So Google obviously has some sway over how web developers design and build websites. We saw it with the mobile friendly note in search results last year. That’s where sites that had a mobile friendly or responsive design would get a note next to their search result in Google on mobile devices that said the site was mobile friendly.
Then, we recently saw Google remove sites that do not have a mobile friendly experience from search results on mobile devices. A good mobile experience is clearly important to Google and is spearheading how they provide results in search, particularly on mobile devices.
If we go back in time a bit further, we’ll remember all the ways Google has swayed the web design industry. Including the mass exodus from using flash for websites.
Well our eyes have opened to another upcoming development. Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages? Well, essentially they are pages that are intentionally designed to load ultra fast, nearly instantly, guaranteed.
How do you know a site uses Accelerated Mobile Pages? Do a Google search on you mobile device. Look up something like “chocolate cookies”. Don’t forget to look on your mobile device. Chances are, today, you're reading this on your mobile device.
Scroll past all the paid ads. If you haven’t noticed already; there’s something a bit new on some of the results. A small lightning bolt with the letters AMP next to it.
This indicates a site that loads super fast. What does this mean? Well it’s simple. We hate waiting for a site to load. Even moreso on our mobile devices. This means that you can now deliver content to users nearly instantaneously.
What else does this mean? It means if your competitors implement this before you do, it could cost you some sales, or even in some cases mean game over.
The truth is the first to adopt this will likely win pretty big or at least start leading the pack. It’s a bit of an unorthodox process to implement, traditionally speaking, but one that should be well worth the return.
You’ve probably heard the term speed kills, right? Often used around sports. Well I think it’s time it’s more commonly used in web. Meaning fast loading speeds kill your competitors, slow loading speeds kill your business.
We all know users don’t like waiting more than 3 seconds for a site to load nowadays. This makes AMP a game changer. In some ways for the better, at least for those who are customer-centric in their approach to web design. For those that are late adopters, or budget watchers, you may want to prepare for some dramatic losses in traffic, leads, and online sales.
Here’s the cool thing. Many web design companies, like Eternal Works, are jumping right on this along with some of the major platforms.
We recently heard from our Agency Partner Team over at HubSpot that their CMS is now set up so that sites built using HubSpot are automatically formatted as Accelerated Mobile Pages. It was already an amazing platform and it just got even better.
WordPress also has AMP plugins available. It’s important to note that the WordPress plugins available only provide AMP formatting and do not provide the content instantaneously. You will still need to use a third party like Google AMP Cache.
Other CMS platforms that use AMP are Drupal, Squarespace, Marfeel, and Hatena. There may be several others by the time this post goes live or afterwards. We’ll try to update this to keep you posted on new platforms, but you can also visit the AMPproject.org page of supported platforms here.
If you take a look at how to format or write accelerated mobile page pages, the process is a bit challenging and requires designers to unlearn practices that they’ve used for years in order to catch up.
AMP is actually a great reason to consider a redesign of an existing site. With the majority of people accessing the web through their smartphones; implementing AMP will certainly be an important part of your digital strategy in 2017 and going forward.
For more specifics you can visit the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. You can keep up with the latest updates and trends in the project. For example Forms are now supported in AMP as of October 31, 2016.
So here are some stats in case you need some numbers to help push/motivate your team to move toward AMP.
- More Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan. (Google, 2015) (Source: http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
- 43% of mobile voice search users do so because they say it is quicker than going on a website or using an app. (Statista, 2015)
- 21% of mobile voice search users do so because they say they don't like typing on their mobile. (Statista, 2015) (Source: http://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics)
Since Google is the primary search engine on the web, followed by YouTube (also owned by Google) it would make sense to follow their lead and consider the things they highlight as important motivators in your digital marketing strategy.
Since Google has made the effort to point out to their users which sites utilize AMP technology, I’d say it’s worth putting in the effort to make sure that your site also utilizes AMP technology as soon as possible.
There’s no indication that they will, but Google may eventually treat non-AMP sites the same way they do sites that do not provide a mobile experience and remove them from search altogether on mobile devices. While we can’t say that they will do this for certain, I would not be too surprised if they did. But, we’ll find out eventually. Google’s search modifications are usually shrouded in mystery.
The best we can do is pay attention and act quickly. Especially now that Google is grading sites in real time. So who knows if not using AMP on your mobile site will get you removed or ranked lower in search at some point.
If you’re ready to enhance your mobile experience and utilize AMP on your website, we’d love to take a look at your current site and discuss how we can upgrade it or redesign it for you.