What is AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), and Do You Need It?

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a content delivery network that is provided by Google. The purpose of AMP is to deliver websites to mobile users at a much faster rate by using a lighter version of HTML and delivering content via the Google-hosted cached version, instead of from your server.   

Since it’s release, webmasters and website owners have noticed that websites that were optimized for mobile use (with AMP) were rewarded with higher mobile search engine rankings, whereas websites that were not optimized for mobile use, experienced a drop in their rankings.  Coincidence… not likely?  With the rise of mobility use and Google’s focus on improving user experience, it will likely become a key ranking factor in Google’s books.

Here are some interesting facts to consider:

– Slower-loading webpages are associated with higher bounce rates, and approximately 40% of visitors are likely to abandon your site if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.  
– On average, AMP pages load 30 times faster than non-AMP websites.   
– Mobile webpages using Google AMP for business see approximately 200% increase in click-through rates
– US mobile search accounts for MORE than half of total search volume in 2016.

At this point, it’s uncertain if AMP is an actual ranking factor or not.  Most would agree that it is.  The AMP project has more than 860,000 domains that publish over 35 million AMPs per week according to stats shared by Google.  Google also noted the expansion of AMP to more than a billion additional users in China and Japan.

Now that mobile usage has surpassed desktop usage, we should be adopting the “mobile-first” mentality.    If you happen to have a WordPress website,  AMP can be installed in minutes by installing a couple of plugins.  If you need help in implementing AMP on  your website, contact The Best Media – The Digital Marketing experts.

SEO Tips For Your Mobile Friendly Website

There are more people accessing the internet with their mobile phones, than with any other device.  Yet many websites are still not mobile friendly and are not even designed to adjust to different screen size.  Optimization for mobile devices considers the site design, structure, speed, and other factors to make sure you’re not turning mobile visitors away without knowing it.

As mobile continues to overpower desktop users, having a mobile-first design with SEO only makes sense.  Search engine giants like Google are continuously changing their algorithm to provide a better user experience.  Google now uses “mobile-friendly” websites as a ranking factor in their search results. 

The following tips are crucial when designing your mobile-friendly website:

1. Super-Fast Page Speed

Don’t lose your visitors!  Make sure your server is up to par. The quicker a web page loads, the more engagement you will get from users.   Nobody likes waiting – particularly when you’re talking about the internet on a mobile device.   According to Think with Google, the average mobile websites’ load times for bounced sessions were about 2.5 seconds slower than non-bounced sessions.   Some simple ways to do this:  compressing larger images, utilizing cache, and eliminating redirects.

2. Assume Users Have Fat Fingers

With a mobile-first design, you should be able to navigate a touch screen easily by scrolling regardless of whether you have large fingers or thumbs.  Ensure your mobile design caters to this for a better user experience. 

3. Avoid Using Pop-Ups

Google’s new algorithm update that was released in January of this year, will now penalize businesses that use pop-ups on their mobile sites.  Smaller pop-ups such as tiny banners or age verification boxes should still be okay.  However, if the pop-up is a stand alone and covers the majority of your page making it difficult to proceed to the website, this will have a major effect on your SEO and user experience.

4. Ditch the Flash

Most web designers today have already phased out the use of flash, but they are still out there.  What was once seen as visually cool, is now more of an annoyance for users.  It’s horrendous for SEO.   Flash is extremely insecure – more than any other web application making it a very popular target for hackers.  To make matters worse, it also reduces the amount of content that’s visible to Google’s indexing bots.  

Flash plugins may not be available on a user’s phone, which means they’ll likely just leave your website instead of installing a new plugin on their phone.  If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.

5. Include a Viewport Meta Tag

A viewport meta tag tells your browser the scaling and sizing information it needs to fit the screen.  You can’t “see” the viewport on the web page, but it’s very much needed.  Otherwise, depending on the device used, scaling and sizes on your mobile site can be all out of whack

For more information on mobile-friendly websites and why it’s crucial that you have one, visit: http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/mobile-friendly-websites-why-its-crucial-that-yours-is-friendly-too/

Mobile-Friendly Websites: Why It’s Crucial That Yours Is Friendly Too

Are you unsure if your website qualifies as mobile-friendly?

On a daily basis, Google sees more mobile searches than desktop searches. As a result, they now primarily look at the mobile version of your website for its ranking signals and fall back on the desktop version when there is no mobile version. So, if you don’t already have a mobile version of your website, you better get on that, pronto!

Factors such as readability (without zooming), responsive design (e.g. your links being too close together) and using non-mobile-friendly software (such as Flash) will also be taken into consideration when it comes to a website’s search ranking. Websites that look and perform better on mobile devices like smartphones and tablets will appear higher on the search results.

Still unsure if your website is mobile-friendly? Here are some links provided by Google to help you determine if it does:

Guide to mobile-friendly sites – Offers several ways to make your site more mobile-friendly, such as by using software or a third-party developer.

Mobile-Friendly Test – See how optimized your website is for mobile viewing. You can test a single page on your site or several web pages and see exactly how Google’s own Googlebot views the pages when determining search results.

Mobile Usability Report –  Helps identify any issues with your website when viewed on a mobile device.

Google is king in the search engine world. If Google wants you to be mobile-friendly, you just do it. Don’t let your business get lost in the race. As time goes by, more and more websites will emerge that are mobile-friendly, pushing those that are not even further down the search results pages and away from customers.

For great SEO tips on creating a mobile-friendly website, check out:  http://www.thebestmedia.com/blog/seo-tips-for-your-mobile-friendly-website/