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What Content Marketers Should Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Content Marketing
Content Marketing

Every content marketer is talking (or they should) about AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages).

That’s because today we live in a mobile era.

And there are also other important facts to consider besides what you write and how to write it.

One of the most important things you need to take into account as well is the loading speed of your page. Yes, in this modern speed dominated society, until recently, nobody valued this aspect at its proper value.

Things have changed, however, once the smartphones took an important place in our lives and they become our main gateway to the online world.

Now, we should consider designing our content in order to make it mobile friendly as well.

The concept of mobile pages got into main focus.

This is why, in this short guide I am going to talk about accelerated mobile pages, or AMP, an important topic among content marketers.

We’re going to learn together why mobile-friendly content matters, what AMP means and how to make it all work for you and your business.

But first, let’s start by looking a little bit at the background of these concepts:

Why do we live in a mobile era

On April 2015, Google launched a new algorithm that was supposed to favor mobile friendly pages and rank them better and give them a boost.

And, of course, it did.

Webmasters and content providers from all around the world understood once and for all that their audience is no longer desktop based. People are reading website on their mobile phones, they shop online with their smartphones, they even read their books while they are commuting from home to work and back.

Google didn’t just change the algorithm.

They also release a very useful online tool that allows people to check their online pages and see whether they are compatible with mobile browsing or not.

While they did not give us the means to adapt to this new environment, they gave us the standards and at the same time, the tool to check whether or not our pages are mobile friendly.

Why is important to be properly ranked on Google? Well, consider this: more than 4 billion searches are performed on Google every day.

In a whole year, the total number of searches goes beyond the 1,2 trillion milestone.

These are impressive numbers which should convince you once and for all that organic search is important for your website traffic.

google searches per year

While there are many SEO techniques that will allow you to rank better in Google search, the most important thing you should do is comply with their guidelines. Of course, one of the most important guidelines is to have a mobile-friendly page that loads fast.

And this is how we get to our next topic, the speed.

Why does speed matter?

Every web designer knows that loading speed is one of the most important facts to be considered when designing a website.

As a content marketer, however, maybe you did not know this fact but starting from this moment, I will try to shed some light on this concept and tell you the most important details.

First, let’s note the fact that a website that does not load in a few seconds is a website that will most likely be abandoned by a great deal of its possible readers.

In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 40% of people will abandon a web page that takes more than three seconds to load.

40% of people will abandon a web page

Moreover, a report from Google says that “the average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds”.

Considering what we’ve learned from Kissmetrics, you can use this information to your own benefit. How?

How to decrease the loading time

You can make sure your website loads faster. Not only faster than the 22 seconds average. It should load fast enough to fall in that three seconds margin.

As a content marketer, the most important thing you can do in order to make sure your pages load fast is to tailor your visuals and make them web-ready. You need to optimize them.

Consider this: a 2 MB image will load slower than a 50 KB image. As a content marketer, you need good and professional visuals to keep your audience interested but don’t forget they read a web page and not a printed magazine. That’s also a visual content marketing strategy.

A visual is displayed as wide as your content area is. Therefore, you can resize it according to your template/theme characteristics.

AMP SEO Speed

If you have access to the website itself and its CMS, you can also check if your theme is responsive, if it is mobile friendly and, if it loads slowly, to find out the main reason and of course, eliminate the problem.

It can be due to a malfunctioning plugin, a script, or even the web hosting itself.

Google’s accelerated mobile pages project

The AMP Project is an open-source initiative that enables the creation of websites and ads that fast loading, beautifully looking and of course, optimized across mobile devices. The AMP mobile web pages are built with three fundamental components: AMP HTML, AMP JS, and AMP Cache. Together, these elements ensure that mobile pages are loading faster than ever.

AMP, as an open source project, was born as a collaboration between Twitter and Google.

Its main goal is to optimize for fast loading pages that are already mobile friendly.

How does it work?

The plugin renders web pages by stripping them of all HTML elements that are not required on mobiles. For example, if you include JavaScript codes into your webpage, AMP will eliminate them. In other words, they are not going to be rendered unless you are using the basic AMP JS library instead.

