Google just gave webmasters an unmistakably direct reason to upgrade their pages to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format as soon as possible in a posting in its Webmaster Central Blog advising them of ranking boosts sometime in 2016 for pages and posts implementing AMP:
"Later this year, all types of sites that create AMP pages will have expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page, like e-commerce, entertainment, travel, recipe sites and many more."
In other words, if you want your pages to organically rank in 2016 and beyond, you’ll need to get them AMP-compliant ASAP.
Are SEOs listening?
SEOs, webmasters, and digital marketers follow Google’s Webmaster Central Blog very closely, so let’s hope Google’s latest pro-AMP statement has an impact. Right now, the problem is that many SEOs don’t seem to be aware that upgrading pages to the new format is - or should be - a top priority.
Back in May, 2016, a survey undertaken by consultancy firm SEO PowerSuite revealed that only 23% of them had actually done the work. Google’s announcement is clearly aimed at the 77% of SEOs who apparently need a bit of a nudge before diving into the task.
Why this matters
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), announced in October, 2015, is a new framework for publishing web documents so that they’re blazing fast on mobile devices. Its purpose is to speed up the delivery of documents and, according to its FAQ, “improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone – publishers, consumer platforms, creators, and users.”
This technology is built for speed, and won’t let extraneous page scripts and server calls break the user experience. It effectively closes the unrestricted playground that web developers have enjoyed - often at great cost to the user experience - for decades.
Content marketers have shown a great interest in the technology because Google has indicated in the past year that AMP-optimized pages will receive preferential rankings on SERPs. Additionally, such pages will obtain greater reach for the publisher because they will be selected for display more often and travel much better on bandwidth-constrained networks.
Getting up to speed with AMP
For those accustomed to giving their developers free reign to leverage every capability provided by web scripting languages, adopting to an AMP-centric world can require a bit of re-orientation. The brief lecture embedded below, by AMP Developer Advocate Paul Bakaus, provides an excellent background on why these restrictions became necessary.
Getting Accelerated Mobile Pages to work across your site may have you digging into Search Console and firing up the validation error tool from time to time. That’s because AMP may cause odd errors on WordPress sites running certain themes or plug-ins. But now that Google has so clearly laid down the gauntlet, there’s no time to waste.
Fortunately, admins of sites using WordPress as a CMS can avail themselves of several good AMP plug-ins, and existing SEO plug-ins, including Yoast, have developed “glue” applications so that key meta-information makes its way into AMP pages correctly.
You can learn more about Accelerated Mobile Pages here:
https://www.ampproject.org (Official project site)