AMP now in Google’s Top Stories Carousel and News Headlines
Google has made some important changes to further promote its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) platform.
Since its launch last year, AMP has been helping website owners and content creators to provide a smoother and more consistent user experience on mobile devices.
With more and more eyeball time moving to tablets and smartphones, Google is keen to avoid disappointing its users by sending them to clunky or unusable pages.
It hopes AMP, along with other initiatives, such as its mobile-friendly bias in search results, will encourage all website owners to adopt a mobile-first approach.
In a recent update distributed through the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project newsletter, Google announced two major changes to where AMP content would appear. The first is in the ‘Top Stories’ carousel at the top of Google search results, and the second is a ‘Headlines’ carousel that will appear at the top of Google News.
Currently, these AMP updates are only available in a limited number of countries such as the US and UK, but the plan is to roll them out on an ongoing basis to additional countries.
If you haven’t yet jumped on the AMP bandwagon (and are wondering what is even about, for that matter) then maybe now is the time.
A brief history of the AMP Project
The AMP Project was devised after publishers and other users noticed a need for improvement in the load time and wider user experience on smartphones and other mobile devices.
Users expect an extremely fast page load time or they will likely leave and go elsewhere to find the information they want. Research cited on the official AMP Project website suggests that bounce rate can be as high as 58 per cent for pages that take up to ten seconds to load. That’s a lot of potential customers to lose, simply because they don’t want to wait.
Hence, the AMP project was born. AMP pages load instantaneously and are available across all platforms and apps to enhance the user experience, regardless of where the information appears.
When the AMP project was first introduced it was perceived to be a potential rival to Facebook’s Instant Articles, which serves a similar purpose. AMP was pitched as an open source alternative to Instant Articles, meaning it is available to anyone publishing on the web across all platforms.
The idea of the project is to provide a much faster browsing and viewing experience for users, which encourages them to spend more time on web pages. The design of the AMP pages is such that they are visually appealing and the content is easy for users to digest. AMP offers an opportunity to bypass many technical and logistical issues at the back end to provide the experience that their users want, and to present it quickly.
What the latest update can do for brands
With these latest updates, not only can brands provide their mobile users with speedy and attractive web pages, they also have the opportunity to be seen at the top of Google’s search results.
If you have a ‘top story’ that has been formatted with the AMP specification, it could well be one of the stories that rotate on the carousel right at the top of the page. This provides a much better opportunity to be seen by your audience in a format that will encourage them to stay longer on your page and engage with your content.
The same concept applies to the News carousel, with 15 headlines appearing on rotation as part of the carousel at the top of Google News. Provided you are writing content about trending topics and newsworthy events, your articles have an opportunity to appear in the AMP carousel and be seen by a much wider audience.
The overall objective of the AMP project is to reach a wider audience and garner more readers, with an instant load time and improved user experience. Having AMP for your brand’s content will improve its visibility and encourage your audience to spend more time consuming that content, instead of going elsewhere when the page takes too long to load.
Although the most recent updates are not available in Australia and New Zealand yet it’s worthwhile to start implementing AMP now, so that by the time the carousels are rolled out Down Under your site already has AMP content ready to go.