What is Google’s Expansion of AMP Search Results?

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What Does Google’s Expansion of AMP in Search Results Mean for SEO?

Google is gearing itself up to give mobile users a better experience by expanding its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to organic search results. This is yet another step by Google towards optimizing its mobile traffic that was given a boost last year with the launch of the Mobilegeddon update, which was quickly followed up in 2016. The intention of Google was to promote sites in its rankings that offered a more user-friendly mobile browsing experience. However, AMP expanded rollout in the search results promises to be far bigger and substantially affect SEO strategy.


What Is AMP?

The concept of AMP is not really new because Google had announced it last October as a method that would significantly improve the mobile web performance. The AMP concept is quite analogous to Facebook’s Instant Articles. AMP’s open source framework essentially transforms conventional HTML by stripping off many elements of the web page that are not necessary and which, slow down the performance of the page on a mobile device. The elements that were deemed redundant were HTML, JavaScript as well as all other scripts from third parties besides unnecessary code and advertisements. The changes brought about by AMP can make page loading faster on mobile devices anywhere between 15% and 85%; truly astonishing when you consider how basic the changes are. Till date, more than 150 million websites have launched their AMP versions; however, the feature was only available for pages and articles in the “Top Stories” section of the search results of Google. Now, AMP pages are being included in the entire organic SERPs of mobile searches.

AMP Rollout:

The full organic roll out of Accelerated Mobile Pages will take place soon, according to Google. However, people who are interested to see what it looks like can see demos of the functionality. The AMP page is easily distinguishable because it sports a logo displaying a lightning bolt and carries an AMP tag. In theory, this tag should assist users to locate the content that is most appropriate for their requirements when they are in a hurry and can’t wait for the page to fully load. Spotting the AMP logo would be a valuable pointer. According to the CEO of a leading SEO Company Mumbai, at this point in time, the actual rollout schedule is not available. Google is gathering information from developers, testers, and users to decide how to best display the AMP pages in its search results.

Does AMP Affect Search Rankings?

Google has conventionally favored sites that have optimized their user experiences, and especially so when the device is mobile. Given this background, it would be logical to think that AMP page would score higher in the rankings game on mobile devices at least. However, Google has put on record officially that it would not consider AMP enablement as a plus for ranking and nor would it penalize sites that don’t have AMP pages. However, this state of affairs cannot be taken to be permanent because it is quite likely that when the AMP concept becomes more accepted and refined, Google will incorporate the feature intoits search ranking algorithm. For the time being, Google is content to learn how well it is accepted.

The Necessity of Developing an AMP Version of Your Site 

It needs to be appreciated that the advantages of AMP go beyond the issue of search rankings. The most visible advantage is an overall improved user experience because of the healthy improvement of the site loading speed. Even marginal improvements have shown to be effective in retaining users for a longer time and encouraging them to return. It is also likely that the AMP logo would encourage more mobile users to visit the site in comparison with sites that are not mobile-optimized. An early entry is likely to be beneficial even as Google figures out how to best use the feature for the benefit of users.

Conclusion: While there may be a lack of clarity of what Google intends to do with AMP in the long run, it is quite clear that it is serious about offering a superior browsing experience to mobile users. It is very likely that sooner or later Google will integrate AMP into its ranking algorithm. Site owners would be better off by paying attention to the opportunity presented by AMP and gear themselves up accordingly.

 

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Walter Moore
 

Walter Moore is the head of digital marketing initiatives for a prominent hotel chain catering to business travelers. He has achieved considerable success in increasing online reservations with the help of GingerDomain.com, a leader in digital marketing services.

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