25.02.16

Understanding Google’s latest AMP solution – our four key takeaways

Adam Skalak

Launched earlier this week, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a new solution to serve mobile content faster. AMP uses a light HTML code base and strips out everything unnecessary to maximise fast page downloads. The AMP content is distributed through Google’s high performance global cache which means that content loads instantly.

1. How is AMP integrated into search results?

When content is served across Google’s search results, it is labelled AMP and it ranks right at the top of the page. In organic search, Google gives slight preference to faster loading sites which means AMP is a great opportunity to drive more traffic. The AMP solution is designed to support all content publishers, however, as of 23rd Feb, Google has integrated AMP for news results only. About 30 traditional publishers including the BBC, Guardian, NY Times and Hearst are part of the launch. The news search results appear in a carousel that includes only publishers who have adopted the new development. Other publishers, popular platforms and technology companies supporting the project include Twitter, Linkedin, Pinterest and Wordpress.

2. Why has Google done this?

The main driver behind the AMP project is to speed up mobile page load times and maintain ad revenue for publishers. Sites that are too slow often lose visitors before the content is fully loaded which means publishers lose the opportunity to monetise their content.

But we also believe that the AMP project’s philosophy plays well into Google’s strategy in combating the closed ecosystems of the likes of Apple and Facebook. Since Google inherently favours solutions that are open and broadly accessible, solutions which lead to a closed environment, such as apps, go against Google’s mission. The thinking behind the AMP solution aligns with Google’s view of the world and their mission to organise information and monetise access to it via their core AdWords product.

3. What can we expect?

Given the large uptake amongst traditional publishers, it is now essential that all other news publishers follow suit. If they don’t, they will not be included in the AMP news carousel, which will mean their organic traffic will undoubtedly fall off the cliff.

 

We also expect Google to start integrating and favouring AMP results prominently in SERPS from different types of content publishers soon.  In fact, Google has already contacted some of our clients that have a content hub or a blog through their Search Console to set the wheels in motion. 

4. What are our recommendations to publishers and brands?

The team at iCrossing strongly recommends that all brands that publish news or blog content should implement the AMP solution. This will protect your current level of organic traffic for the news/blog section of your site and also mean you can take advantage of the increased visibility that comes with AMP.

Brands with a WordPress-powered blog can implement an AMP plugin as a quick win. Other content management systems may follow with an AMP plugin in due course. Brands with a custom built CMS should carry out a cost benefit analysis first.

The early signs are very positive and we expect that Google will be keen to extend the AMP framework beyond news and media content to the all content available on mobile devices. In the future this may include e-commerce and standard mobile web content, so brands should start planning for this potential future change now.

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