How to Boost your organic traffic with AMP, using Google's help.
Strategy / Feb 28th, 2019 4:56 pm     A+ | a-
What is AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open source framework, originated by Google and endorsed by many of the major internet companies. It is essentially a way to deliver web pages, almost instantly, thus fulfilling one of the major tenets of Google's mobile-first / user-first strategy. With more than 60% of all search activity originating from mobile devices Google started evaluating all websites as mobile websites in July of 2018, with loading speed being one of its primary criteria for search engine ranking.
How will Google help?
When the Google robot encounters an AMP page during a website crawl, it validates the page, then if it meets the AMP standard, it will copy the entire page to its AMP cache, qualifying the page to be delivered directly from the Google search results page to a smartphone user almost instantly. AMP pages also qualify to be delivered in the Google carousel as rich search results. https://developers.google.com/search/docs/guides/search-features  AMP pages have an edge in Google's search results.
Are AMP pages difficult to develop?
This is one of those answers that start with "it depends". If you are trying to convert a straight forward, simple HTML page to AMP its pretty easy. If your page is loaded with javascript it's very difficult. AMP was originally created as a specialized version of HTML5 for publishing articles. Articles were typically text and images, without Javascript enhancements and special effects it's a fairly simple process. Why is Javascript restricted? Because it has the potential of "render blocking" as it excludes thus slowing down the page load. The most significant change in AMP HTML is the requirement of defining an image size beforehand, reserving space for a slow loading image, and keeping the page from jumping all over as images load.
Does AMP allow Javascript for slide shows?
Yes, but they must be chosen from the AMP component library. AMP components work asynchronously, meaning they load independently of other page load functions, at their own pace, not blocking the rendering of the page by the browser. There are close to 100 different components available providing a means to accomplish most common website features like carousel slide shows. For activities that cannot be directly handled by the AMP components, amp-iframe may be used.
What else makes an AMP page successful?
Structured data, or microdata as it is often called. This is a means of telling Google, or other search engines, what your website is about.  Its an additional 30-50 lines of code within the page structure, describing the webpage in a standard format. The details can be found at https://schema.org/.  All your webpages, AMP or conventional, should have structured data to help the search engine robots properly catalog your content. There several microdata standards but the JSON-LD seems to be gaining traction as a standard. 
How do I avoide duplicate content issues?
If you add AMP pages to your website that contains the same content as existing pages you run the risk of being judged to have duplicate content unless you add  rel="canonical" tag on the AMP pointing to the main page for the content and rel="amphtml" tag on the conventional page pointing to the AMP page.
What AMP strategy works best to drive traffic to my main website.
In light of the fact that Google is in a transition from a search engine to an answer engine, you should consider AMP pages to deliver in-depth knowledge associated with your products or services. Writing informative articles of about 1,800 words, without sales hype are rewarded with good search engine results. These articles will bring you traffic by having deep links into your current website content. Each link should have keyword rich anchor text for the links.
A checklist for writing traffic generating articles and publishing them in an AMP format.
  1. Format your article as a series of short paragraphs, 50-80 words each with a descriptive header.
  2. Go through the article confirming you have used keywords, that your competitors rank well for, in a natural way throughout the text of the article.
  3. Add deep links into your website, using anchor text representing the keywords associated with the content on your website you are linking to.
  4. Build a simple webpage, following the guidelines for articles established by the AMP project, https://www.ampproject.org/
  5. Create structured data for your article following the guidelines presented by Schema.org.  https://schema.org/Article
  6. Employ the JSON-LD method of delivering structured data. https://jsonld.com/article/
  7. Validate your AMP page with Google. https://search.google.com/test/amp
  8. If you are hosting the AMP page on your website, add it to your site map. https://www.xml-sitemaps.com
  9. Submit your new sitemap to your Google search console.https://search.google.com/search-console/about
  10. The next time Google crawls your website they should copy your AMP page into their AMP cache for direct delivery from the search results page.
Getting AMP pages published and cached by Google
My associates and I at Alpha Group Software offer a practical AMP page publishing service. If you send us a well written, up to 2,000-word article, properly formatted, we will create an AMP web page including structured data, have it validated by Google, then publish it to the web. Our AMP success package cost $379 which also includes two years of hosting on our high-performance servers and a guarantee that Google will place it in their AMP cache.
If the article is not formatted per our suggested standard we can format it for you for an additional $200.  If you only have a rough draft or a bunch of notes we can create a professionally written article for you. Send us the details and we will be happy to give you a quote for the complete task.
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