AMP – early mover advantage and sceptics

As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, Google is starting to include AMP pages within its main organic mobile search results. While AMP pages don’t get a ranking boost over standard mobile-friendly pages, implementing them does offer some significant benefits to both consumers and publishers (see our previous article for details).

At this point, there’s no indication of when Google will be rolling AMP into Google NZ search results. But when it does, it’s likely to be worthwhile having an AMP version of your website in place, particularly if a significant proportion of your website traffic is from mobile users.

Given this, you may want to get a first mover advantage and jump onto the AMP bandwagon early. The good news is that doing this is pretty easy if you have a WordPress-powered website (roughly one-in-four websites are).

WordPress has developed a free AMP plugin that dynamically generates AMP-compatible versions of posts. Note, these AMP pages don’t get displayed automatically to visitors accessing the site directly on mobile devices. However, if they access the site via a Google search, then Google displays the AMP versions of pages.

To help publishers implement AMP correctly Google lets you know if it finds errors by reporting them in your Google Search Console account. In addition, Google has just starting showing AMP implementation error messages directly in search results, like the example below. Note – this message is only shown to the site owner, and not to other viewers.

AMP error message in Google search results

Not everyone is necessarily buying into the argument Google makes for publishers to adopt AMP.

In a nutshell, Google’s argument is that AMP offers publishers a way to avoid losing control of their content and associated revenue to the walled garden of Facebook which hosts publishers’ Instant Articles.

Mathew Ingram from Fortune Magazine wrote a very interesting article about this earlier in the week. As he states, not everyone is convinced that Google really has their best interests at heart. Some media companies believe that what the search giant really wants is to strengthen its control over the web — and, more specifically, its control over how the web is monetised. Google’s responses to these allegations are worth reading.

Why should you care?

Whatever publishers objections to AMP may be— and however valid — it’s not likely to be something they can afford to ignore. Given this, it’s prudent to start thinking now before AMP arrives in NZ about whether or not you will implement it and, if so, how.

As mentioned, if you have a WordPress website it’s something you can easily start testing now.

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About the Author Mark Sceats

Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).

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