Google AMP & The Changing Rules of Mobile Search

Mobile Phone

We’ve entered into the mobile age of Google AMP

The rules of mobile search are changing. Google has spoken, and the search engine giant just announced that its Accelerated Mobile Pages (Google AMP) Project will soon affect all organic searches. While that may not mean anything to you now, it’s only a matter of time before it will.

Google AMP was first introduced last October, an initiative aimed at dramatically speeding up the web and eliminating sluggish mobile browsing experiences. With 40 percent of users abandoning poor-performing mobile websites in just 3 seconds, Google had motivation to act.

The first version of AMP was exclusively geared toward news publishers, where a speedy browsing experience meant more traffic, readers and ads displayed. And the adoption of AMP was tremendous, as the world’s most recognizable news sites embraced the need for speed – offering news junkies the ability to consume instant content from hand-held devices.

Google AMP is now being rolled out – accompanied with a road map of steps to follow – to the entire search universe. And if you’re not delivering a blazing-fast, user-centered mobile journey, Google will likely penalize you.

While Google has been adamant that AMP pages will not receive a boost in page ranking, their algorithm takes mobile performance – and speed in particular – seriously. It’s really a case of semantics – be fast and create a mobile website that caters to users or risk inadequate search-engine results.

AMP is a light-weight, alternative version of your website that showcases just the essentials. Think of it as a hyper-fast landing page – a gateway – that directs users into the full mobile experience.

E-commerce companies should pay special attention to the roll out, as being mobile friendly is no longer enough, as AMP could pay big dividends or hurt online sales. With the direction Google is moving, soon, the slower you are on mobile, the fewer searches and users you’ll attract. But the reverse is also true. The faster the mobile experience, the more business you’ll get. Simply: Speed equals more money.

AMP websites also benefit from special treatment by Google’s results display.

Google will be distinguishing AMP pages in search results with a lightning-bolt logo – much like verified Twitter accounts that are decorated with a blue tick badge. The AMP badge is validation of performance, signaling mobile users that a site offers a great mobile experience.

While there is still uncertainty about how and when AMP will take effect, it’s a trend worth watching. If all goes as planned, AMP is poised to become the gold-standard for mobile search. And with Facebook making its own moves to retain users – as Instant Articles serves content to readers without ever leaving the social network – Google has incentive to rewrite the rules of mobile browsing. Sure, AMP will benefit Google, but it will also better connect websites and services to interested users. And that’s what Google is ultimately all about.

Google AMP is a bold move to get rid of frustrating mobile experiences by demanding remarkable speed and leaner design. While the project is still at the bleeding-edge of mainstream adoption, websites are migrating quickly. Since October, Google has indexed an estimated 150 million AMP pages with an additional 4 million added each week.

Now that’s a browsing movement in the making.