How to Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for Google SEO
6 minute read
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June 28, 2021

The way in which users search for content on Google is changing. According to Statista, 61 percent of all Google searches are now performed on a mobile device. As a webmaster, you can optimize your website for mobile devices by taking advantage of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Google will serve the AMP version of your website's pages to mobile users so that they have a faster and more positive experience.

 

What Is AMP?

 

AMP is a standardized framework for building mobile-friendly web pages. It was developed by Google in 2015 as a solution to Facebook's Instant Answers. Both Instant Answers and AMP are designed to load quickly on mobile devices. Only AMP, however, will show in Google's search results. Instant Articles is a Facebook feature that's limited to content on the social media network.

 

AMP consists of three main components: AMP Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), AMP JavaScript (JS) and an AMP cache. AMP HTML and AMP JS are lightweight coding specifications. An AMP cache, on the other hand, is a network of servers, such as a content delivery network (CDN), that caches and serves AMP web pages to visitors. Using these three components, you can build an AMP version of each of your website's pages.

 

If there's an AMP version of a given web page, Google will typically show it in the search results. Both desktop users and mobile users will see the AMP version after performing a relevant search query. With that said, AMP is designed primarily for mobile users. AMP offers features that are exclusive to mobile users. Mobile users, for example, can scroll horizontally through a carousel of AMP web pages in Google's Top Stories Section, whereas desktop users cannot.

 

Benefits of Using AMP

 

Using AMP will likely lower your website's average load times. AMP consists of lightweight coding that, when combined with a caching solution, allows visitors to load web pages more quickly. A study conducted by Google, in fact, found that AMP web pages load in just one-quarter the time of standard web pages.

 

Your website will consume less bandwidth with AMP. AMP web pages contain less data than their standard counterparts. And with less data, they consume less bandwidth. In the same study, Google found that AMP web pages consume about one-eighth the bandwidth of standard web pages.

 

Another benefit of AMP is higher mobile search rankings. With their fast-loading properties, AMP web pages offer a positive experience for mobile users. Mobile users are less patient than desktop users.When performing a search on a mobile device, they may abandon web pages that take an excessively long time to load. AMP will protect your website from sluggish load times.

 

AMP can keep your website's bounce rate incheck. Long load times are correlated with a high bounce rate. If your website experiences long load times, visitors may not access multiple web pages.Instead, they'll leave after accessing only a single web page, resulting in a bounce. Using AMP will make your website faster so that fewer visitors bounce from it.

 

More visitors will return to your website if it's available in an AMP version. They'll remember how quickly your website loaded when they originally visited it, so they may return to it. With more returning visitors, your website may generate leads or conversions as well.

 

Getting Started With AMP

 

To use AMP, you must build a separate version of your website's pages with AMP HTML, AMP JS and an AMP cache. You can use either Google's caching solution, known as Google AMP Cache, or you can use a third-party caching solution. Most webmasters use Google AMP Cache simply because it's fast, reliable and free. Nonetheless, AMP supports any caching solution, including those offered by a third-party provider.

 

All AMP web pages must possess the appropriate markup. Consisting of AMP HTML and AMP JS code snippets, the markup essentially tells Google that a web page is AMP. You can include Schema snippets in AMP webpages as well. At a minimum, though, all AMP web pages require the AMP markup.

 

While building AMP web pages may sound tiresome, it's fairly easy if you use the right tools. You can reference Google's tutorial at amp.dev/documentation/guides-and-tutorials/start/create forassistance. It will walk you through the steps of adding the AMP markup to your website's pages. Google's tutorial also reveals how to customize the layout and presentation of AMP web pages, and it explains how to preview AMP web pages.

 

If your website uses WordPress, alternatively,you can download the official AMP plugin for it. The official AMP plugin will automatically generate AMP web pages based on your website's standard webpages. You don't have to create web pages with the appropriate markup. Rather,the official AMP plugin will do these tasks for you.

 

Use Google's AMP Validation Tool

 

Google offers a tool that you can use to validate your website's AMP code. Available at search.google.com/test/amp, itwill check your website's AMP code for errors that could otherwise prevent Google from serving it. Just enter the URL of an AMP web page in the toolbox, followed by clicking the "TEST URL" button. It will then reveal whether the web page contains valid AMP code.

 

If you haven't published a new AMP web page yet,you can still test it using the validation tool. From the tool's homepage, click the "CODE" tab. You can then paste the AMP web page's code into the pop-up box. Regardless, AMP web pages must be valid for Google to recognize them as such. If a web page has invalid markup, you'll need to fix it.

 

The use of AMP is still a relatively new trend among webmasters. W3Techs indicates that only 0.1 percent of websites have an AMP version of their pages. As the demand for fast load times increases, though, so will the need for AMP. Using Google's new standardized framework,you can build web pages that load quickly and consume minimal bandwidth, all while providing a positive experience for your website's visitors.

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