Rolled out by Google on 24 February 2016, the AMP (Accelerated Mobiles Pages) project aims to reduce the loading time of web pages viewed from a mobile device. That’s why mobile SEO is so important to a good digital strategy.
AMP: what is it?
In 2015, for the first time, the number of people connecting to the internet via a smartphone surpassed the number using a laptop or desktop computer.
It therefore seems logical for web players such as Google, Bing and Twitter to do much more than just take them into account by enhancing the user experience. This open source initiative is the result of discussions between publishers and companies specializing in new technologies. The main objective is to improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for all users, including the publishers themselves, the distribution platforms, mobile internet users, etc.
In October of the same year, the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project was announced. It was rolled out early the following year, in 2016, with the aim of offering mobile pages that load very quickly. Available in part on Github, AMP is an open source technology comparable to a framework. Developed by Google and Twitter, among others, it can reduce web page loading times by a factor of four, while using ten times less data.
Mobile SEO: what impact does it have on SEO?
Although Google’s natural referencing algorithm includes thousands of criteria that are sometimes jealously guarded secrets, the Mountain View giant has made it a priority to offer ever higher quality results. This translates, for example, into more relevant results depending on the location of the user, or even the quality of the site itself.
Now that mobile traffic is predominant, Google has made it clear that having a mobile-friendly site is not enough to appear on the first page. The loading speed of sites on smartphones is now one of the key criteria for natural referencing.
To guarantee a better user experience, AMP is an obvious choice, as this technology considerably reduces page loading times. When Google has to choose between two sites of the same quality, it is AMP that makes the difference. It’s also a way for the search engine to impose this new standard.
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How can you make the desktop and mobile versions of your site work together?
With the advent of smartphones, tablets and other mobile screens, every website needs to have two versions: one for computers, the second for mobiles.
How can users be directed according to the terminal they are using?
Directing users to the version best suited to their device guarantees a better user experience and therefore sends a positive signal to Google:
When a user or an indexing robot (such as “Googlebot-Mobile“) finds the standard version of a URL on your site, you should redirect to the equivalent “mobile” URL. However, you should avoid simply redirecting to the home page of the mobile site, as this will generate a negative user experience. Search engines may even interpret this as an attempt to “artificially” improve your SEO.
Provide different content depending on the user-agent
By detecting the user’s user-agent, both the mobile and desktop versions can be accessed from the same url, without any redirection.
However, you need to make sure that this system is configured correctly so that Google indexes the desktop part with “Googlebot”, and the mobile version with “Googlebot-Mobile”. In short, the same content is offered to PC users as to “Googlebot”, and to mobile users as to “Googlebot-Mobile”.
If this is not the case, and you therefore provide different content to Internet users and to Google’s robots, Google may think that you are cloacking, with the risk of your site being blacklisted.
What are the advantages of accelerated mobile pages?
The accelerated mobile page offers two advantages:
- For web users: access to very fast, easy-to-use pages thanks to this new, almost instantaneous code.
- For e-tailers: to considerably reduce their bounce rate. The longer a site takes to load, the less time prospects spend browsing its various pages. Some of them will not even visit the first page of the site if it is not displayed within the first 2 or 3 seconds.
Another very interesting advantage is that you can promote your business through advertisements that are more quickly displayed and visible. The source of revenue linked to subscriptions and advertisements is therefore more interesting. As the potential of the web is more open, interactive applications and platforms can work better remotely.
How do these accelerated pages work?
AMPs work in the same way as traditional HTML pages, except that they contain a more limited set of technical features.
These features are defined and governed by the AMP open source system. Like all other basic pages, AMPs are loaded and distributed through traditional web browsers as well as applications using the Internet (videos, photos, animation, etc.).
AMP developers have put together files containing various technical and architectural approaches aimed above all at optimising display speed. To achieve this, they are using a whole range of web components offering the possibility of integrating complex multimedia tools such as videos, social messages, advertising displays or the collection of technical analyses. The key is not to homogenise the way pages are edited, but to build a common technical core for the different pages in order to speed up their loading time.
