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What is AMP and how it impacts rankings

2 November 2016 Olga Svetchkar Leave a comment ALL-HANDS SEO

Mobile devices gain more and more popularity. More and more users prefer to use them for viewing websites. The benefit of mobile internet usage is obvious: the information is available everywhere where the internet signal can be caught. Nevertheless, there are problems with the internet connection when mobile internet is used. As you know, the higher load speed, the better user experience.

For the last few years, Google has worked pretty hard on the mobile search willing to satisfy users needs. Its most serious issue is internet connection speed on the mobile devices. As a rule, it is far from perfect. That’s why Google decided to become aware of making connection speed higher.

The search engines have their own requirements to the usability – the faster user will find necessary information, the better it is. AMP provides an ability to accelerate speed and performance of search engines and websites that use it, ignoring low internet speed.


What is AMP

AMP technology (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a special HTML code. The difference between usual and AMP pages lies in the limited possibility of JavaScript usage and certain changes of HTML markup. You can’t use some usual HTML tags at AMP. For instance, IMG tag should be replaced with AMP-IMG, and VIDEO tag – with AMP-VIDEO. CSS3 can be used without any exceptions.

Thanks to these changes load speed of any page is improved. Therefore pages are available for viewing almost immediately although not all websites have such benefit because of the limitations applied to a page. Nevertheless, it is the perfect decision for text pages of news websites.

What impact AMP technology has on SEO

Google says usage of AMP-pages has no influence on your website rankings. But, from another side, AMP usage may have an impact on some ranking factors.

1 Using of Google Carousel. If your website is present at Google Carousel, you have an additional advantage. You are on the very top of a SERP, even higher than organic results. And if you’ve been successful enough to get there, it is a great piece of luck. Being at Google Carousel has influence on:

  • Improvement of brand authority. If Google stands out these websites in its SERP, then it should mean something. Users love to visit those websites that are at Google Carousel what improves websites statistics in a whole. In this case, AMP technology is a kind of additional advantage – internet users will like your website more if those two factors work with your website.
  • CTR increases. When the visibility of your website grows up, the click-through rate increases as well. It has a positive influence on your website rankings.

2 Mobile traffic growth. It is important for your website to dominate in the SERP. But you should remember, websites are ranked differently in the mobile search so the mobile organic SERP, compared with the desktop one, will be different, too. Google improves its mobile algorithm day by day. Therefore, there are reasons to suppose that in future AMP will have an impact on websites rankings. No one can tell for sure if AMP causes traffic drops or growth, but there is no doubt that it is a useful and convenient thing, and thus useable.

3 Improvement of the mobile user experience. The number of mobile users constantly grows. For now, the mobile search queries have already reached the mark of 50%. Most of these searches are made on the run. It means that most internet users don’t want to wait. It is clear that using AMP will be beneficial for you. The necessary information is delivered in few moments and if it satisfies user’s needs, he may want to see what else you have for him on your website. High load speed isn’t the only AMP pages benefit. If a website isn’t optimized for mobile devices, but you’ve waited for a page to finish its loading, you may be disappointed by how it looks like. The pages that are not optimized for such devices are not convenient for viewing from mobile devices. The loading of graphic and media files that a page contents may also take time, discharge battery and waste mobile internet limits.

4 Better Click-Through-Rate. AMP mark makes users click on the link. Be sure the website pages are available for viewing from mobile devices and load speed won’t disappoint your visitors.

5 Better efficiency of advertisements. Advertisement works better at websites with AMP. It can be explained by higher CTR. It means eCPMs (effective cost per thousand impressions) increases too. Here are some proofs of this fact.

  • You get more views because the content is at Google Carousel and has AMP mark. More than 80% of websites that publish AMP content have high viewability rates.
  • Your advertisements will be loaded faster. Just like AMP page, AMP advertisement will be loaded fast. Because of this fact, the number of unrealized views went down to 96%. As for eCPMs, they gained 32%. Also, the ads engagement went up to 65%.
  • Your ads look better and are more adaptive. There are two kinds of AMP ads: sticky ads that are displayed in the bottom of the page, and flying carpet which are shown in background mode when a user scrolls a page.
  • AMP ads are more difficult to block. AMP pages use JavaScript so such ads are harder to block, thanks to this fact it gets more views.

How to implement AMP on your website

There are two ways of how you can use AMP: partial AMP and full AMP.

Partial AMP will be the best decision if you have an existing website and then decided to connect AMP to it. This option implies the creation of the second website version in the AMP format. To avoid penalties from Google for duplicate pages, you will need to use a canonical tag to point to the main pages.

