In the recent years and months, mobile usage on the internet has become increasingly important and every day, more and more people are looking for content on their smartphones rather than on desktop.
To give you an idea, last month (read September 2016) in Belgium, 39% of the internet traffic came from mobile, where desktop represented 50% of the traffic. This share of mobile traffic is constantly growing and it is not expected to change in the near future.
Indeed, the word mobile is on everyone’s lips within the digital industry and recently, Google announced a big change towards mobile in its algorithm. A new mobile separated index will be created. It will not only be separated from the desktop index, but it will be the most important index of the two as more updates will be made on the mobile index.
Moreover, Google, along with dozens of other publishers and technology companies created what is called the AMP project: Accelerated Mobile Page Project. The Amp Project is basically an industry open source initiative which aims to drastically improve the performance of the mobile web.
What is wrong with mobile internet today?
The impulse was given by publishers as people consume a tremendous amount of news on their phones. But the experience on mobile can often be annoying for users and publishers then lose readers. Every time a web page takes too long to load (knowing that people tend to leave within 3 seconds if a page is not loaded on mobile), they lose a reader and the opportunity to earn revenue through advertisement or subscription.
What's the solution?
The AMP project aims for webpages with rich content such as video, animations, graphics to work properly and load instantaneously alongside smart ads.
The project relies on AMP HTML, an open source framework built from existing web technologies, which allow websites to build light-weight webpages.
AMP is a way to build web pages for static content that render fast. AMP consists in three different parts:
AMP HTML: Is HTML extended where some regular HTML tags are replaced with Amp specific tags. Those custom elements make common patterns easy to implement in a performant way.
Google AMP Cache: It retrieves AMP HTML pages, caches them, and improve page performance automatically. All JS files and all images are loaded from the same origin that is using HTTP 2.0 for maximum efficiency.
It is important to mention that the same code will work across multiple devices and platforms so that content can appear instantaneously whether you are on your phone, tablet or any mobile device.
What about advertising revenues ?
Many actors rely on ads for revenues. That allows them to fund free services and free content on the web. Slow mobile pages are therefore bad for business as it can prevent a page to render fast. We all experienced landing on a page, start reading an article and suddenly an ad decides to load, which moves the content and you have to find back where you were on your article.
But as ads are important for publishers, the AMP will allow you to retain your choice of ad networks, as well as any formats that don’t detract from the user experience.
Does AMP impact your SEO ?
Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, recently stated that “Currently, AMP is not a mobile ranking factor”. I would like to emphasize on the “Currently”. Indeed, mobile seems to be at the center of Google’s recent updates and development and I believe I don”t take too much risk by stating that it will be a ranking signal, soon.
Moreover, Google will be expanding AMP to include Google News, Google Now, Play Newsstand, Now on Tap and in the near future it will most likely expand to product pages for ecommerces.
But according to Gary Illyes, AMP pages are four times faster, CTRs are much better for 90% of publishers and views increased for 80% of them. So even though Amp is not a ranking factor yet, it affects positively your clicks, impressions and most importantly your user experience, which will affect your SEO.
More and more searches on Google are made on mobile (more than 50% according to Google) and people are expecting web pages to be fast and efficient on mobile even more than on desktop. The AMP gives you the opportunity to create those fast and efficient pages pretty easily, which will probably result in happier users, increased page views and higher revenues. Maybe the AMP is not on your to-do-list right now, but we strongly advise you to at least consider it for your website.
Author: Grégoire le Hardy