Google On AMP As a Ranking Signal

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Live!

Earlier this week, Google began showing AMP (accelerated mobile pages) results in search results.

Google has been talking up Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for months, promising a February launch date when it would start sending search traffic from Google results to pages that have adopted it.

You are probably wondering if utilizing AMP will give you a ranking boost. Google addressed that with an announcement on Wednesday. They said:

In just over four months, AMP has come a long way, with hundreds of publishers, scores of technology companies and ad-tech businesses all taking part in this joint mission to improve the mobile web for everyone. And starting today, we’ll make it easy to find AMP webpages in relevant mobile search results, giving you a lightning-fast reading experience for top stories.

Now when you search for a story or topic on Google from a mobile device, webpages created using AMP will appear when relevant in the Top Stories section of the search results page. Any story you choose to read will load blazingly fast—and it’s easy to scroll through the article without it taking forever to load or jumping all around as you read. It’s also easy to quickly flip through the search results just by swiping from one full-page AMP story to the next.

Google emphasised that the benefits were accelerated mobile pages load, on average, four times faster and send 10 times less data than their non-AMP page equivalent.

Mobile Friendly Ranking Factors

Equally they didn’t mention whether AMP was a ranking signal but it is an industry view that Google would likely make it one in the not too distant future.

At present it is not. But, similar to other announcements related to mobile-friendly search, that doesn’t mean it won’t be added in the future.

Google’s John Mueller was asked about this during a recent webmaster hangout. This is what he said (via Search Engine Roundtable):

AMP a ranking signal… At the moment, it’s not a ranking signal. So it’s obviously one way to make mobile friendly pages, so that might be an option where I’ve already seen some sites where they’ve moved their whole website to the AMP format, and obviously that’s a mobile-friendly set-up, so that kind of gets that mobile-friendly boost, but just AMP itself is not something that we have as a ranking signal at the moment.

Mobile-friendly was confirmed as a ranking signal roughly a year ago. Even if AMP isn’t a ranking signal on its own, it does contribute to an existing ranking signal, page-load-speed.

Even if it never becomes a ranking factor it will directly impact on page load speeds which is a ranking factor.

wordpress-amp-active

This mobile blog AMP

You can test you own site with a mobile-friendly check and also page-speed here.

If you find you’re not mobile-friendly Google provide guidelines here.

At the moment, it only supports pages that have schema.org/NewsArticle or schema.org/BlogPosting markup so ‘standard’, non-news sites are not affected so there is no real urgency at present.

However, if you do blog and use WordPress as the platform, they have recently announced there’s a new plugin for self-hosted WordPress sites. From the WordPress.org plugin directory:

With the plugin active, all posts on your site will have dynamically generated AMP-compatible versions, accessible by appending /amp/ to the end your post URLs. For example, if your post URL is http://example.com/2016/01/01/amp-on/, you can access the AMP version at http://example.com/2016/01/01/amp-on/amp/. If you do not have pretty permalinks enabled, you can do the same thing by appending ?amp=1, i.e. http://example.com/2016/01/01/amp-on/?amp=1

Note #1: that Pages and archives are not currently supported.

Note #2: this plugin only creates AMP content but does not automatically display it to your users when they visit from a mobile device. That is handled by AMP consumers such as Google Search.

So, from a ‘belt & braces’ perspective, if you blog with WordPress, there would be no harm in adding the plugin and see what difference it makes, if any, to your site statistics and visibility on mobile search.

If you do then let us know, in the comments below, what impact you see in your analytics!

About Rob Willox

Inbound Marketing and SEO professional working and living in Scotland. Owner of Search Marketing company, WebMedia Inbound Marketing dedicated to helping small businesses get more from the internet and improve their profitability.
This entry was posted in Search Engine Optimisation and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.