accepted. Distinguish your regular sites from the AMP-optimized ones for search engine convenience.

The custom fonts should be specially loaded to create a better user experience. To avoid funny-looking photos on your page, you should state the required height and state. When installing the AMP plugin, the key factors are readability, speed, and not share-ability.

Besides, most share buttons are created by JavaScript, hence and not all might display correctly.

Integrating AMP to your WordPress site can be done in just 5 minutes. All you need to do is follow the few simple steps mentioned below:

  • Start by installing the AMP WordPress Plugin by Automattic
  • Now, activate the plugin. What it will do is append amp to all your pages, but it will not redirect mobile visitors to your amp pages.
  • After installing the plugin, the next step is editing your .htaccess file by using any FTP program.
  • Now, you can check if your AMP pages are working by pasting the code mentioned below in your .htaccess file.
RewriteEngine OnRewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !/amp$ [NC]RewriteCond %{HTTP_USER_AGENT} (android|blackberry|googlebot\-mobile|iemobile|iphone|ipod|\#opera\ mobile|palmos|webos) [NC]RewriteRule ^([a-zA-Z0-9-]+)([\/]*)$$1/amp [L,R=302]

Lastly, you must edit the CSS to make your AMP pages look and feel like your site. You can make the change in the CSS using FTP by going to your wp-content -> plugins -> amp -> template.php

 According to Tom Anthony and Will Critchlow of British Whiteboard Friday, there is a defined explanation of how the AMP plugin can work and how to make your mobile pages AMP-optimized.

How Important is AMP for SEO? 

Various players, such as marketers, and webmasters, set out to analyze this matter. Their research shows that AMP has a significant impact on a website’s mobile search engine ranking.

To sum it up, unlike non-AMP websites, the AMP-optimized ones score better rankings and efficiently attract and convert leads from new customers. 

Pros and Cons of AMP 

Pros of AMPs in SEO

One fact is that there’s a strong correlation between page views, loading speed, and mobile search engine rankings. So, does amp affect SEO?

One thing to note is that the quicker the page loading, the more page views, but reduced bounce rate. There are multiple other benefits to having AMP-rendered pages. The following are only a few:

  • Enhances User Experience – Having a fast-loading page is the secret to capturing massive mobile traffic. Content is essential, but if the visitors cannot access it, it is useless.
  • Improved Server Performance – AMP can reduce stress on the server if your websites receive lots of traffic from mobile devices.
  • AMP Only Search Features – Google search result reserve places for AMP only pages and is now displaying results in organic listing symbols.This enhanced browser visibility is especially perfect for content marketers. News publishers can deliver articles using AMP, that will grant access to the carousel of news stories that is placed on the top of Google mobile search results.
  • AMP Lightning Icon – In the SERPS, pages that are using AMP have a lightning icon next to their title. It is believed that this will help to increase the clickthrough rate of pages as visitors will prefer AMP pages over the standard results knowing that it will provide a more enhanced user experience.
  • Increased Conversion Rate – According to a report released by Akamai Technologies in 2017, it was claimed that a 100 millisecond delay in load time could reduce the conversion rates by 7%. Although there is no direct SEO benefit, there are no digital marketers that do not want to gain an advantage in converting visitors to customers.
  • GDPR(The General Data Protection Regulation) Compliance – Complying with European law is a nightmare for every digital marketer. Although this benefit is also not directly related to the SEO of a website, it is worth mentioning.The new component in AMP enables publishers to implement controls that capture user’s decisions and make user’s settings available to the AMP page so as to modify the page’s behavior as a result.
  • Improved SEO Rankings – There is a robust correlation between conversion rate and speed. A lot is expected from AMP, but Google is yet to make it a ranking factor.

Cons of AMPs in SEO

  • Limited Functionality – The AMP integration guidelines are too strict. For this reason, it is hard to achieve all the functionality of a regular site. This factor limits especially constrained high-functionality websites, for example, eCommerce; hence AMP is not recommendable for such sites.
  • Hard to Track – SEO AMP pages are hard to track as the platform does not automatically work with analytics tools like google analytics. Not being able to track is one of the biggest hindrances to an SEO campaign.Although it is possible to track your AMP pages using Google Analytics, for which google even has provided developer guidance. But the whole process is tedious, and many marketers are not aware that they need to do that separately and suffer a drop in website traffic upon implementing AMP.
  • Google Is in Much Control – With AMP, you are limiting yourself to when and how you will showcase your content. In such a case, Google will probably prefer to serve their interests first, which might not go well with most site owners.
  • Limiting Ads – A considerable number of sites generate revenue from the ads. Currently, AMP only offers limited support for ad displays.

AMP Is Not All!

If you invest so much on Google, then you should include SEO AMP into your mobile content strategy. The AMP is a sign that Google focuses on its users and employees. Google is taking a closer look at search engine optimization users, and it is about time you also did. AMP makes your webpage load faster, but does AMP help with SEO?

Having an AMP-optimized site is a plus, not a guarantee to being successful with Google. Having eye-catchy, relevant, and comprehensive content is the key to score those high Google rankings and generate leads.

In conclusion, Mobile traffic makes up more than 50% of the world’s total web traffic. Accelerated Mobile Pages are an excellent way to capture this vast audience.