How users interact with websites and navigate search engine results are becoming larger factors in SEO and website rankings. Search engines and social media networks want to provide the best answer, as quickly as possible, to users’ search queries.
If users try to obtain information from a website and experience a slow page load time, or the site is not optimized for a mobile device, they will likely bounce off the site and go back to the search engine or social media network to find another resource for their information (potentially to a competitor’s site!). Not only are slow load times bad for business, they are bad for SEO. This bounce is an indicator to search engines like Google that a website is not a good answer for the users’ search because they immediately left the site to try to obtain their answer elsewhere. As a result, this bounce will have a negative impact on where the slow-loading or non-mobile friendly website will appear in search engine results pages (SERPs).
It’s important to have a relevant title tag and meta description so users have a sneak preview into what they could learn from a web page. Once a website has earned the click, it needs to fulfill the users’ expectations by delivering information with speed and readability in mind.
As an industry, we’ve made huge strides in mobile friendliness with responsive web design and Google’s “mobile-friendly” algorithm, resulting with a label that appears in search results. Logically, the industry is now focusing on improving speed, particularly with the sharp rise in mobile device usage.
The creative minds at Google and Twitter teamed up on the speed initiative, which resulted in Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP pages). AMP pages were first announced in October 2015. Web developers and publishers have been testing the waters to see if there’s a benefit to these faster, stripped-down AMP pages. There are new code validating tools, plugins, and centralized resources for web developers and publishers as this open source initiative continues to improve and evolve, all centered by the purpose of an improved experience for users.
Google is so committed to providing users with the quickest, most efficient way to access information and digest news, they recently decided the Google News Carousel would only feature news stories provided as Accelerated Mobile Pages.
If your website publishes news stories and relies on traffic from Google News, be sure to work with your webmaster and SEO agency to ensure your news stories are available as AMPs.