Google said it: page speed will be a ranking factor in its mobile-first index. Faster load time is a frequent topic of conversation for optimizing your website. Everything points to “the faster, the better,” but what does it really mean to have a fast-loading site? How much does it matter?

We’ll take a look at the benefits, costs and ways to improve your website speed.

What is AMP?

When we talk about page speed, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) will be one of the first topics to come up. Google has been the largest endorser of AMP and offers web developers instructions and resources to help you create mobile pages that deliver content fast. It’s basically a stripped-down version of your webpage, removing unessential features that slow it down. AMP allows Google to pre-render and load webpages instantly. And, as you may have guessed, Google likes when you use AMP.

The Benefits of AMP

Reduces Your website load time

AMP accelerates the speed of your page. The faster your page loads, the faster it can be viewed by visitors. From a consumer standpoint, this is one of the most important elements of a site. Consumers don’t want to wait. A one-second delay can mean the difference between a conversion or a bounce. In fact, 40 percent of consumers will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load.

Three. Seconds.

That’s all you have to keep someone on your site before you lose them – and their business – to a faster page.

Boosts Your mobile ranking

Having a slow or a non-mobile-friendly site will cost you when it comes to search rankings. Slow sites are less likely to be featured on the first page of a search engine results page (SERP), especially on Google. In fact, Google is already using page speed as part of determining both mobile and desktop search ranking. And that matters since people are much less likely to visit beyond the first page of results for their search.

Google knows consumers want fast web experiences and it wants to protect its market share as much as possible. As Google enhances its services to make users happy, it gives preference to sites using these enhancements, like AMP technology. AMPs are given more prominent positions in Google news already and this trend is likely to continue.

The Downside of AMP Pages

Eliminates dynamic features

AMP ain’t fancy. That’s why these pages are so fast. AMP removes all of the dynamic features that slow down websites. And while it’s great to remove the clunk and clutter, it also means less functionality for you and your visitors. If you’re looking to embed a form on your webpage to generate leads, this will be problematic. AMP only accepts well-constructed HTML and doesn’t allow for external style sheets or Javascript. If you want to be sure you’re doing it right, you’ll need to validate AMP for Google Search and fix any errors  Opting for AMP’s simplicity will most definitely mean sacrificing design. While you may be able to increase your clicks and views, you may find it harder to generate leads and conversions.

It could impact Your Domain Authority

Using Google AMPs means creating a separate URL for those pages through Google’s domain. In basic terms, rather than viewing your webpage on your site through the original publisher, users are actually viewing those pages through Google. This is a big win for Google, but not so much for your website. Your brand will drive traffic away to your own website to these accelerated pages, causing you to essentially compete with your own brand and lowering your website’s domain authority (AKA a score that helps predict how well a website will rank on search engine results pages).

So, What Should I Do?

There’s no doubt faster websites have benefits. You want to do everything you can to increase page speed when you can, but also understand that not every page will be your fastest. That’s ok.

Instead, decide what you are trying to accomplish.

  • If conversions are your number one priority and you need some more dynamic features (like embedded forms or media), AMP is probably not the way to go.
  • If ranking and impressions are your top priority, AMP may be the best fit.

Other Ways to Enhance Page Speed

AMP isn’t all bad. It definitely has its place and purpose, but isn’t the only option for enhancing the speed of your website. Here are a few other ways to speed up your site:

  • Analyze your page speed. Google will actually test the speed of your website, determine what elements make it slow and suggests fixes.
  • Compress your images. Images and video are usually large file sizes and cause your whole site to be sluggish.
  • Avoid heavy formats. Things like Flash and Javascript will drag out your page load time.
  • Optimize your fonts. Even fonts can carry large file sizes to slow down your site. Select your web fonts wisely.
  • Reduce file sizes. If you have a ton of files that much be downloaded when your page loads, try reducing the number and size of these files.

Interested in learning more about the ins and outs of web development and digital marketing? At DiscoverTec, we are SEO and website savvy. We can help you navigate the digital world to enhance your business.

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Published on: April 10, 2018 by Donny Lamey