Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a promising new technology that loads your web pages in lightning-fast time for visitors on a smartphone, tablet, or phablet.

More importantly: Google absolutely loves AMP.

That means if you want to rank well for mobile users, you'd better adopt AMP technology. Otherwise, your competitors are likely to top you in the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Here's how to get started with AMP if you're not already familiar with it.

A Brief Background

AMP is an open-source project that any web developer can use to create a rich experience for mobile users.

Basically, it's an enhancement to the web's primary display language, HTML. Developers just add one simple JavaScript library and a few new tags in their existing web pages to fully implement AMP.

If you're an entrepreneur who isn't at all familiar with prevailing web technologies, don't worry. It's likely that you can still add AMP to your site without hiring an expensive development team. More on this in a bit.

In the beginning, AMP started off as a technology designed primarily for "news" sites. If you go to your mobile device right now and Google any search term related to current events (the name of one of the presidential candidates, for example), you'll see AMP results at the very top of the SERPs in carousel format.

Although AMP still supports news articles, it's expanding to support other types of content. E-commerce sites and other non-news pages are working their way into the AMP scene.

Advantages of AMP

There are several advantages to AMP, some of which have already been highlighted.

For starters, your pages will load faster for mobile users. As you probably know, Google takes page load times very seriously.

If you have an interest in seeing your site rank at the top of the SERPs for a particular keyword, you'll need to ensure that your pages load quickly. That's why AMP is so valuable to people who take search engine optimization (SEO) seriously.

Aside from loading fast and ranking better, AMP will also reduce your bounce rate. When your site loads faster for mobile users, they're more likely to stick around.

Also, AMP is a common technical platform. That means it's not proprietary to any particular high-tech brand or bound to specific programming language. AMP plays nicely with all the modern web technologies, including PHP, HTML, XML, JavaScript, and CSS.

Keep in mind, though, there are certain restrictions associated with AMP. For example, you won't be able to AMPlify your lead capture forms because AMP doesn't support form fields. Also, although AMP runs alongside JavaScript, it doesn't support third-party code (that's any JavaScript code loaded from someone else's domain).

AMP is also an open-source project. Savvy software developers from all over the world can add new features to it - even if they had nothing to do with developing AMP in the first place.

Finally, AMP helps you monetize your site. That's because people often install ad blockers so that website pages load faster. With AMP, pages will load fast without the ad blockers.

In fact, AMP was developed specifically to make it easier for website owners to generate revenue with ads. The project itself offers this statement about monetization: "A goal of the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is to ensure effective ad monetization on the mobile web while embracing a user-centric approach. With that context, the objective is to provide support for a comprehensive range of ad formats, ad networks and technologies in Accelerated Mobile Pages."

Adding AMP to Your Site

Are you using WordPress? If so, then adding AMP to your site is as easy as installing a plugin.

One of the most popular plugins is offered by Automattic. That's the same company that manages WordPress itself, so it's a good first option if you're looking to implement AMP technology.

Best of all: the plugin is free.

As of this writing, the AMP plugin has been installed more than 80,000 times and has a 3.8/5 rating on the WordPress plugin site.

Once you've installed and activated the plugin on your own site, you can see your new AMP-ready pages by adding "/amp/" to the end of one of your permalinks. For example, if you have a blog post that people access at "http://xyz.com/my-blog-post", then you would see the AMP version by pointing your browser to "http://xyz.com/my-blog-post/amp/".

Keep in mind that WordPress isn't the only content management system (CMS) that supports AMP plugins. Both Drupal and Magento offer plugins as well.

Once you think your site is AMPed up, you'll want to validate that with Google. Fortunately, the Search Console is here to help.

Just click the link above or fire up the Search Console as you normally would. On the left-hand sidebar of the main screen, click on "Search Appearance." A number of menu items will appear below, including one that reads "Accelerated Mobile Pages."

Click on that and you'll see a report about the AMP pages on your site. If you see a message that reads "We did not find any Accelerated Mobile Pages in your site" or you see errors about specific URLs, then you've still got some work to do.

Also: Google will display your site's AMP errors directly in the SERPs. No kidding.

If you have a website that doesn't use any kind of CMS and you still want AMP support, then you're going to have to get your hands dirty with some coding. Either that or you'll need to outsource the job to a professional developer.

Get Started Now

It's the Mobile Era of the Information Age. That means you should do everything you can to ensure that your site is mobile-friendly. One way to do that is with the use of AMP technology. If you would like to learn more about AMP, you can watch a video covering everything you need to know on YouTube or simply visit the website for the AMP project at https://www.ampproject.org/.

Published on: Sep 1, 2016