When Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in February 2016, the open source initiative was targeted at improving the experience of the mobile web for publishers. Up until recently, AMP pages were only featured in the “Top Stories” carousel, but adoption of the technology has now spread to other industries such as e-commerce, entertainment, travel, and recipe sites. Google announced this week that it will be including AMP links in mobile search results later this year.
According to Google software engineer Nick Zukoski, the search engine has more than 150 million AMP docs in its index and is adding 4 million new documents every week. With AMP adoption increasing, the company is expanding AMP support beyond the “Top Stories” carousel to the main search results page.
“To clarify, this is not a ranking change for sites,” Zukoski said. “As a result of the growth of AMP beyond publishers, we wanted to make it easier for people to access this faster experience.”
AMP results will display with a grey lightning bolt and their links will load in the AMP viewer, as shown in this example gif, which Google published in the announcement.
Google is starting with a preview before AMPing up mobile search results on a broader scale later this year. The announcement gives developers time to check out the demo and learn how to implement AMP for their websites. Those who have already AMPed up their sites do not need to meet any additional requirements to have those pages indexed in organic search.
“This is a very big step forward simply in terms of the amount of traffic we will now see going to AMP files — by far the biggest so far, in terms of increasing overall AMP adoption and traffic,” Richard Gingras, Google’s head of news products told NiemanLab in a recent interview.
Although Google is not (yet) prioritizing AMP results in rankings, it already factors page speed into results. It also won’t take long for mobile search users to learn that the AMP-denoted results will load faster, providing a traffic boost to those who have it enabled.
Adoption of the technology is no longer primarily the concern of publishers now that Google is broadening support to include things like recipes, local listings, and e-commerce products. For most website owners, making an existing site comply with AMP’s specifications requires a tremendous amount of work.
Fortunately for sites that are running on WordPress, enabling AMP is relatively simple thanks to the plugin created by Automattic for WordPress.com, one of the first publishers to partner with Google on the initiative. The plugin is currently active on more than 70,000 installations but that number is likely to grow considerably over the second half of 2016 as Google gets closer to including AMP pages in mobile search results. The plugin doesn’t yet support pages, archives, or custom post types but hopefully Google’s announcement will be the impetus to put these items on the plugin’s roadmap.