You might have heard about Google and Twitter’s collaboration called Accelerated Landing Pages or AMP. The AMP project launched two years ago and so far has been strongly implemented by the blogging and news industry. As a user you might have spotted the little lightning sign next to a page in a Google search on mobile. If you want your post to appear in the top search results carousel on mobile devices, then the only way is by using Accelerated Mobile Pages.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
AMP is an open-source library that provides a way to create fast-loading mobile – friendly pages. As more and more searches occur on mobile devices the importance of great mobile experience is becoming crucial. Google officially announced that the mobile-first index will be primarily taken into consideration for the organic ranking of a website. This means the mobile version of a website is what Google uses for ranking and indexing the content. Mobile page loading speed and user experience are the primal factors receiving a good rank.
Many businesses were not ready to invest into turning their websites from mobile responsive to mobile-first. The difference is between a website which is adapting to mobile devices and a website which is designed with the idea to be accessed on mobile most of the time and adapt to desktop when necessary.
To respond to the need of better mobile page experience online, Google collaborated with Twitter to launch the AMP project.
How to implement AMP?
If you are developer there re full instructions and documentation on the website of amp. Google also launched a BETA for some advertisers to get a page they normally drive traffic to with Google AdWords for free. The idea is to prove that an AMP page will outperform any responsive landing page when it comes to conversions and reduce the overall cost/conversion from PPC.
If you are a blogger and are using WordPress, good news for you. You can implement AMP by just activating the official accelerated mobile pages plugin. You can just go to plugins, search for AMP and activate the plugin bellow:
Once you are done, just test any of your pages by adding /amp/ at the end of the URL and try to open it on a mobile device. The page will open on desktop, too, but to see mobile speed and quality of images, better check on mobile.
AMP and the Google Search Console
If you are not using Google Search Console, I would recommend you to connect your website to it. The best about Google Search Console is that it will give you the most popular organic search terms people clicked on and some detailed metrics on organic impressions and clicks.
If you already have connected your website Google Search console, then it will automatically pick up the Accelerated Mobile Pages, once they are created. There is a section called AMP in both the new and the old interface. In both versions, you will see if there are any errors and how many AMPs are already indexed. Google will start indexing the AMP versions of the pages which tend to get most organic traffic first.
You can click on the indexed AMP pages and you will get page details on the side. You will see the code, the canonical URL and if there are any issues. You can also click to test a live version.
The report will give you information about any issues detected and if the page is eligible for the Google Search Results. From here you can submit the page to Google for second indexing. You can view the source code or preview the appearance in search results.
There are three types of search results – Headline, description and image, just headline and image or headline and description. Here are examples of one of my most often displayed articles: The 7 Phases a Successful Online Sales Funnel.
Will AMP improve my SEO?
Mobile speed is officially considered one of the major factors taken into consideration for high organic rankings on Google. Websites which implemented AMP report big increase in organic traffic from mobile devices. Better user experience and high-loading speed are going to influence your website performance positively. Since AMP is a Google’s project it is expected to improve the way your website is appearing the organic search results.
Analytics and Tracking AMP results
AMPs found on search are stored and hosted by Google (AMPs on cache), which is on Google.com’s domain. When the user clicks a redirecting link on a AMP page they leave the Google domain(Gooogle.com) and come to the domain of the publisher (yourwebsite.com). This person is seen as an external referral, rather than an organic search visitor. This will lead to wrong Google Analytics reports.
You will get to see a lot more sessions, because the AMP and the page on which users arrived at will be seen as two separate sessions, instead of one continued. You will see high bounce rate on the AMP pages, as whenever people click a link on them this would be considered an exit. You will therefore see short page duration and low pages per session on AMP pages.
Google was able to implement a fix for this issue in September 2017. You can read how to implement the right tracking on Google’s support page. If you are using a Worpress extension, you will automatically be connected to the Google Analytics account on your website. You can check this after you have installed the plug in by accessing the Settings and then Analytics. If Google analytics is not enabled, simply tick the box and enter your Google analytics tracking ID.
What happens then is that data from two different sources is tracked and tied together with a Client ID and you will be able to see what is coming through regular pages vs AMP pages. However, you will not be able to see the difference between Google hosted AMP pages and your own hosted AMP pages. If you are tracking transaction sources you will also see AMP pages as a source with 0 sessions but with transactions.
To solve this problem you can refer to this useful article provided by Moz.. What they recommend is first adding ampproject.com to your referrer exclusions. The data from AMP sessions will not be lost, but you will remove the referral (source/medium) over-ride from the user moving from Google.com CDN to your website on second click. You will be able to see this traffic as google/cpc or google/organic instead as ampproject/referral. This will give you precise information of the improvement of your organic performance after implementing AMP.
This is all about AMP – it is a really simple source to support businesses with accessible, mobile friendly and fast pages to improve the user experience on mobile search. I hope you enjoy creating your AMPs and tracking your results.