5 Reasons Google AMP Is Vital to your 2017 SEO Strategy

by Aleks Vizulis on November 21, 2016

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We – and many others – have hedged around the Google AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages project for a while now. It was exciting, but a little too new and drastic for companies already deeply committed to responsive mobile design. We think 2017 could be the year that's going to change. If you're looking for a new mobile solution that helps solve a plethora of the old mobile problems (and if you need it fast), it's time to turn to AMP. Here are the top reasons to consider for your 2017 SEO strategy.

1. The Speed Ultimatum

The one thing that AMP is known for is increasing mobile performance – creating much faster mobile sites that load instantly – actually, around 0.7 seconds, but you get the idea. We can't overestimate how important this is. Today's buyers are a mobile crowd. They make decisions based on mobile data. They contact sellers with mobile devices. And they are absolutely unforgiving when it comes mobile site performance and speed.

Part of this is the nature of mobile use: People on mobile devices tend to be on the move, multi-tasking, and aren't interested in waiting. Part of it is the notorious unreliability of mobile websites, especially among companies that aren't known for making a good online impression. Either way, speed is becoming the ultimate bounce test. If your site doesn't load immediately, clients and leads will move on. It's quickly becoming second nature.

2. Mobile Priority

Another reason to consider the use of AMP is how Google is treating mobile searches these days. It's big news that the company is finally planning on giving more weight to mobile searches than desktop searches when it comes to page rankings. This makes sense from the right perspective: After all, mobile searches are now more common than desktop searches. But for many brands, it's yet another wake up call that mobile needs more time and investment. AMP provides one of the easiest roads for mobile upgrades. If Google is giving mobile priority, shouldn't you do the same?

On a side note, for now Google is running AMP from its own servers, which may also solve a few of your mobile problems. It's a give and take, being dependent on Google's servers, but overall we see it as more of a benefit than a drawback, especially considering the source.

3. The Minimalistic Standard

A quick glance at AMP standards and you'll see that they're a bit different than how developers usually put together websites. There's...a lot less of everything. That includes no third party JavaScript, no inline styles, no external style sheets, input elements, and several other tools that developers are accustomed to using. Most responsive design has ways of handling these web objects, but there's no place for them in AMP.

That's a good thing! While it may look annoying right now, the end result is a very, very clean, minimalistic mobile page that focuses only on what is absolutely necessary. Not only is this essentially teaching you good mobile design for future reference, it's also give your mobile pages a slick, professional appearance that users will appreciate. Google is playing a bit of the strict professor here, but ultimately, you'll be happier with the result.

4 & 5. Preparing for the Future (Together)

We've got two final points about Google AMP to consider as we all plan for 2017. First, AMP is open source, which is more important than you may think. There are other types of mobile "style sheet" that work, but they are largely proprietary and useful only for very specific widgets – which is not cool. Google's version is fully open source and can be used or adapted by anyone, which means it is developing a lot more useful tools and options for businesses of all kinds. This is another way of saying that AMP is only going to get better as it goes along, and the sooner you jump aboard this train, the better.

Second, 2017 is going to bring even more mobile focus. This is not a trend that's going to die down – instead, mobile is becoming king. Voice search, local search, mobile ads...they are all becoming the law of the land. We need to prepare, and this is one of the best options. 

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Aleks Vizulis

As operations manager at 21 Handshake, I bring an analytical perspective to the discussion table. My vision is to take projects from 'just strong' to superb. Often you will find me capturing behind the scenes photos in the 21 Handshake office or at a clients location. I play a fierce round of 18 during warm weather and catch me on the slopes during the other months of the year!

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