What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) And How They Affect SEO
The recent announcement by Google, pertaining to the inclusion of AMP pages in their search results, has created a buzz in the mobile and SEO world. Although AMP pages are not a new concept and have been included by Google in their Top Stories section since 2016, the expansion to their general search results has made website developers wonder whether this change will have an impact on their SEO rankings. If you are in a dilemma whether or not to make a switch to Accelerated Mobile Pages, here is some information that will make the decision easier for you.
What Exactly Is AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP is a coding standard that allows website developers to create a stripped-down, lightweight version of their web page for slower internet connections. Because AMP pages tend to load approximately four times faster than their unoptimized variants, they are favored by platforms such as Google, WordPress, and Twitter. Since a large chunk of Internet users are migrating to mobile devices, the importance of AMP pages has rapidly increased, because they enable the users to quickly access websites even when they are out and about. This is the reason why Google has decided to give preference to the AMP version of a website, over its desktop and mobile optimized versions, while displaying search results to mobile users. It is this announcement by Google that has resulted in a lot of speculation and doubt regarding how this move will affect the rankings of websites that may or may not have an AMP version at present.
What Are SEO Benefits Of AMP?
To understand the SEO impact of AMP, one must pay heed to the traffic statistics of their website. If a majority of your targeted audience comprises of smartphone and tablet users, then having an AMP version of your web page will definitely improve your bounce rate. Users tend to prefer websites that load in less than 3 seconds, therefore if all your competitors switch to AMP, and you don’t, then chances are that you will see a dip in traffic. However, Google has clarified that websites will not be penalized directly for not having an AMP version and AMP results will not provide an additional boost to the rankings of a web page. This means that there are no direct SEO benefits of AMP, but it does provide a few hidden benefits to the websites that are often accessed on slower internet connections.
Should I Make The Switch To AMP?
The answer to this question lies in the theme of the content of your website. If your web page relies on high-quality graphics to provide an outstanding customer experience then switching to AMP might not be the best bet for you because it cannot support heavy graphics. On the other hand, if your website is largely text-based then an AMP version will not dampen the user experience and might be worth the effort. As mentioned above, you will see indirect SEO benefits of an AMP page only if a significant number of users visit your website on mobile devices. Therefore, to switch or not to switch basically depends on the category of users you wish to target. If the USP of your web page is its design then refrain from compromising on the same just to create a lightweight version of the website.
In summary, although switching to AMP may benefit a few websites, it may not directly boost or damage your web page ranking by a great amount. Carefully consider what your users would prefer