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Google Accelerated Mobile Pages

Since their launch, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) has been gradually growing in popularity and functionality. More than 2 billion pages now utilize the stripped-down and sped-up content system, and a new survey shows users are also responding very well to AMP.

A poll conducted by 9to5Google indicates that more than half of all internet users prefer to click on AMP content over regular links to full content hosted on your website.

The question posed by Justin Duino from 9to5Google asked: “Are you more inclined to click on an AMP link than a regular one?

With almost 1500 responses so far, 51% of people say the “Yes, I prefer the stripped down versions of websites when reading something.

The other responses include:

  • No, if I want to read something, I will open the link whether it’s AMP or not – 24%
  • No, I prefer loading the entire website – 13%
  • Yes, but only when my device is using mobile data and I don’t want to load a full website – 9%
  • Other – 2%

Of course, informal online polls are hardly considered incontrovertible proof. The results are open to interpretation and informed by numerous factors. For one, the people who frequent 9to5Google’s site are more likely to be tech-inclined and informed about the latest news and features in search. They also likely view Google in a more positive light than the average person.

Still, there is plenty of evidence that content producers and brands love AMP, but there’s been little effort to actually ask users how they feel about the format. Based on this, they are largely in favor of the stripped-down content that lets them get straight to what they clicked on with as little loading time as possible.

In an increasingly mobile world, the speed of your website can be a major make-or-break point for any business. Estimates suggest most sites lose half or more of their visitors just while their page is loading because people aren’t willing to wait around.

So, how can you fix your site and make it lightning-fast? Google can tell you specifically what you need to do with its Test My Site tool, which just received a new set of features this week.

Now, the tool can tell you a number of things about your site, including:

  • Your site’s mobile speed
  • The number of visitors you may be losing
  • How you compare to the competition
  • Specific recommendations about how to make your site faster

To show just how effective it can be to make your site faster, Google points to a case study from a Nashville fencing company. According to Google, Yard Dog Fence Company managed to double its sales just by following the recommendations suggested by the Test My Site Tool, such as reducing image size.

The days of waiting around for minutes while a website loads are gone. These days, people are likely to leave if your page hasn’t rendered in five seconds or less. It may seem like a tough challenge to speed your site up that much, but the Test My Site Tool will give you an actionable list made specifically for your site. With that as a roadmap, you’ll be able to make the changes you need to supercharge your site, improve your traffic, and increase conversions.

In his attempt to fix some confusing wording Google has been using, Matt Cutts, Google’s head of webspam, used his latest Webmaster Help video to clarify that page load speed is not any more important for rankings on mobile than it is for desktop searches.

This comes after Google has been publicly emphasizing the need for sites to load quickly, noting that mobile users are highly likely to leave a page if it doesn’t load fast enough. While Google isn’t backing off of that stance, Cutts wanted to make it clear that there isn’t a difference in how this speed is ranked from mobile to desktop.

If all things are equal, meaning all other aspects of two sites are ranked evenly, the site that loads faster will almost certainly be given the higher ranking in search results by Google, but that is true on smartphones and desktop computers alike. It is also just a sensible part of the algorithm, as slow pages will likely lose a large number of visitors just during the loading time, making it a lower-value site.

But, as internet speeds across devices and across the globe vary, Cutts said Google doesn’t have plans to give an exact amount of seconds your site should load in, but if it becomes obvious to Google that mobile users are getting more frustrated by slow sites than their desktop counterparts, they may consider weighting loading speed more for mobile searches. It just isn’t the case yet, and there are no plans currently to make it so.

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Source: WikiCommons

Everyone working in SEO knows that Google has a multitude of factors they use to determine the order of search engine results, and the majority of these ranking factors are based on either the content of the webpage or signs of authenticity or reputability. That was the case for the longest time, but since 2010, Google has made significant shifts towards a focus on usability, and the harbinger of this change was the inclusion of website speed to ranking factors.

The problem is, website speed and other usability issues aren’t exactly objectively defined. What exactly is a slow loading site? What is the cutoff? No one has gotten a definitive answer from Google, but in June Matt Cutts explicitly stated that slow loading sites, especially on mobile platforms will begin seeing search rank penalties soon.

Obviously these changes are good for searchers. Searchers want sites that load quickly, offer quality user experience, and deliver great content. And, the emphasis on speed is certainly highlighted on mobile platforms where on-the-go users are likely to go back to the results if the site takes too long for their liking. The issue we face as search optimization professionals is trying to figure out exactly what Google is measuring and how that information is being used.

Matt Peters from Moz decided to break through Google’s intentionally vague information to figure out exactly how site speed affects rankings with the help of Zoompf. They can’t explicitly disprove causation between site speed and rankings, due to the number of other algorithmic ranking factors that complicate the study. But, their results did show very little to no correlation between page load time and ranking.

I wouldn’t take this information as gospel, but it does suggest that loading time isn’t a huge consideration into long tail searches and doesn’t need to be worried about too much. If your site is loading quickly enough to please the people coming to it, your site will also likely pass Google’s expectations.