AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages.
When customers and clients use a mobile device to access your website, your pages need to load quickly and effectively. AMP can help you to achieve this.
AMP is often highlighted as an area to improve on website, but should your WordPress website be deploying such pages?
Let’s start by taking a look at exactly what AMP pages are.
Google developed AMP as an open source framework based on HTML. The framework is used to create lots of different web elements, including social media features, ads and emails. Of course, one of the most important elements — and the one we are focusing on here — is websites themselves. All modern businesses need a website to cater to the needs of their users, and this is why AMP is something you need to be aware of.
AMP and WordPress websites
If you are using WordPress to publish and manage pages and content on your website, you can easily harness the benefits of AMP by downloading the plugin.
Whether your website will benefit from having AMP implemented on your pages, depends on various factors, and while AMP is often used referred to as a tool to uplift SEO efforts, it’s important to remember that your website meets the various criteria Google looks at to determine the rankings of a website. Yes this includes loading speeds, but importantly, the user experience needs to be retained in order to signal to Google that your website is what users want to see.
Some of the reasons often sited as reasons to implement AMP on websites:
1. Google is now mobile-first
Google has been using mobile page performance for quite some time to assign search engine rankings. However, this year, they have pushed this approach into another gear, introducing their mobile-first indexing policies. Mobile sites are now the primary factor when it comes to indexing web pages, which means your mobile experience needs to be supreme.
2. Smartphone user figures are increasing
This move from Google is a response to the changing browsing habits of consumers across the world. In Australia, there were around 18.6 million smartphone users in 2017, rising by one million in 2018. This year, the number is expected to exceed 20.6 million, hitting 21.5 million by 2025. This represents the vast majority of Australia’s population, and penetration is growing. AMP helps businesses to reach these users.
3. Users love smartphone browsing
Of course, the number of smartphones in Australia is important data, but it does not tell us everything. We still need to know whether or not these users are actually using their smartphones to access pages online. Well, the fact is, they are — in quite a big way. The number of Australian smartphone users who were accessing the internet on their devices has grown from 17.7 million to almost 19 million between 2017 and 2021, and these figures are expected to rise to over 19.25 million by 2022. This is a market you need to be reaching.
4. AMP is a simple way to mobile-optimise
Just because something is useful for your website and your business does not necessarily mean you have the resources required to implement it. Mobile optimisation can be tricky to get right, and you may be a little intimidated by the process. This is one of the key advantages of AMP — the WordPress AMP plugin makes it very easy to convert your pages to mobile-optimised AMPs, with none of the stress and hassle that often comes with this.
5. AMP retains your content
Converting a page to AMP does not mean having to start again from scratch with your content. In most cases, your content will be automatically reformatted and streamlined, fitting into a mobile-first strategy without sacrificing any of the content elements or pieces you have worked hard to create.
6. Your competitors will be mobile-optimising even if you aren’t
Perhaps your web pages are performing nicely in terms of traffic and conversions, and you may already be getting plenty of hits from mobile device users even without AMP. This is great, but it’s important to focus on the future. If your pages are not fully mobile optimised, you may find yourself taking a significant SEO hit as mobile-first indexing takes hold. As mobile optimisation is now in the hands of all businesses, thanks to frameworks like AMP, this could see your competitors leaving you behind in the market.
So should you turn your pages into AMP?
As with most things to do with a website – the answer to this question is a balancing act, and will depend greatly on your own situation.
If you already have a website and it is a few years old, you may find that your content is taking a long time to load on a mobile device. If this is the case, and you don’t have the time or resources to address this, then the answer is yes, you likely should turn your pages into AMP.
The AMP protocol makes it easy to achieve this, without any loss of content or functionality on your website. Your pages will perform better on mobile, which is critical for establishing yourself in the market and growing your business’s scope.
In fact, in this situation, if you decide not to turn your pages into AMP, you may find that your site is unable to rank highly on Google’s search engine results pages and may not be indexed at all. A simple WordPress plugin can fix this, so it makes sense to embrace AMP.
Undertake an audit of your current website to see where some of the bigger issues are – such as large images – and address these first.
If you are looking to create a new website, or have a newer site and the mobile pages load fast, then it is likely that implementing AMP will not result in a significant improvement from a speed point of view, but your visitors will now greeted with a wall of text. This could lead them to leave your site, depending on what they expect to see from your industry or company.
Remember that technology advances works both ways. Higher internet connection speeds, smarter smartphones, cleaner code, optimised content and improved browser performance also work to speed up the mobile experience for users.
Ultimately, you need to put yourself in the shoes of your website visitors. If they are looking for quick page loads on a mobile device so they can read your information, as is the case for a blog and news website, then AMP makes sense.
For some websites, visitors need images and illustrations to take action. This is the case for a designer, a photographer, even a pet accessories store. With the number of visitors using mobiles not just to gather information, but to make purchases, you need to think twice about whether page loading speeds are more important than the content these users are presented with.