In essence, by cutting back on HTML elements, AMP allows your pages to load faster. If you want to find out more about the project, you can visit the official AMP page here.

Also, there is a WordPress AMP plugin that enables content marketers and writers to publish AMP versions of their posts with just a single click.

Before proceeding further, let’s pinpoint and summarize some of the most important facts you need to know about AMP:

  •         Google awards websites that provide a mobile-friendly user experience with better ranking.
  •         AMP is a project that allows you to adapt your pages for a better mobile experience.
  •         Since WordPress is the most popular CMS of these days, a WP plugin is also available for making your content ready for AMP.
  •         AMP strips of your pages of most of the unwanted HTML elements.
  •         You can use a streamlined version of CSS only. Also, you need to properly validate your website in order to make sure they work with AMP.
  •         You can use JavaScript but only from the library provided by AMP.
  •         If you want to have videos on your posts, you need to use AMP approved extensions.
  •         You are not allowed to use forms in your pages/articles.

AMP Stories

Until now, AMP was as the name implies, a basic tool meant to accelerate mobile pages and make them run faster on mobile devices. Things are about to change however, as Google announced yet another interesting feature that will be implemented via this project.

It’s called AMP stories and, as the name suggests, it will take AMP beyond its initial limits.

The AMP Stories feature was announced at AMP Conf in Amsterdam. The idea is not new, if we think about Instagram and Snapchat. Moreover, AMP Stories will also feature full screen content that works across all mobile and desktop devices. It supports reach media with native video and images, animations and interactions.

AMP Stories was built with the same technology that powered the entire AMP project and therefore, all content published via Stories will load fast and smoothly on mobile devices especially.

Here’s a great example of an Amp Story published by CNN.

AMP Stories example

It looks really great, isn’t it?

 

Main benefits of using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Taking into account everything we’ve discussed so far, I guess you already imagine that there are many benefits of using AMP. In fact, there is a correlation between mobile search, site speed, and page views.

We’ve already talked about how important Google search is and how much it counts to have a quick loading web page.

However, the speed is also important if you want to reduce your bounce rate.

The quicker a web page loads, the more likely is that users will read more than one page on your website. Moreover, the lower the bounce rate is, the higher will your website be ranked by Google’s search engine.

Therefore, the main benefits of AMP are:

  1. Pages are being loaded instantly on mobiles. As a consequence, the bounce rate will be reduced as people will no longer have to wait for the pages to load. Considering that a single second in delay can reduce the conversion rate by 3,5%, this is a very important feature, no marketer can ignore.

reduce the conversion rate by 3,5%

  1. Better Google rank. As we’ve previously discussed, we already know that Google favors pages that are loading faster, AMP pages especially. This means that when people search for a specific query if your page is faster than the competition’s, it will rank higher in the search results and as a result, it will be more likely to be accessed by the users.

If you want to assess the speed of your page, you can do it by accessing Page Speed Insights, a great tool provided by Google that will allow you to see the score of your page on mobile.

  1. Accessible and better user tracking features. As a marketer, you need to track your audience in order to know how to adapt to their behavior and preferences. AMP provides you with tag manager analytics that will allow you to track clicks, conversions, visitors, new versus returning visitors and so on.

How to install AMP?

Well, things are pretty easy if you are a WordPress user.

As I have already told you, there is a plugin that does everything for you with just a single click. What do you need to do in order to get AMP for your mobile pages? Well, you need to get the plugin, install it and activate it from the plugins menu available in your dashboard.

How to install AMP

Conclusion

Mobile web is more than just a trend.

People are now using their mobile devices more than ever and if you want to get on top of your competition and stay there, you need to pay attention to them.

You need to consider the fact that their time is as valuable as yours.

Indeed AMP is very powerful.

This is why, besides giving them valuable information, you need to give them a mobile friendly page that loads fast on any device.

The AMP project will give you the means to make your mobile pages faster and adapt your mobile pages design to the audience of today.

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Robert Katai

Visual Marketer and Content Strategist

"Content isn’t king. Usefulness is. Robert does this in the online marketing and social media space with ease."

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