Mobile Traffic

Are You Amped about AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages for Lawyers

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, have recently been gaining a lot of attention, even though they were first announced in 2015 and were implemented in 2016. We’ve been receiving lots of questions about the value of AMP, especially when it comes to the search results. So far, we have been able to identify some positive features and a few drawbacks to these pages.

For those of you are interested in, here’s what we’ve gathered so far.

What is AMP?

AMP is an open source project that is a subset of HTML, the markup language and specifications for making websites. AMP has restrictions on the type of HTML tags website creators use that allow a mobile web page to load faster. It also includes a proprietary version of JavaScript, which also puts limits on functionality in favor of speed. It was initially engineered by Google, and therefore is obviously of import to SEOs. This is a continuation of Google’s push for more mobile-friendly web design.

The standard was first announced in 2015, began appearing in mobile search results last February, and was rolled out onto Google’s global mobile search results last September. Because AMP is a mobile standard, it only appears on smartphones, tablets, and other smaller-scale devices. It has no bearing on search results on PCs and laptops.

Benefits of AMP

The goal of AMP is to provide speed to mobile webpages, and that’s where it shines. Page speed is a very minor factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it’s incredibly important to mobile web users. As more people are searching via mobile platforms, the value of page speed becomes clear. If a webpage takes more than a few moments to load, many people simply hit their back button and go to the next one, which may load faster.

AMP pages have been receiving favorable treatment on search results pages, and even get a nifty lightning bolt icon next to their listings that indicates their AMP status, as shown below.
Accelerated Mobile Pages

As a result of their zippy load times, which are essentially instantaneous, visitors may be less likely to bounce off of AMP pages, which can have an indirect effect on rankings as well.

Drawbacks of AMP

For all of these benefits, it’s hard to imagine why we may be hesitant to add AMP to sites.

Many of our clients have some form of live chat on their sites. Because AMP pages are using a barebones version of HTML that severely restricts the types of elements that can be included in favor of reduced page load times, the JavaScript that chat systems (like Ngage Live Chat for attorneys) is built in won’t work in some cases. This can have a very real impact on lead-capture systems that may outweigh the load speed improvements AMP may provide.

AMP pages are also stored on Google’s servers rather than your site. Any AMP page that appears in a search result is essentially a copy of that page that exists on Google’s servers rather than your web host’s. While this isn’t a problem per se, it does transfer a lot of control to Google, since it makes your visitors Google’s visitors. This also has the added problem of making it difficult to share AMP links, because the URLs for the links are obscured.

Final Thoughts

AMP can be a great option if your website delivers only text and images, or if you want to keep things relatively simple. With that in mind, sites like that would load quickly anyway, though the boost AMP’s framework provides is welcome. A simple plugin for those using WordPress sites (like we do) makes creating AMP pages even simpler. The issue is that if you want to create a rich experience on your site, AMP’s restrictions and limitations can make delivering that kind of content impossible.

To discuss whether including AMP on your site would be worthwhile, contact The Search Engine Guys at (512) 806-7955.


Mobile Friendly Search Results are Coming

mobile friendly websites for lawyers

Here are the two main reasons you should make sure your website is mobile friendly:

  1. Mobile traffic – Give your potential clients who come to your website a better experience.  We’ve been following mobile traffic in Google analytics for the past 5 years, in that period of time we have seen mobile traffic jump from a range of 1% to 5% (depending on the market) to 20%-35%, with some clients seeing mobile traffic in above 45%.
  2. Google has announced that they will start to value mobile friendly websites in their rankings. For the past few years, people have speculated whether Google would move in this direction based on various indicators and signs; but up until this past Feb it was only speculation. Click here to read the announcement, where Google explicitly states that they “will be expanding their use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal”.

To test if Google considers your website to be “mobile friendly” click here.

Keep in mind that if you have a great website and don’t want to go through the process of re-designing it from scratch, we are able to convert your website into a responsive theme. Depending on your design, some or many elements may need to change… but we can often maintain the overall look and feel of your design.

If you would like to explore a new responsive website, or converting your existing website to a responsive theme – call us at 800.267.1704 and one of our account managers will help you determine your options.


Increases in Mobile Traffic: A Look at the Past 3 Years

Last week, I read an article from a marketer who pointed to a 243% increase in mobile traffic among his clients over the past 2 years. I was a bit shocked by the number… it seemed high. And while traffic can differ industry to industry, and even client to client, for a number of reasons, it prompted me to take a look at analytics among our clients to see what increase, if any, they had experienced. (Note: “Mobile” refers to use on both tablets and mobile phones).

I looked at three client campaigns, each with strong natural first page placements in their respective markets. As a sample, I took numbers from January, April, July, and October to give nice quarterly snapshots over the past 36 months.

While the data does not support a 243% gain in mobile traffic over the past 2 – 3 years, it nevertheless reveals that mobile traffic has, indeed, spiked.

Mobile traffic to our clients’ legal websites ranged between 3%-8% in January 2011. This increased to 25%-30% by January 2014.

legal mobile traffic

So what does this trend mean for your website? First off,  you should be asking yourself the following questions:

  1. Is your website “mobile friendly”?
  2. If not, should you build a responsive website, or just a mobile version of your website?
  3. What does increased mobile traffic mean for your SEO / PPC strategy?

If you’d like to explore any of these questions in more depth, or see some examples of websites we’ve built for our clients, give us a call today at (512) 806-7955.

graham smithFebruary 10th, 2014 – Posted by Graham Smith to Mobile Traffic.

To contact the author, emails can be sent to: gsmith@thesearchengineguys.com

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