The Latest with AMP: Continued Roll-Outs & the Importance of Intent

Google continues to tell site owners that speed is critical, and the latest with AMP’s impact continues to expand. Marketers who want to make sure that their sites are prepared for the future of mobile– including the approaching mobile-first index— want to remain updated on this markup.

Google clearly wants AMP more widely adopted. The search engine giant believes that the user experience can be hampered by slow sites, and AMP provides the solution to ensure that all pages load quickly. At our Share16 conference this past October, we heard from Thao Tran of Google, who spoke about how the search engine wants to create a seamless experience for users, both online and offline, and enhancing speed is viewed as an essential part of this effort.

Right now, news sites comprise most AMP pages. Ebay worked as a trailblazer back in June when they marked up 8 million of their product pages for AMP, which began to expand the role of AMP in the minds of marketers. Google has continued to grow the technology since its introduction, and we wanted to make sure you were up-to-date on the latest about AMP, page speed, and what marketers should be considering.

The Latest with AMP Projects

As a part of Google’s push to expand the results and pages that are displayed in AMP, they have recently begun using the markup for Google Images. We have seen AMP appearing for images from a variety of sources including Pinterest and various home improvement sites. As this feature begins to catch on, it is likely that the number of sites taking advantage of this opportunity will increase.

AMP rollout, BrightEdge solution
Similarly, AMP results have also been showing up for some searches related to hotels and recipes. Interestingly, the search for “10 best hotels in Clearwater Beach” will give you a carousel of AMP images and pages, but you do not get the same display for similar searches for other cities. This may expand in the future.

AMP rollout, BrightEdge solution
It is important to note that Google’s expansion of these AMP results into different areas fits nicely into their idea of ‘micro-moments’. The news sites are a strong component in the I-want-to-know moment, while the hotels fit with I-want-to-go, and recipes and many images are I-want-to-do. Google understands that the modern customer journey has become fragmented and now exists as a series of touchpoints that arise during intent-filled moments when consumers have an immediate need. The ability of brands to fill these needs impacts their capacity to effectively build relationships. Google wants to return fast results for customers, regardless of where they are in the journey. As a website owner, you also want to deliver a well-equipped webpage to build trust with the viewer.

Despite Google’s increase in the different types of content that is displayed in AMP, Google has also recognized that sometimes AMP pages are not what users seek. Google has recently made it easier for users to elect to see the page in the regular format instead of the AMP.

How the latest with AMP impacts webmasters

There has been significant discussion about the impact of AMP pages on click-through rates for websites, with many sites seemingly uncovering lower rates when they used AMP. Barry Schwartz, however, recently posted that it seems as though this initial finding was inaccurate. When the data from AMP for normal mobile results was separated from the data for AMP in rich results, it showed that it was not AMP itself that was lowering the click-through rates, but rather the ‘Top Stories’ carousel. This does not seem to be a universal problem, but brands who are noticing drops in their CTR with AMP should check to see if it is actually the carousel that is causing the decline, rather than AMP itself.

Brands using the AMP markup will also find other helpful information now on the Google Search Console AMP Reports. When you open the page, you can now differentiate between ‘critical’ and ‘noncritical’ issues with the AMP pages. The critical issues prevent your page from being properly shown with AMP on search pages. The less severe issues would be helpful to fix, but they are not as essential to the display of your pages. This should help brands prioritize their efforts in this area.

What brands need to do

Google’s increased emphasis on AMP signifies that brands need to be paying close attention to site speed. Not only will Google be looking for pages using AMP, pages that load significantly slower will also stand out negatively to users. Optimize all pages for speed, including those not currently available for AMP.
It is also clear that Google is paying attention to the user’s intention when designing their SERPs, and site owners need to be doing the same. Understanding the types of content your users will likely search for when on a mobile device will help you optimize your material and better incorporate AMP into your strategy. For BrightEdge customers, our Intent Signal function provides valuable information for clients interested in determining what consumers typing in a particular query likely seek. We allow you to monitor both mobile and desktop devices on the platform, enhancing your optimization capabilities. As you build your AMP pages, you can monitor the success and engagement of the page through the platform as well, enhancing your mobile strategy.

BrightEdge Keeps Customers Ahead of the AMP Opportunity

The AMP-Preferred reporting is now available to all BrightEdge customers as the first and only solution to help brands identify, optimize, and track performance on Top Stories and AMP-preferred topics. By identifying the keywords that are AMP-preferred, customers can hone in on the topics where AMP-enabling content will have the greatest business impact.

AMP rollout, BrightEdge solution, screen shot

Download the BrightEdge AMP and Top Stories datasheet

Google continues to push brands to adopt AMP to boost the speed of their pages and improve the user experience. The latest with AMP markup reveals spreading beyond just news stories, and we believe you can look for even more opportunities to use the markup in 2017.