Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): ranking factor


Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): ranking factor

While there are some indications that implementing AMP on your website may become a Ranking Factor in the future, at the current time it has no affect.

While some indications implementing Accelerated Mobile Pages on your website may become a Ranking Factor in the future, at the current time it has no effect. That being said, implementing AMP can have a positive influence on traffic, gaining increased visibility in the News Carousel.

Impact: None
Confidence: Very High

AMP pages are a version of your page that is highly optimized for mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. They are pages are subject to strict coding standards that are purely optimized for speed. By implementing it successfully, there are many 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 will cache your AMP version around the world on its servers making it extremely fast no matter where your reader is located.

You can read more about how they work here.

You can see a couple of examples of how the new pages are displayed in the SERPs below:

News Carousels

AMP carousel

Lightning Bolt

Search result AMP

Is AMP an SEO Ranking Factor?

John Mueller, webmaster trends analyst at Google, confirmed back in February 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:

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 press event covering the announcement a couple of useful 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. Clearly, giving AMP pages a ranking boost is also on their mind.

AMP Pages Ranking Boost coming in May 2016?

In an announcement during March 2016, Google confirmed that at the beginning of May 2016 they will increase the effect of the mobile-friendliness ranking signal.

In the announcement Klemen Kloboves, Software Engineer at Google confirmed that if you have already made your website mobile-friendly, this update will not affect you. This implies that they will not become a ranking factor with this update. That being said, with Google, you can never be sure.

How Important is it?

While there are no direct SEO benefits (at the moment) there numerous benefits for publishers:

  • Greater Visibility — At SMX West, Dave Besbris, Vice President of Engineering at Google confirmed that the news carousel will only show pages that have implemented it. Normal news content can apparently still show in the list view.
  • 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 of users expecting a page to load in under 2 seconds. Furthermore, a 1-second delay can result in a 7 percent reduction in conversions.

Influence on Other Ranking Factors:

While AMP pages are not specifically a ranking factor, there are related factors that are:

  • Page Speed — Page speed is a ranking factor, but only in that slow Web pages are penalized. A page load time comparison between 0.5 seconds and 1.5 seconds is unlikely to make any difference.
  • Mobile-friendliness — While Google indicates that you should not replace your mobile version of your website with Accelerated Mobile Pages (i.e. it should be an addition), having an Accelerated Mobile Page would allow you to pass the mobile-friendliness test, which is a definite ranking factor in the mobile SERPs.
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