The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is an open-source initiative designed to create optimized content for mobile devices. This lets Google show you a carousel of stories available from AMP-enabled websites, as well as greatly increasing page load times. That’s all well and good, but should you be implementing it? Does Google AMP have any effect on your Search Engine Results Page (SERP) performance? Should it be part of your SEO strategy?
Does Google AMP Affect Search?
Does Google use AMP as a signal when determining organic search results? According to John Mueller, the Webmaster Trends Analyst for Google, has confirmed that AMP is not a ranking factor. Google has some 200 ranking factors it uses to determine organic search results, and AMP use is not one. Page speed and mobile friendless are, however, and here is where AMP can and will have an effect on your performance.
Page speed has a proven effect on SEO, and you should be ensuring that your site is as efficient as possible when loading content. Pinterest’s technical architecture lead Jon Parise states that AMP pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than previous sites that have been mobile-optimized. Jonathan Abrams, the founder of Nuzzel, stated in an interview with Fortune that “A page loads in less than half a second when Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is enabled. Instead of taking three seconds to load the average page.”
Considering that page speed is already a ranking signal, and AMP is designed to improve speed, it would be redundant to use AMP as a signal, then. Furthermore, Google states that 40% of users abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. So, while AMP itself is not an organic search ranking factor, it has a direct and positive affect on an important signal and should be enabled on your pages.
Enabling Google AMP also gives you the chance of appearing on the carousel which is featured on the SERP. This has the potential to greatly increase your visibility and traffic. Combined with the statistics showing that page speed causes users to abandon websites, it’s no surprise that Google AMP is being widely implemented.
Mobile-friendliness is another signal that Google uses to determine your organic search performance. You can see whether your pages are mobile-friendly by using Google’s test tool. Since Google AMP directly affects the mobile-friendliness of your site, this is another strong suggestion to enable Google AMP.
Does Google AMP have an effect on your organic search performance on the Search Engine Results Page? No, not by itself. However, it does influence your page speed and mobile friendliness metrics, which do have an effect. The best practice is to enable Google AMP where possible as part of your ongoing SEO strategy. Finally, just because Google AMP is not currently being used as a ranking signal by Google’s algorithm, does not mean that it will not be used in the future.
Updates on Google AMP and Usage
Google AMP adoption has been largely driven by news sites, who must use AMP if they want to feature in the Top Stories carousel on mobile devices. You may even have noticed this, as AMP will almost always be enabled on news articles you find via search, but other websites have been less keen on implementing it.
Husaria Marketing has actually disabled it site-wide, as we were not seeing any noticeable increases in performance by implementing it, but the AMP plugins did have issues that affected our back end. Furthermore, through personal experience we’ve observed that pages with AMP enabled are much less conducive to URL sharing. If you find a neat article you’d like to share with your friends, you want to share a URL from the actual domain right? Not something that looks like: https://www.google.com/amp/www.yourwebsite.com/article.html. For now, we’ve left AMP to the news websites.