What You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

What You Need to Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

In this article, we will explain what AMP is on Google and how they work. We will also consider whether all sites should enable this option, how to do it, and how technology can affect SEO.

What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is a technology for loading web pages as quickly as possible. It was created in collaboration with Google and Twitter in 2015. AMP is a page that shows users the main content. It is a stripped-down version of the regular page. Many additional elements, such as widgets, comment forms and ads are absent from the page.

Here are some accelerated mobile pages examples in the search results:

After installing AMP technology and indexing accelerated pages by a search engine, almost all of Google’s mobile traffic is directed to them. This is about one in three visitors or 65%.

AMP pages are open source, meaning they consist of simplified HTML markup with specific tags and a JavaScript library. In other words, you can only use certain scripts and tags, which makes the page less visually attractive, but improves its loading speed.

Here is a quote by Tom Anthony from “Distilled” in a MOZ article about how AMP works:

Moz

The AMP link <link rel=”amphtml”> tag in the HTML code indicates that this is an accelerated page. After indexing, the content will be displayed in the search results carousel. 

AMP will be displayed in two ways. The first is the transfer of information from the resource server to the user’s PC and opens in the browser as an accelerated version of a regular page. In other words, on a site that supports the technology, you can immediately redirect all mobile traffic to an accelerated mobile page. A person can open the AMP using the URL from a smartphone or other gadget, or by adding /amp/ to the link to access it from a computer. 

The second option is to view Google AMP Cache pages from the search engine server. It displays the URLs on the AMP pages as a carousel in SERP. Meaning that the user does not have to go directly to the resource to see content, the information will be displayed in the search results. For more information on this topic, see the article What is the SERP.

When a query is entered in the search bar, the data is loaded from the cache when viewed in Google AMP Viewer. This tool allows the user to view the page quickly and conveniently. If you click on a specific accelerated page, the domain of the site where the content is located is displayed at the top of the viewer.

The Advantages of AMP Pages

1. The fastest content downloads

AMP pages do not display the elements that slow down page loading, and they help to improve behavioral factors, as users prefer fast-loading pages. This technology can help you attract more targeted traffic to your site, provided that the information is up-to-date. Jeff Hansen, a mobile marketing teacher, agrees with this theory:

Semrush

2. It has a positive impact on mobile search ranking

The availability of AMP technology only indirectly influences the ranking results, but because of the maximum speed, it can have a positive impact on mobile search results. According to statistics, mobile traffic will grow every year.

Statista

3. Reduces server load

If the site generates a large amount of mobile traffic, then the presence of AMP pages will reduce the server load and increase its performance.

4. The ability to receive additional traffic

Theoretically, news resources and other content projects will be able to get more clicks and improve CTR indicators by getting into the carousel (displayed above the SERP over the results). You can read more information on this subject in the article What is a CTR.

What Are the Disadvantages of AMP Pages?

1. The ad revenue will be lower

Although accelerated mobile pages support ads, the revenue that is generated will be lower. Additionally, according to webmasters, the algorithm for implementing ad blocks is relatively complicated.

2. A complex algorithm for enabling the analytics service

You can connect Google Analytics to AMP, but first, you need to configure a special tag on all accelerated pages, which will take a long time. Additionally, the data will be cut, which may negatively affect the site’s promotion rating. 

3. The maximum speed is achieved through the cache

Google accelerated mobile pages are not innovative technology. Their main advantage is fasting loading, which is achieved by caching. 

Should You Use AMP for Your Site?

In 2015, the official sources of the search engine published information about what is Google AMP and its main advantages. Since the high speed downloading of content is critical for them, the technology was mainly used by news sites. But later, it was successfully implemented by many major retailers and online stores, such as Amazon. Due to the sharp increase in download speed, sites have improved conversion rates, and the number of targeted traffic and sales has increased.

Moz

In 2017, the company 9to5Google conducted a survey of users on which links they are more likely to click, AMP or regular. 50.09% of respondents chose the first option.

