Integrating Google AMP into the marketing strategy
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is Google's open source project that envisions the creation of mobile-optimized content. Publishers are the main beneficiaries of this project as it basically aims at enhancing the loading speed of sites on mobile devices. It's a universal truth that loading speed is an integral ranking factor for search engines, and currently an inevitable concern in online marketing.
A site that is AMP-enabled has two main benefits to SEO
Firstly, AMP directly affects one of the top ranking factors used by Google: mobile-optimized content. In fact, there are speculations that AMP might evolve into a ranking factor, but that's yet to be seen.
Ignoring mobile is a deadly move today as the majority of your website's visitors use mobile devices more than they use desktops. But you could argue that AMP is not the only way to make content mobile optimized. However, remember that not using AMP gives your competitors who use AMP a leg up.
Secondly, the site gets a "Fast" label designation on the search engine results page (SERP). When a reader performs a search on anything, Google pulls up a carousel towards the top of the SERP. This carousel contains content from AMP-enabled sites. The reader can then easily click on any of the articles.
This translates into increased page views, greater ad views and sharing, and ultimately improves the reader/publisher relationship. Increased view by carousel has the following effects on online marketing:
Higher click-through rates:
Content that's displayed in the carousel has much higher visibility and a probability of the reader clicking through to the website. This means half of the battle of getting visitors to your site is already won.
Increased brand authority:
Readers are impressed by content included in the carousel, as they think it's of high quality (why else would Google place it on top of their page anyway?)
Higher click-through rates and increased brand authority result in a higher ad click-through rate. Since an AMP-enabled site has more views and appears more trustworthy than non-AMP pages, the readers are more likely to click on the ads.
Enhanced user experience:
User experience has a significant impact on the success or failure of an online marketing endeavour. People who surf the internet using their mobile devices don't like sites that load slowly or eat up their data. Research has shown that most visitors won't wait more than a few seconds for a site to load.
AMP cuts down on loading time to as less as half a second, which is four times faster than a non-AMP site's loading speed. It also enables users to view content without having to visit the site (through the carousel). A user only visits the actual site if s/he likes what is displayed in the carousel. This enables the user to save mobile data and battery life.
Of course, AMP is not without some negative effects on online marketing. It doesn't work for non-publisher sites. Also, a CMS that supports AMP is required, which could mean increased budget. Lastly, there are currently no forms of AMP content, meaning you cannot generate leads through subscriptions. This problem can be solved by an upgrade that allows publishers to use forms in their AMP-optimized content, something that Google might be working on.
AMP is quite a sensitive influence on online marketing today and seems to gain traction by each dawn. It's wiser to consider how to integrate it into your strategy, rather than regret later for not using it while all your competitors did.