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8 things you need to know about Google AMP

James A. Martin | July 7, 2016
The next big thing in SEO is AMP, or Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages. Search pros break down AMP and share insights on what you need to know to stay ahead of the curve.

5. What does AMP mean for SEO?

AMP is not directly a search engine ranking factor, and sites that adopt AMP won't "get a massive boost in search ranking," according to Richard Gingras, senior director of news and social products at Google, who spoke to "All of the other (search engine ranking) signals need to be satisfied as well," he said.

However, "speed matters" in search engine ranking, according to Gingras. "If we had two articles that from a signaling perspective scored the same in all other characteristics but for speed, then yes, we will give an emphasis to the one with speed because that is what users find compelling."

AMP can also indirectly influence where Google places pages in search results, according to Petty. If an AMP gets more clicks and fewer bounces because it's faster to load, Google determines that the page is valuable to users, and it's likely to get higher placement in search results.

"Google is constantly changing up the rules of what performs best in search," says Miné Salkin, digital marketing manager of Absolute Mobile Solutions, a digital marketing agency. "Is your website mobile-friendly and does it pass the speed test? If not, your business might be adversely effected by the search engine page results." 

"With mobile becoming more and more prevalent in just about every aspect of people's lives, and with the majority of people using Google to find just about everything, AMP will be an essential tool now and going forward to ensure good rankings and findability on the web," says Oleg Moskalensky, president of Productive Computer Systems, a company that develops IT solutions for small businesses. Moskalensky says Google will "punish" slow-loading web content in their rankings. "So even if you do everything you can to improve SEO, without AMP, you'd be potentially spinning your wheels." 

And a recent SEO Powersuite survey of 385 SEO professionals found that 50 percent of respondents expect AMP to "significantly affect" their mobile search result rankings.

6. What are Google AMP's potential pitfalls?

Like any significant technological change, AMP takes some getting used to, according to Petty. "It's harder to implement at first, but tools, plug-ins and add-ons evolve to make it almost automatic," he says. "Think of where SEO was a few years ago. Manually hand-coding meta tags and other elements was the norm. Now SEO plug-ins prompt users with exactly what they should do to improve ranking, without having to know SEO." And an AMP WordPress plug-in "does a pretty good job, and it will evolve over time" to make it simpler for everyone, Petty says.

The main pitfall "is understanding the limitations of the AMP platform," Enge says. "One of the big reasons AMP is faster is that it restricts how you can code your pages in significant ways." For example, you have to use an AMP-supplied JavaScript library (if you use JavaScript), which is very limited in what it can do, he says. "Currently, you can't implement forms unless you use iframes, and even then, they must be below the fold." 


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