9 to 5 Google

Additionally, according to the latest data from DoubleClick Ad Exchange, advertisers report good behavioral results on the AMP websites. 85% of webmasters have higher click ratings compared to regular pages. 62% of respondents said that there is an increase in eCPM (effective cost per thousand impressions) on monetized accelerated pages. 

Since many users complained that AMP pages lose out visually to regular ones, in 2017, the AMP Start Project was created, offering ready-made templates. They are fully adapted to any output, mobile, and desktop. The templates can be used for various sites, including e-Commerce. Read more about this in Ecommerce SEO: A Complete Guide.

Therefore, according to research results, we can conclude that AMP technology is rational to use for more than just news sites. High download speed can be one of the factors for obtaining targeted traffic from search results and positively affect the promotion results of almost any site. Additionally, developers are consistently offering users new opportunities for implementing and easing the use of technology.

How Do I Install AMP On a Website?

We have compiled a brief guide on how to properly connect this technology to your site, depending on whether you use CMS or not.

How do I install AMP on WordPress?

WordPress is one of the most popular CMS. The developers have a formal contract with the AMP Project, so installing the technology will be easy. 

You can download the official AMP plugin here. Additionally, Yoast had to release an additional SEO plugin to combine metadata with the accelerated page format. For more information, see Yoast vs. All in One SEO Pack.

You can also download another plugin with more features and built-in Yoast support; it will better optimize pages for search results. For this to work, you will need the official version that is mentioned above. Plugins can be installed in any order.

To install, open the toolbar, click on the “Plugins” icon on the left, and then “Add New.” Then select the necessary software and click “Install” and then “Activate.”

You can see more details in this video:

АМР for Drupal

Drupal also has an AMP plugin, you can download it here. Archives with module versions can be found at the bottom of the page.

To install the plugin, go to the “Expand” section of the toolbar. Click on the “Install new module button.” To do this, you will need either a pre-downloaded tar.gz file or the copied URL to paste into the toolbar that opens. 

If you encounter any difficulties, watch the video tutorial:

AMP Extension for Joomla

pecial extensions for Google AMP pages have been developed for Joomla. Click on the link and select the desired option from the list. 

Download the extension from the source and upload it to the CMS control panel. To do this, click “Extension” and then “Extension Manager.”

If you have any problems with the installation, contact technical support.

Module for AMP Pages on Concrete5

You can download the module for Concrete5 here, it was developed by GitHub.

To install it, you need to open the server command line. To do this, log in to cPanel and search for Secure Shell. If you do not have access, you should contact the hosting technical support. 

After, enter the following lines one by one, clicking enter after each one.

Git Hub

You will be able to access the URL from the dashboard: 

/index.php/dashboard/system/seo/amp.

You can use it to go to the module settings, select the web pages that you want to translate into AMP. If necessary, you can enter a Google Analytics ID to track statistics, then click “Save.”

To configure the AMP template, copy the files from packages / themes / amp in application / themes / amp.

If you have any problems, contact Concrete5 technical support.

Accelerated Page Modules for Magento and OpenCart

Official plugins have been developed for these two CMSs; you can download them from the following links:

  1.  For Magento
  2.  For OpenCart

How Do I Install AMP on Sites that Do Not Use CMS?

If you do not use a CMS, the official accelerated mobile pages tutorial will help you install AMP on your pages. But let’s look at the important nuances associated with SEO.

The HTML code for AMP is rather limited, so the elements are arranged in a strict order; otherwise, it will not work. This is why the document starts with <!doctype html> and contains the <html> top-level tag. You can simultaneously apply <html amp >. Note that the <head> and <body> tags are required in AMP HTML.

You also need to include the URL in the AMP JS file using < а HREF = «https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js» > HTTPS : //cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js. This is necessary to load elements that ensure the correct operation of the pages.

In the <head> tag, enter <link rel=”canonical” href=”original page URL or self” />. The canonical tag will signal to the search robot which version should be used for indexing and ranking. More information can be found in the article Rel=Canonical Tag.

