Why It’s Time to Implement Google AMP on Your Site

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) speeds up your site, but it also offers search engine benefits that most site owners don’t realize. AMP is a lightweight version of HTML, JavaScript and caching modules that improve load-time speeds when a mobile user opens your site. Because Google is pushing faster mobile web pages, they’ve created AMP and give you better search ranking when your site complies with their guidelines. If you’ve ever wondered if it’s worth the site changes, here are some reasons why you should budget time to integrate AMP.

What is AMP?

Because a majority of viewers browse websites using mobile devices, it’s important to find ways to speed up load-times. Desktop users have direct access to fast connections, but Wi-Fi and mobile data plans are much slower than wired connections. For this reason, website owners must provide a fast, efficient way to transfer site content to a mobile device.

Through the years, developers have come up with different ways to increase speed for mobile devices. Google found an alternative way to speed up load times. They created a stripped-down version of HTML, JavaScript and caching modules. By stripping much of the cumbersome code, Google is able to improve the time it takes to load a page because less data must be transferred.

AMP is specific to Google, so it only works well with Google’s search engine. It speeds up your page load-time, which essentially improves user engagement. Sites such as The Washington Post have reported better viewer traffic and an increase in search engine rank, but you should also make the decision on your own site metrics.

Advantages of AMP

Before you make huge changes to your site architecture, you should know the advantages and disadvantages. You know that AMP is a stripped version of standard HTML, but you also have other benefits.

The first and primary benefit is better Google search placement. Do a search on any major search term. Perform a search on your major single-word search phrase on a mobile device and look at the Google search results. The first thing you see is a carousel of results. This carousel is all sites that have implemented AMP. When you implement AMP, you have a chance of showing up in this carousel, which improves your chances of engaging users to click your site’s link and view your content. Only AMP sites are shown, so you have an advantage over any competitor that hasn’t used AMP mobile code.

AMP improves bounce rate, but most site owners don’t understand the bounce-rate metric on Google. Traditional bounce rates were metrics that identified users that went to another site after reading just one page of your site. When you measure bounce rate using Google Analytics, it’s measured slightly differently. Bounce rate is determined when a user leaves your site without taking any extra steps that trigger a Google Analytics event. This means that your user could click an ad or sign up for a newsletter, and this user would be considered “engaged” in Google Analytics. In both of these scenarios, your users are engaged, so Google does not consider it a “bounce.”

With lower bounce rates and better search engine placement, you will eventually see an increase in ROI and revenue. This is the ultimate benefit when you implement AMP. You get more traffic, increase your ROI, improve your conversion rates, and generate better revenue for your business.

Disadvantages of AMP

With any technical changes to your site, you run the risk of disadvantages. These disadvantages are minor in comparison to the benefits, but you should still understand them.

The first disadvantage is a loss in functionality. When you cut out any HTML or JavaScript, you also remove functionality dependent on that code. You might lose functionality, so you should test your site before launching an AMP version. Usually, there is an alternative to your lost functionality and it’s not an integral part of your site architecture. As long as it doesn’t disrupt your user experience, it’s still beneficial to use AMP and the alternative features.

The other disadvantage is a loss of ad revenue. If you rely heavily on ads, test your new AMP pages before you deploy them. AMP is meant for e-commerce sites and those that don’t depend heavily on ads. Ads intrude on the user experience, so AMP cuts many of them out. Again, test AMP before you deploy it if you depend heavily on ads.

How Do You Get Started?

If you own a WordPress site, several developers have deployed plugins that help you get started with AMP. If you have custom requirements, you need a developer that can work with your needs and implement AMP. AMP must be implemented page-by-page, so you should determine which ones are popular to focus implementation on the most important sections of your site.