Full AMP is used for websites from scratch. The benefit of this version is that you get a website with perfect load speed and minimize resources required for page loading. To implement the full AMP you should use such components as AMP HTML, JS AMP, and Google AMP Cache.

AMP HTML is very similar to usual HTML, but some meta tags should be replaced with special ones because some of HTML meta tags are denied for using at AMP. It was made to accelerate loading process. All massive elements are compressed to the maximum, files and scripts are minimized.

JS AMP is JavaScript libraries that make it possible to improve website performance, to manage the loading of the resources and guarantee fast page’s rendering, preventing its blocking. Also, it is in charge of preliminary compositing for each page’s element before the whole resource is downloaded and switching off the CSS selectors that are slow. Everything that is downloaded from external resources will be loaded in the asynchronous way to avoid blocking of rendering.

Google AMP Cache is proxy based on a content delivery network for transferring of all valid AMP-documents. It takes HTML pages out, caches them and improves pages performance automatically. When AMP CDN is used all JS files and images are loaded in the same way as they would with HTTP 2.0 usage.

CDN AMP has in-built check system which confirms working capacity of pages and their AMP HTML alignment.

Another version of validator checks errors at the browser’s console when a page is being rendered. It lets you see what source code changes may have an influence on performance and improve the user experience.

Google’s recommendations for applying AMP to websites

Accelerated Mobile Pages technology is based on open source code. Such pages are saved in the special Google cache which makes it possible for pages to load faster. If a page has an AMP version and it is shown in the SERP, mobile users will see it. Google provides webmasters with recommendations about SEO, including AMP technology.

  • Design. Any page in AMP has the same requirements as a simple HTML page.
  • Visibility. If you have both versions of a website (desktop and AMP), you should:
    • Add a link to AMP version from a desktop one, to make Google bot recognize it: <link rel=”amphtml” href=”https://www.example.com/url/to/amp-version.html” />
    • Add a link to the canonical page at the AMP page: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/url/to/regular-html-version.html” />
    • If you have just one version of a website (AMP) you should make it canonical one: <link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.example.com/url/to/amp-document.html” />
  • Checking. You should make sure you’ve created correct source code. It is possible to do it at the console. Or you can use this validator.
  • Data structure. Websites should be structured and meet the requirements for the markup. There is an easy way to check if everything is set properly. Just use a special tool for it.
  • Status. If your website is connected to Google Console you will be able to seize new opportunities. Google has special the report for AMP pages where you can learn about indexation of such pages and detect on-page errors if there are any.

Examples of successful AMP usage by Mass Media

Google shared the information about using AMP technology by news websites and how their results have been improved.

Here are the research results:

  • Daily Dot (which applied AMP technology) got 90% of traffic from new users.
  • Gizmodo received more than 80% of AMP traffic from new users. Furthermore, AMP pages made up only 50% of all mobile sessions. The number of AMP pageviews was 50% more than the same value of desktop pageviews.
  • Users that visited Miami Herald AMP pages spent 10% more time than on standard mobile pages.
  • Slate noticed 44% growth of unique visitors from organic search for a month.
  • Wired got 63% more of ads clicks on AMP pages than on standard pages. Also, they have received 25% more clicks from organic search.
  • 14% of all The Verge traffic is received from AMP-pages.

As you can see from the examples, this technology brings results. The proof of its successful implementation is the list of the results above.

Great news for e-commerce

Starting from 22nd of August, AMP is available for e-commerce websites, for instance, goods and products cards. First of all, Google started to view accelerated pages in the organic SERP, and not only at the Carousel. No doubt, not only e-commerce websites have won. This decision will have a great influence on the AMP technology distribution. Thus, Google said, “AMP is a natural fit for e-commerce because AMP makes webpages fast, and fast pages help with purchase conversions.”

In the nearest future, we can face the situation when Google will have a loyal treatment to those websites which have applied the AMP technology. In the end of the day, it may become one of the ranking factors. More details about accelerated mobile pages can be found at the roadmap here. Google says, AMP is natural for the e-commerce websites because it makes pages load faster and as a result, they bring more conversions. The aim of this project is the full overview of the mobile devices usage when a purchase of products is made on the internet. New methods will be used to provide higher load speed and quick switch between products.

AMP is a trove for new websites and, as it is already expected, may become a standard for all e-commerce websites.


Google made a step closer to more qualitative mobile friendliness. From now on, any information can be received almost immediately. This step is well-taken in reality according to already received statistic data. Almost 50% users search on the fly and nearly all of them want to see their results in few seconds. The faster results are received, the more satisfied a user is.


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