Google’s AMP project saw massive take-up on the promise of more visibility in the SERPS with extra snippets or image previews, at least until May 2021, when this will change.
While John Mueller has confirmed that AMP is not a ranking factor, a new Page Experience ranking factor coming in 2021 includes the measurement of Web Vitals.
AMP is a web framework created by Google designed for speed and can help your site’s Web Vitals. The Page Experience ranking factor requires that your Web Vitals are sufficient for 75% of your visitors, spread over mobile and desktop. If you have many mobile users, then implementing AMP can help.
Furthermore, you can even use AMP for your mobile and desktop versions.
Will AMP improve your Google rankings?
If you look at AMP in isolation, then AMP is not a ranking factor. However, as discussed previously, it can help with the new Page Experience ranking factor.
We took an in-depth look at what the Googlers \ Experts had to say:
AMP isn’t a ranking factor.
In response to a question about disabling AMP affecting SEO rankings, Mueller categorically said:
AMP isn’t a ranking factor.
John Mueller confirmed in a Tweet on Jan 24, 2017, that AMP is not a ranking factor:
AMP isn't a ranking factor; if you decide to disable it, make sure to redirect appropriately.— 🌽〈link href=//johnmu.com rel=canonical 〉🌽 (@JohnMu) January 25, 2017
Mueller makes a point about redirects; If you disable AMP pages on your site, you should remove the AMP canonical URL from the head of your page.
AMP pages are only used for site quality score & Panda if you use AMP as the primary mobile version.
In an English Google Webmaster Central office-hours hangout, Mueller clarified whether Google would use the AMP page for quality score purposes:
If it’s the one that we actually index, then yes, we will use that when determining the quality of the site when looking at things overall.
Essentially, if your AMP page is your canonical mobile page, then your AMP pages would be considered for quality score. A standard AMP implementation (i.e., AMP is in addition to your mobile version \ responsive site) would not be.
Google wants your AMP pages to have equivalent content and features to your main version.
In an Office-hours hangout, John Mueller confirmed that AMP is not a ranking signal. Still, making AMP, your mobile version will satisfy the mobile-friendly test and be treated like a regular page for site-quality \ Panda purposes.
Another helpful piece of information from the video is that the AMP team wants your AMP page to be as feature-rich as the main content. In other words, they don’t want a trimmed-down version:
One thing I also ask here is if you’re using AMP as a separate page for your site, and then I try to make sure that, as much as possible that the AMP version is actually equivalent to your main version.
So avoid the situation where the AMP is kind of a trimmed-down version of your page that doesn’t have videos; it doesn’t have the full content because that’s a terrible user experience. And I know the AMP team really doesn’t like it when people serve low-quality AMP instead of normal pages. So if you have that content, then make that content shine on an AMP page.
You can view the complete discussion below:
AMP itself is not something we have a ranking signal for now.
In an Office-hours hangout, John Mueller confirmed that it is not a ranking signal, but if you make AMP your mobile version, then that will satisfy the mobile-friendly test:"
At the moment, it is not a ranking signal. […] It is obviously one way to make mobile-friendly pages, so that might be an option where you do that.
In February 2016, John Mueller confirmed in a hangout that AMP is not a ranking signal.
John Mueller, a webmaster trends analyst at Google, confirmed in February 2016 that it is not a ranking factor for SEO during a Google Hangout:
At the moment, it is not a ranking signal.
It is obviously one way to make mobile-friendly pages, so that might be an option where you do that. I’ve already seen some websites where they’ve moved the whole website to the AMP format. Obviously, that is mobile friendly setup, so it kind of picks up the mobile-friendly thing.
But just AMP itself is not something that we have a ranking signal at the moment.
You can view the relevant conversation below at 15:50 minutes:
Before AMP’s launch, Google indicated that it might get a ranking boost.
Google confirmed that AMP pages may get a ranking boost and perhaps a ‘fast’ label designation. Both points were said to be speculative.
This has not been implemented as of May 2017 but indicates that they may consider it in the future.
While John Mueller’s comment appears to be the latest comment on whether it is an SEO ranking factor, it does not tell the whole story. Back in December 2015, during a special news event covering the announcement, a couple of valuable pieces of information came out:
- They may get a ranking boost
- They may get a “fast” label designation
- As you have seen from the mobile screenshots earlier in the article, we already have the “fast” label designation. Giving AMP pages a ranking boost is clearly on their mind.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
AMP pages are a version of your page that is highly optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. The pages are subject to strict coding standards that are purely optimized for speed.
By implementing AMP successfully, there are several benefits:
- It will show in the SERPs with a lightning icon.
- It may show in special carousels designed to highlight news content, potentially providing increased traffic to your website.
- Google caches your AMP version worldwide on its servers, making it extremely fast no matter where your readers are located.
In May 2021, some features of AMP will no longer be exclusive to AMP pages.
Are there any other benefits to implementing AMP?
While there are no direct SEO benefits (at the moment), there are numerous benefits for publishers:
- Greater Visibility - According to the Google SEO Starter Guide creating descriptive categories and pages could “lead to better crawling of your documents by search engines.” With fresh content giving a temporary ranking boost, it can be beneficial to have your website crawled more frequently so Google can pick up any changes.
- Mobile-friendliness - Google suggests that you should not replace the mobile version of your website with Accelerated Mobile Pages (i.e., it should be in addition). That being said, having an AMP page would allow you to pass the mobile-friendliness test, which does confer ranking benefits in the mobile SERPs.
- Faster Loading provides a better visitor retention rate - According to Kissmetrics, 40 percent of web users will abandon the page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load, with 47 percent expecting a page to load in under 2 seconds. Furthermore, a 1-second delay can result in a 7 percent reduction in conversions.