Google has become an internet giant by staying laser-focused on one goal: to help users find what they’re searching for fast. That’s why search results are ranked in terms of relevance to key search words, among other things. One of the latest developments in Google search is called AMP and it may have a significant impact on the visibility of your website.
Just last month, Google updated its algorithm to include page speed as a ranking factor for mobile search. What does that mean exactly? That means that when people use Google on their cell phone to search for information, websites that load quickly will rank higher than their relevant counterparts. For now, AMP is not a ranking factor, but it’s expected to become one soon. And this would be devastating for slow websites.
So, What is AMP?
Born as a collaborative effort by the teams at Google and Twitter, the AMP Project aims to speed up load time for mobile users. By favoring pages that load fast, they expect web developers to launch more Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This will achieve the end goal of providing users with quicker responses for their searches.
Accelerated pages are made with AMP HTML. It’s basically a slimmed down version of the coding language which makes a website’s load time significantly faster. Load time is important because mobile users often close websites that take too long to open. And, for the first time ever, more people are using Google from mobile devices than from their desktop.
According to Gary Illyes, Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, it’s critical that developers clean up their sites and work to improve the mobile user experience. The internet is a powerful tool, but it’s been slowed down due to excessive ads and sluggish websites. On average, AMPs load four times faster than regular HTML pages, says Illyes.
Advantages of AMP
You might be wondering if your company should invest in making AMP versions of its main web pages. We don’t want to tell you what to do, but the quick answer is “yes!” Here’s why:
Your potential clients are internet users and they hate slow websites. “There is a noticeable increase in speed with AMP pages because it strips down the code so they load less resources,” says David Petrovic, the senior web developer at SearchActions. AMPs offer a better user experience because they are quick and responsive. And from what we can predict, loading speed will be an increasingly important factor to your website’s success in the future.
Not only will customers visiting your page react more favorably, but quicker loading speed may mean that more customers actually find your website. “AMP is important because it loads web pages faster which leads to reduced bounce rate,” explains David. “Visitors are spending more time on your website, engaging with your content, and improving ranking position.”
Recent data has shown that AMP can really affect a company’s bottom line. AMP pages noticeably increase conversion rates and lower bounce rates. (Sorry about the jargon.) This means that users make more purchases on and spend more time looking at AMP versions of websites.
Imagine that a potential customer is in desperate need of the kind of widget your company produces. He or she does a quick Google search for “widgets near me.” Let’s say your company website is among the top three. The customer likes the snippet shown in the results and clicks on your website ready to call and order your widget. But, then the page doesn’t load right away; maybe the 3G connection is slow. He or she gets impatient, navigates back and decides to call the next company in the search results… This is just an example of how a few seconds can affect the user experience, and unfortunately, your company’s success.
Deciding to AMP It Up
AMP shouldn’t be applied to every web page because it limits the types of functions that can be implemented. For most small businesses, however, AMPs are going to be fundamental to the website’s effectiveness. “AMP offers some really powerful benefits such as improved site speed, better user experience and more revenue,” says David, our web development expert.
We recommend starting with AMP versions of the homepage or main service pages, PPC landing pages, contact pages, and forms. This will ensure that target customers and potentials find your company first when searching for the products and services you provide in that area. Plus, they can click and call immediately from your website or featured Google listing.
How Fast is Your Website?
As a small business, your website is your storefront. If the people who want your products and services in that area aren’t passing in front of it, they’ll never make it in the door. A slow website is equivalent to relocating your store to a back road in the country.
Ask the web marketing specialists at SearchActions to evaluate your website. We can tell you if a lack of speed is keeping you from attracting potential customers online. Contact SearchActions today or request …