Google Accelerated Mobile Pages and content: the need for speed

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When Google launched the mobile update in April 2015, it was intended to reward brands with mobile-friendly websites. Even without the update, however, marketers can not ignore the increasing importance of mobile.

More searches are now performed on mobile compared to desktop and m-commerce grew three times faster than ecommerce in 2015.

Even aside from purchases made on the devices themselves, mobile is also having a tremendous impact on in-store purchases. According to Deloitte, mobile has an impact of $970 billion on offline purchases.

These changes force brands to have a mindset shift. Instead of just being mobile-compatible, they need to be mobile-optimized. Sites need to think specifically about what mobile customers want to see and create sites and online experiences that are tailored to them.

One of the most important factors in the mobile experience is speed. About 40% of visitors will abandon a site if it does not load in 3 seconds. This means that companies are potentially experiencing massive losses in traffic and revenue if their sites do not meet the needs of customers.

Google’s solution to this problem has been the launch of AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages.

What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages is a stripped-down version of the mobile web which runs on a reinvented version of the language used to create web pages: HTML.

AMP has the potential to help brands to speed up their sites. Google claims that there is a 58% drop off when pages take 10 or more seconds to load. Using AMP, however can improve load time by as much as 15 to 85%.

AMP accomplishes this by stripping away everything that is ‘extra’ on the page so that the site loads faster. This means features, such as lead capture forms and on-page comment sections, will be disabled.

Regarding your content, the following rules will also apply:

  • AMP HTML will limit existing styles and tags
  • AMP .JS will asynchronously load external resources and will stop any external scripts that are preventing page renderings
  • AMP CDN is an optional content delivering network that will cache your pages that have been AMP-enabled so that they can be instantly accessible on mobile.

It is also important to use the available schema markups to make the different aspects of your site clearer to the search engine.

How SEO and content can keep pace

Site

Even for sites that are not using the AMP features, fast load times remain a necessity.

Although AMP itself is not specifically a factor in the current Google algorithm, load time is. Also, as AMP becomes more popular, customers will become accustomed to fast loading pages.

This makes them even more likely to click off of slow pages. If you are not using AMP, lower your load times by minimizing features such as large images and reduce your use of cookies.

Content

Mobile optimization also requires content that is on point. This means it adds immediate value to the user and that it takes into account what mobile users want to see.

If your mobile users regularly search your site for your physical address, make it easier to find to improve the user experience.

For example, the BBC has been quick to adopt AMP across all of its news content – creating content for desktop search and for AMP search.

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Search

Organic

It is likely that AMP will also have a tremendous impact on organic search.

Since AMP sites will be at the top of the SERP on certain mobile searches, they will push everything else down. When this is combined with the paid search options also taking up space above the fold, organic search will become fiercely competitive.

Brands need to make sure they capitalize on every opportunity to improve their rankings– including content quality, distribution and optimization.

Paid

The fast load times may mean that customers will view more pages. This will increase the opportunities for ads to display.

Google has said that mobile ads now need to focus on the following:

  • Loading as fast as AMP sites
  • Being well-crafted and visually pleasing
  • Being safe– ie using HTTPS
  • Integrating across industries

Measuring

As you move forward with your new content strategy, it is important to remember that measuring success in the age of mobile does not just mean looking at site speed– you also need to understand how the content is performing.

It is vital to ensure that you follow mobile best practice steps and methodologies to stay mobile friendly.

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Speed is one factor but you still need to have separate metrics where you track the engagement and conversion rates on your mobile site to see how well customers are responding to your content when they are on their phones or tablets.

Mobile is quickly becoming a dominate player in the world of marketing and AMP is changing customer expectations and the user experience.

Rather than looking at mobile marketing as a requirement to check off, focus instead on mobile optimization and see what you can accomplish with your on-the-go visitors.

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