Without the rel = “amphtml” tag Google will not display the AMP page. It is placed in the main version of your resource- mobile or adaptive.

How to Disable AMP on Your Site

To disable Google AMP, use the official guide from the search engine. There are three ways to do this:

  1. Quickly delete the canonical and regular versions of AMP pages.
  2. Delete the AMP version exclusively, leaving the canonical version.
  3. Using a content management system.

How to Check the AMP HTML

The Google AMP validator is used to check the correctness of the HTML code.

Chrome Google

The plugin is available for Chrome and Opera browsers. For the latter, you can download the program here.

After installing the plugin, an icon appears in the browser extensions. It will turn green if the accelerated mobile page is working normally.

Cognitive SEO

Or red, if there are errors in the HTML code. You can click on the icon, and the system will give you a list of issues.

Cognitive SEO

If you do not use any of the browsers above, you will need access to the AMP HTML page. To do this, right-click, go to “Inspect,” and click “Console.” Then enter # development = 1 at the end of the URL and press enter. You will see the browser console wear errors will be displayed.

Cognitive SEO

If the code is spelled correctly, you will see the message “AMP validation successful.”

You can check the accelerated page using the CDN. To do this, go to: 

https: //cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/yoursite.com/basic-amp-test.html

The page will display if the code does not have any errors. If there are errors, you will see the following:

Cognitive SEO

What happens if the HTML is invalid?

If there are errors in the HTML code, it will be considered invalid. AMP pages will not be cached by the search engine or other platforms that use technology to display accelerated pages. The content will not get into the carousel, which deprives the site of additional advantages in obtaining traffic.

But if the AMP page is canonical, the site will be indexed by Google, even if the HTML is invalid. John Mueller stated this on Twitter:

Twitter

How Does AMP Affect SEO?

As soon as the AMP technology was tested and launched, many experts thought that accelerated mobile pages would become one of the ranking factors. But in 2017, John Mueller said that the presence of technology has no impact on the site’s rating:

Twitter

 In his video, John Mueller says that if the AMP page is canonical, it can improve behavioral factors and the quality of the site:

In connection with mobile-first indexing, having a quality mobile version of the site is important. AMP pages in conjunction with other factors, such as high-quality content and the presence of links from trusted resources can improve the ranking in search results. Read more in Mobile-First Indexing.

Sometimes the search robot indexes the desktop versions primarily for mobile-first results, not AMP. This is probably because the page is devoid of HTML code. If the search engine indexes AMP, such pages will contain errors. This was written by Jennifer Slegg back in 2016:

Twitter

However, page-loading speed is essential for promotion; it improves CTR by reducing bounce rates and increasing conversions. This factor has become one of the main reasons why many news sites have adopted AMP technology. Many media projects receive a large number of rejections due to insufficient loading speed, but accelerated mobile pages have practically eliminated this problem. 

The introduction of AMP has helped not only content projects improve their performance in search results by increasing traffic and improving the main ranking metrics. Many retailers and other commercial sites have been able to increase their ratings. This is stated in a study conducted by the company Stone Temple Consulting.

Here is an example of Event Tickets Center. They transitioned 99% of their pages to AMP. The content loading time was reduced from 5-6 seconds to 1 second. This resulted in a 10% reduction in bounce rates and a 6% increase in the number of web pages viewed, and a 13% increase in session duration. 

Improving the results does not simply come from the AMP pages, as they should be similar to the regular mobile versions. On November 16, 2017, an official Google source stated that they would exclude pages from the carousel if their content is not similar to the adaptive version for mobile devices. There is more information on this topic in the Mobile Search article. 

Having accelerated mobile pages is not one of the ranking factors, but it can help improve behavioral factors by maximizing download speed. The successful experience of many sites proves that AMP technology still has a positive impact on the site rating. We recommend that you first test how useful it will be for your project. 

Author

Anna Stunkin Anna Stunkin

SeoQuake content manager

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