In this multi-part series, we’ll look at upcoming trends in marketing in 2016 you should be prepared to address. Today, we’re looking at Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Accelerated Mobile Pages Example

The mobile experience on many websites sucks. There’s no polite way of saying that.

Pages take forever to load.
Ads crowd our mobile screens.
Some pages are so malformed, our phone browsers crash entirely.

To help audiences, a consortium of content companies, led by Google, created a lightweight HTML specification called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP technology, without getting bogged down into technical details, takes an existing web page and slims it down. AMP HTML removes many features common on heavy web pages, lots of scripting and code, and other “features” which slow down web sites.

Why is this so important?

Why does this deserve a trend watch for 2016?

One word: SEO.

Any time Google throws its weight behind something, it uses a carrot and stick approach. Google announced beginning in the first quarter of 2016 that it will start sending mobile users to search results on an AMP version of a page first.

The carrot? If your website is AMP-compliant, Google will send users to the fastest loading pages. So, what’s the stick? In the past, Google eventually punishes non-compliant sites with less visibility in search listings. I expect a similar announcement to be made down the road – sites without AMP will not be given strong placement in mobile search.

What do you need to do to become AMP-compliant?

If you’re a technical user, read up on the specification and begin implementing it.

If you’re not a technical user, but you’re on the WordPress hosting platform, install the AMP plugin for WordPress. The plugin will magically create AMP versions of your pages. For example, this blog post’s AMP version can be found by clicking here.

Should you implement AMP?

If you’re on a content management system like WordPress, and becoming AMP-compliant is as simple as adding a new plugin, yes. Test it out. There’s little downside risk.

If you’re facing hundreds or thousands of page changes, and huge costs to implement, then you need to check how much of your website’s traffic comes from mobile devices. If your site has more than 10% mobile traffic, consider AMP. Less than that, and the cost is substantial? Wait to see if your CMS vendor rolls out a pre-packaged AMP solution.

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