Hey, Australia: faster page loads are here as Google’s AMP arrives Down Under
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is now available in the ‘Top Stories’ section of Google Search results for Australian users. After announcing the update for the rest of the world in June this year, Google has now followed through on its promise to make the AMP carousel available Down Under.
We talked about the update a few months ago when it was first announced – how AMP was designed to reduce page load times for mobile devices and deliver an improved experience for users. At that point in time the ‘Top Stories’ carousel was only going to be made available across 15 countries, including the UK and the US.
Google has now announced in a post on its official blog that the carousel has been rolled out in Australia. In conjunction with this update the company has also released a preview of AMP pages included across all search results, which you can try out here. Google will take on feedback from this preview and roll out a live update later this year.
What will change for users with AMP?
You can identify which pages have the AMP format by the lightning symbol found underneath the heading of the article in the ‘Top Stories’ carousel, or beside the article title if you’re using the AMP preview for all search results.
AMP pages are designed to load instantaneously, so when you click on a top story result the page should appear immediately, with all images and text loaded.
The load time is estimated to be up to four times faster than other non-AMP pages, according to Google’s data. Reports the company has received from publishers who have been on board with AMP for the last 6 months indicate that there has been a 23 per cent increase in returning users.
Google has been quick to point out that the adoption of AMP is not a ranking change for sites, however. While AMP pages will not be given any preferential treatment over non-AMP pages when it comes to ranking in search results, if two identical pages are returned in a search then
Google’s algorithm will favour the option that is more user-friendly i.e. the AMP page.
The format of these pages will also appear different to other results, as the AMP HTML is the same for all publishers in order to ensure the fast load times. Advertisements will still be allowed to appear in AMP, but the page content will be given loading preference first. Ads will also be designated to defined areas on the page, so that the content doesn’t ‘jump around’ during the loading process.
As explained in our previous blog post, these AMP pages will appear in card format within carousels at the top of Google’s search result pages, so users can flip through results. As AMP has not been implemented across all search results yet, the only definite change for Australian users is the ‘Top Stories’ carousel.
However, if you’re considering formatting your landing pages to AMP, now would be a good time to preview them in order to make any necessary tweaks or changes before it goes live.