US mobile search accounts for almost 60% of total search volume in 2016 (Search Engine Land).
Nearly half of consumers expect a page to load in two seconds or less, and longer loading times can lead to a drop in conversion rates (Akami).
Mobile webpages using Google AMP for business deliver 15% higher completion rates, 18% lift in ad appearance and see a 200% increase in click-through rates (Marketing Dive). They also load, on average, in less than a second (Google).
What is Google AMP?
In the simplest terms, Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a content delivery network provided by Google for the express purpose of delivering your website to mobile users as fast as possible. Enabling AMP on your website is basically packaging your content exactly how Google wants, and being rewarded by Google serving that content to your visitors faster than your host ever could.
Why use AMP on your website?
Enabling AMP on your website is well worth it if you publish content without complex forms or tracking scripts. If you’re using WordPress, it’s as simple as uploading a plugin (or two), hitting enable and letting Google handle the rest.
If your goal for your content is to rank high in mobile organic search, then you need AMP.
That being said, AMP isn’t for everyone. Like a lot of new technologies, there is risk involved in adopting AMP. Could it end up being a sunken cost alongside Google’s other abandoned projects? Only time will tell.
If you’re wondering “is Google AMP right for my business?” then check out the list below for a few different use cases that will help you decide.
Using Google AMP for Business
News / Blog
This is where AMP shines. Lightning fast load times and preferred ranking in search listings are the dream of bloggers and news organizations around the world. If you are running a blog ,or reporting news, you need to have AMP enabled yesterday.
A few options for combining ecommerce and Google AMP for business do exist, but they’re still largely in an experimental phase.
Due to the lack of tracking and remarketing capabilities, it isn’t something that we’d recommend. Supposedly, eBay is testing it out, but when is the last time anyone you know talked about buying something from eBay?
Business Listings page
If you only need to show your name, address and phone number, there isn’t much content that you’ll be able to use to rank-up. If your business listing page includes reviews, bios, services and FAQs, then it might be a good candidate for AMP.
This is pretty similar to the listing page. If you’re only showing a couple images and a few lines about a project, then AMP may not be for you. If your portfolio focuses more towards case studies, proof of performance and customer reviews, then give Google AMP for business a shot!
💡 Note: AMP doesn’t always work nicely with high resolution photography, so you’ll need to make sure you serve the smallest images with the best compression you can get away with.
How do I convince my boss / client to use AMP?
This is always tricky, isn’t it? All the cool kids are raving about a tremendously valuable, super cool new tech, yet you don’t have the buy in. How do you convince your boss or client to let you move forward with Google AMP for business?
It reminds me of the old saying, “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink.” Often, this is thrown out without consideration of whether or not you should lead the horse to water in the first place. Maybe you’re allergic tp horses. Maybe you just don’t like horses. Maybe you own a glue factory. Maybe the horse hasn’t paid his bills in a couple months. Maybe the last time you lead the horse to water, it turned out to be porridge, and you’re feeling embarrassed and just don’t want to talk to him.
Consider those horse/boss/client analogies as we cover some pros and cons of using AMP.
These should help you make your own mind up about the technology so you can explain it to the horse, regardless of how you feel about him.
Top 3 pros of Google AMP
1. Favored by Google in mobile search
Google has been out of the wardrobe on this subject for over a year, having announced their work with the AMP project in October of 2015. The fact is, if you want to rank in mobile search, you need to be using AMP.
Consider it like a SERP (search engine results page) arms race, and AMP is the new tesla coils structure zapping your competitor’s content.
2. Google is transitioning to mobile-first search
How many times can we repeat this in one article (source, source, another source)? They’re making the transition. You can already see the effect it’s had in the mobile search world, and it’s going to happen for desktop. This is going to be a potential upset for a lot of businesses, and you do not want to be one of them.
3. Users prefer fast content
This is a no-brainer. I mean, which would you choose:
- A site that loads blazingly fast full of content you want to see
- A site cluttered with pop-ups and extra fluff that the designer threw in to express their own style and “really make it pop” (No one cares if it pops Lacey—get over yourself already)
Damn it, Lacey!
Top 3 cons of Google AMP
1. Time consuming to add and maintain another piece of tech
Let’s face it, you have a limited amount of time in each day, and adding yet another chunk of code into your technology stack can be daunting. When you factor in the complexities of maintaining another interface for your content to be displayed in just for a subset of your total visitors it can become an outright offensive use of time. Also, what happens when they launch AMP 2.0 or 3.0, or version Antelope, or whatever other clever name they come up with? How much time will you have to invest on an ongoing basis to stay compliant with every aspect of their standards? I shudder just thinking about it.
2. Mobile responsive page sunken costs are thrown away
You just convinced your Boss, or client xyz, to pay for that shiny new mobile responsive website (and it still needs work in iOS for some reason). How are you going to tell them “Hey, that was great, but now we need to throw it out entirely in order to appear on Google.” You just told told them they wouldn’t appear on Google with a mobile responsive website, and now they need Google AMP for business??? They will literally defenestrate you.
3. Less tracking integration
News and content-heavy websites that depend on advertising revenue and remarketing rely on third party tracking scripts. These people with their slow load times, and excessive script usage, are part of the reason that things like AMP exist in the first place. AMP is a “safe space” where users are never triggered, tagged and tussled in the great green money machine that is internet marketing.
There will likely be improvements made to allow for better tracking, ad networks and script usage, but for now AMP is really bare bones with just basic Google Analytics and Tag Manager support.
What are the risks of enabling Google AMP for your business?
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So for AMP, what are the risks of those reactions? Well, the majority of it is tied to its implementation.
If it isn’t setup properly, then either:
A. Google won’t be able to serve it
B. It won’t be the best representative of your content (e.g. broken images, missing links etc..)
C. Its usage won’t be tracked correctly through your analytics tools or
D. All of the above.
How much should I charge to setup AMP?
Two dollars. Cash.
This is something way easier to package and sell than a mobile responsive redesign. If the website is in WordPress, there are a number of great plugins available that start serving AMP as soon as they’re enabled. There are some additional configurations to ensure branding matches the clients’ specifications as well as integration of Google Analytics.
With reporting and ongoing support, this could easily be charged out as a $300 – $500 package. This is a great opportunity for ROI all around, so it’s well worth the price.
AMP isn’t going anywhere for the time being, and it’s only gaining more adoption. Everyone using WordPress would be well suited to just start using it before it becomes a requirement for ranking in organic search.