How Will Accelerated Mobile Pages Affect Brand Content?

How will accel­er­at­ed mobile pages, or AMP, affect the way brands do con­tent? And how can SEOs and brands alike best cap­i­tal­ize on oppor­tu­ni­ties around AMP?

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 1 comment

Accel­er­at­ed Mobile Pages, or AMP, have made head­lines recent­ly – includ­ing com­ments from Google’s Gary Illyes at SEJ Sum­mit. There, Illyes report­ed­ly said AMP will only keep grow­ing and will like­ly roll out to prod­uct pages on sites like Ama­zon – and it could even even­tu­al­ly be a mobile rank­ing fac­tor.

Google announced AMP in Octo­ber 2015, say­ing it was an open source ini­tia­tive that sought to improve the per­for­mance of the mobile web by mak­ing pages with rich con­tent work along­side smart ads and to load instan­ta­neous­ly.

We also want the same code to work across mul­ti­ple plat­forms and devices so that con­tent can appear every­where in an instant – no mat­ter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using,” Google said in the blog post at the time.

As a result, AMP can help improve user expe­ri­ence, dri­ve con­ver­sion and increase rev­enue, and help to yeild a com­pet­i­tive advan­tage. But it also pro­vides anoth­er lens through which mar­keters can view con­tent strat­e­gy and exe­cu­tion.

Here’s what AMP means for con­tent – and how SEOs and brands alike can best cap­i­tal­ize.

How could AMP affect content?

Per Brock Mur­ray, web mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist at SEO and PPC firm Seo­plus+, AMP is most impor­tant for pub­lish­ers, where arti­cles can be fea­tured promi­nent­ly in carousels, and less so at this point for brands that don’t have con­tent with com­pa­ra­ble urgency.

Bet­sy McLeod, a con­tent mar­ket­ing spe­cial­ist for dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Blue Coro­na, agreed.

For news out­lets and ecom­merce sites, [AMP] means Google is prac­ti­cal­ly hand­ing them the keys to high­er web­site traf­fic, and you bet­ter ful­ly inte­grate your site – or at least the main content/news pages,” she said. “For oth­er sites, it’s not as imper­a­tive or alarm­ing. It does mean a high­er lev­el of web capa­bil­i­ty, so you might see more of an empha­sis on web devel­op­ment.”

But to say AMP is irrel­e­vant for non-edi­to­r­i­al con­tent is an over­sim­pli­fi­ca­tion. In fact, Jake Ben­nett, CTO of “mod­ern agency” Pop, said AMP’s rel­e­vance varies by brand and con­tent type.

For a larg­er news orga­ni­za­tion or clients con­stant­ly releas­ing con­tent-heavy arti­cles with lit­tle inter­ac­tiv­i­ty, AMP-opti­mized pages could make sense,” he said. “For more immer­sive site expe­ri­ences or expe­ri­en­tial sites with a short shelf life, it may not make sense. There will also be a clus­ter of sites in the gray zone, where AMP pages might make sense to use, or it may make sense to just opti­mize the mobile respon­sive expe­ri­ence of that page.”

Marc Nashaat, dig­i­tal PR man­ag­er at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Pow­ered by Search, con­curred most brands don’t pro­duce enough con­tent to take advan­tage of fea­tures like rich carousels in search results, but he said lever­ag­ing AMP is nev­er­the­less a good future-proof­ing prac­tice.

If you have sta­t­ic pages that nev­er change, like a ser­vice page that’s not rich in media or does­n’t incor­po­rate adver­tis­ing, then AMP real­ly isn’t nec­es­sary,” Nashaat added. “On the oth­er hand, if you’re reg­u­lar­ly pro­duc­ing con­tent rich in images, video or data, then AMP is def­i­nite­ly some­thing you should be con­sid­er­ing.”

And, Nathaniel Torvik, mar­ket­ing direc­tor of SEO and Inter­net mar­ket­ing firm Site Strate­gics, added, AMP may be a good moti­va­tion for brands to recon­sid­er the way they deliv­er con­tent – and to poten­tial­ly con­sid­er greater empha­sis on more newsy con­tent to ensure it is indexed with AMP con­tent.

In addi­tion, AMP more heav­i­ly stress­es the user expe­ri­ence – and, McCloud not­ed, com­plete­ly changes the way web­sites are cod­ed in the process.

Right now, every web­site that’s opti­mized for user expe­ri­ence comes with all sorts of bells and whis­tles – dynam­ic con­tact forms, suped-up images, you name it. It’s become stan­dard think­ing that if your web­site doesn’t have these com­pli­cat­ed bells and whis­tles, your user expe­ri­ence isn’t that great,” she said. “AMP revers­es all of that. It’s a com­plete­ly new way of think­ing about web­pages and what mat­ters in the user expe­ri­ence — first and fore­most, speed.”

As a result, David Erick­son, vice pres­i­dent of online mar­ket­ing at PR firm Kar­wos­ki & Courage, said SEOs will have to have frank dis­cus­sions with their clients about their con­tent strate­gies. And that includes how com­fort­able brands are hav­ing con­tent pub­lished by third par­ties.

While, as of now, this is only a con­cern for those con­sid­er­ing Face­book Instant Arti­cles, keep in mind that it is a short jump from Google AMP to Google Posts, which is cur­rent­ly being test­ed with celebri­ty influ­encers,” Erick­son said.

In addi­tion, SEOs will have to dis­cuss con­ver­sion strat­e­gy for AMP and Instant Arti­cles.

Both pro­to­cols strip down con­tent to its mobile essen­tials, so com­pa­nies will need to rethink the user flow, where calls to action are placed and test for effec­tive­ness,” Erick­son added.

And, of course, there’s image opti­miza­tion.

Clear images that effec­tive­ly deliv­er the promise of con­tent are essen­tial on mobile devices, so cre­at­ing AMP- and Instant-Arti­cles-spe­cif­ic images to per­suade users to click is like­ly an addi­tion­al con­sid­er­a­tion – and cost – for SEOs,” Erick­son added.

The future of AMP?

Mar­tin Har­ri­son, direc­tor at copy­writ­ing ser­vice Copi­fy, agreed AMP means con­tent cre­ators will have to work hard­er than ever to cap­ture read­ers’ atten­tion with “killer head­lines and images, as well as con­tent that is struc­tured for quick and easy skim-read­ing.”

And Ted Poli­tidis, senior SEO man­ag­er of EMEA at West­ern Union Inter­na­tion­al Bank, also not­ed an impact in ana­lyt­ics as brands may want to have AMP pages fall into their mobile traf­fic buck­ets, but they may also want to track them sep­a­rate­ly by estab­lish­ing a sep­a­rate chan­nel as “AMP pages” and set­ting up an auto­mat­ed sys­tem that pro­duces AMP pages each time new mate­r­i­al pub­lished.

Final­ly, Clau­dia Pen­ning­ton, tech­ni­cal search strate­gist at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Web Tal­ent Mar­ket­ing, advised SEOs and their clients pay close atten­tion to mon­e­ti­za­tion as AMPs are sim­ply addi­tion­al ver­sions of already-opti­mized con­tent.

Brands and mar­keters alike should con­sid­er the pur­pose of AMPs before they pro­ceed. Ad plat­forms have been slow to respond, so ads don’t often appear before a user scrolls through an arti­cle. Thus, there is an impact on rev­enue and clicks,” she said. “Poor per­for­mance of ads placed with­in arti­cles is a major prob­lem for brands and mar­keters and until ad plat­forms improve load time, rev­enue and click-through rates for ads with­in AMPs will like­ly be low­er than ads with­in oth­er ver­sions of arti­cles.”

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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