An important aspect of its operation is the caching of AMP files via the Cloud. This reduces the waiting time for access to the information contained in mobile devices, enabling data to be delivered more quickly.
Several companies offer AMP caching solutions. This is the case of the number 1 in online search, which offers its “Google AMP Cache”, which can be used by anyone, free of charge.
The aim of AMP is to combine limited technical functionality with a distribution system built around caching, leading to better performing pages. This helps to generate more traffic to users’ sites and reduce the bounce rate on e-commerce sites.
Why is the AMP project open source?
The companies involved in this project wanted to improve the user experience at all levels. The work carried out in this way not only serves connected platforms, but also represents a whole range of technologies intended for multiple publishers. Creating an open licence for this project allows contributors to share their ideas and support the development of AMP.
Who can use Accelerated Mobile Pages?
The project is open to all players (publishers, e-commerce site owners, designers, professionals, etc.).
What are the consequences of using AMP ?
By using the AMP format, online content publishers create AMP files that are ready to be analysed, indexed, displayed (subject to the robot exclusion protocol) and cached by third parties.
Does this format mean more work for virtual content publishers?
The answer is no. As the “AMP HTML” protocol only works with tools that are already available online, this format does not involve any additional work.
What type of content is best suited to AMP?
It’s just as easy to publish AMP content for articles or blogs as it is to publish videos, photos or GIFs online in AMP format.
How can users convert their content to AMP?
With a CMS (Content Management System), providers can easily generate AMP content. For the best-known CMS, WordPress, there are a number of plugins that make it easy to use the AMP format.
A platform tailored to e-commerce sites
How can an e-commerce site get involved in the creation of Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Since the project is open to everyone, it’s easy for you to collaborate with the current members of the AMP management team. In fact, they’re very keen for you to put forward your ideas! Google has opened up its cache to the public: so you can access it for free, even if you sell products online and your aim is to increase your turnover.
How does advertising work on AMP?
One of the primary aims of creating Accelerated Mobiles Pages is to ensure effective monetisation through mobile purchases. The idea is both to facilitate access to the shopping basket and online purchases via a smartphone, but also to speed up the purchasing process by reducing page load times. The aim is to support businesses by offering them a full range of ad formats and sustainable advertising and technology networks.
Companies are therefore invited to develop sustainable advertising practices to ensure that AMP files are fast and effective for end users.
Can e-tailers take stock of what they sell via AMP?
Yes, just as they do with their existing websites, publishers can control their merchandise and carry out advertising monitoring.
How should online subscription and payment services proceed with their AMP?
The designers of Accelerated Mobile Pages have created this code in open source mode so that all web players can make it their own. This means that :
- Offer subscription services or online payment
- Give customers access to their information, documents and order tracking
- Preserve customer anonymity
By offering a better user experience, e-tailers can reduce the shopping basket abandonment rate.
How does AMP manage website statistics?
While the first demonstration version of AMP presented rather basic and simplistic analyses, many improvements have since been deployed. A number of analytics specialists are currently working on this crucial area, particularly for search engine optimization (SEO). The team is developing a system for collecting virtual information, analyzing trends and integrating, all without compromising the initial goal of speeding up the loading speed of web pages (and therefore without compromising the size or speed of AMP files).
Do publishers have access to their traffic levels via an audience analysis medium?
Yes, an AMP file provides this information. This is often the preferred place for publishers to find out more about their reputation!
Is it possible to have AMP example pages?
The AMP project is open source. You can find examples of pages made using AMP technology at this address: https://github.com/ampproject. It’s important to understand that this technology is not just a trend, but a real revolution in the mobile experience, which is the key challenge for the next few years.
Having pages in a mobile or responsive version is no longer enough to be visible on Google. These pages also need to load quickly.