Does Google AMP Affect SEO?

Written by: Jason Bayless | March 03, 2017

In 2015, Google made a significant change in mobile SERPs by introducing AMP. In just a few steps, users were getting as much as 85% faster page load times on their mobile devices.

AMP, short for Accelerated Mobile Page, is Google’s open-source project aimed at improving page load times by loading only the essential content of a web page. When you search for a particular news item, Google will return a carousel of results that have AMP-enabled pages. Though Amp was originally designed for news sites, there are also plans to make it a mainstay for e-commerce sites.

Google has attracted some 5,000 developers who are improving on AMP, and the technology has made a real difference for mobile device users. All in all, this project has changed the key ways in which mobile devices load web pages. It’s possible that you’ve noticed the results yourself.

The biggest difference is that the selected news article loads right away as soon as you click on one of the carousel results. This might not sound terribly exciting, but it’s made web publishers quite happy.

John Parise, Pinterest’s product engineer, wrote that early AMP tests showed that AMP-enabled pages load four times faster. They also found that the AMP pages used eight times less data than pages normally optimized for mobile.Platforms including Pinterest, Twitter, The Washington Post, and WordPress have jumped on board the AMP wagon to make their pages even more mobile friendly than they already were.

Google has proven that its technology can make web pages load in under half a second, while the average mobile web page loads in about three seconds. So what does this mean for SEO? According to Google, pages that take more than three seconds to load will see a 40% increase in their bounce rate. Google’s algorithm takes into account how users interact with and use a website. So not only is a slow-loading webpage bad for business, but it’s also bad for SEO.

So how exactly does AMP affect organic search engine results?

AMP and SEO
When AMP was first rolled out, there was a lot of speculation about how it would affect page rankings. Would it affect domain authority? Would certain sites see a rise in traffic while others saw a drastic dip? However, it turns out that AMP itself isn’t a ranking factor, as confirmed by Google’s Webmaster Trends Analyst.
Though it’s not a direct factor in ranking, it does affect user experience, impressions, and clicks. These, in turn, affect SEO. AMP-enabled news pages have priority in news search results, which is displayed above the fold on the first page of SERPs.
Mobile-friendliness is definitely a ranking factor. During the scare Mobilegeddon in 2015–when websites were failing Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test left and right—sites that formerly held top positions went plunging downward. In that light, AMP has become more significant when it comes to SEO.

AMP and Paid Search
Google AdWords is the magic button of sorts for brands that want to get straight to the top of the first page of Google. Since the search giant scrapped the AdWords sidebar, we’ve seen more quality over quantity in AMP-enabled ad placements. Using AMP for ads will also help with better conversion rates for ads, which no advertiser would object to.

Enabling Accelerated Mobile Pages is a simple six-step process for webmasters. You don’t have to hire an agency or web professional to do it for you. That’s just one more reason to take advantage of AMP. It just makes good SEO sense.