How Google’s AMP Project is Affecting Your Business Online

Needless to say, most of our online business comes from Google’s organic search results (SEO). With the ubiquity of online browsing on mobile devices, Google now wants to achieve a consistent standard to apply to web pages when delivering content to any mobile device and tablet, ensuring that pages load elegantly and instantaneously.

How did they achieve it?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source framework launched by Google in February 2016. This framework changes how Google evaluates our SEO rankings by placing a higher priority on mobile performance. While there has been a huge focus on adapting websites for the limitations on mobile (high data costs, slow loading times, and poor content rendering), mobile browsers have, until AMP, lacked the benefits of a dedicated framework.

In order to reach this goal, Google has developed a new web page format – which is basically a simplified version of HTML  dedicated for mobile devices. By allowing the most performant design patterns and imposing restrictions on resource-heavy Javascript, AMP pages are dramatically faster than the average HTML page found on the web today.

With their determination to further improve loading speeds, Google uses server-side rendering of AMP elements to cache page contents on Google servers. This will allow the content in pages to reach the browser as quickly as possible. This strategy appears to be coming into fashion, as there are currently over two billion AMP pages online, on over 900,0000 domains internationally.

If you think that AMP only focuses solely on smaller devices, you are wrong. AMP will load in any modern desktop browser as the project’s own website is coded solely in AMP. This is a leap forward for mobile optimisation and theme responsiveness, as there is now a provision for mobile experiences that uses a discrete code, removing content that is redundant on small screens.

AMP and E-Commerce

Since we’ve established that websites that implement AMP have an SEO advantage on Google’s organic SEO, you might be wondering— how else can your eCommerce store benefit from AMP?

The biggest advantage that AMP shares with both media channels and eCommerce is speed, since faster loading sites will simply gain better opportunities to generate sales.

In this context, you could dramatically lower your online store’s loading speed for mobile by adopting a streamlined framework, your competitors could be reaping huge rewards over your clients. Imagine if your online store is making $100,000 per day: a one second page delay could potentially cost you $2.5m in lost sales every year (Kissmetrics).

Moreover, it is also possible to create AMP versions of Shopify pages through the API. Some of the apps in the Shopify App Store have also successfully leveraged this technology to provide a conversion service for clients.

AMPing up for the future

Henceforth, it is likely that AMP will see growth worldwide, given that Google has announced during a recent developer conference (AMP Conf) , that AMP will be applied over the search engines of Baidu, Sogou, and Yahoo Japan.

The open-source framework continues to build its impetus, and more plans for improvements are on the way, including third-party log-in and support for eCommerce analytics.

If you are worried about lacking behind the competition, or would like to know more about this issue, Web Design Market can certainly help with your digital marketing strategies; we have proven results from a large variety of clients. Contact us today for a free quote!

6 Top SEO Mistakes to Avoid

Look out for these common SEO mistakes you might be making. If you’re looking to revise your digital marketing strategy, little improvements can go a long way to drive higher traffic to your site and increase ROI.

  1. Incomplete On-Page SEO

Often, there are many small things websites can do to fine-tune on-page elements, which from the perspective of Google, build up your site quality in tangible ways.

This includes quality web copy, which features relevant information and keywords, presented in a way that is easy to read and scan. Perhaps more overlooked elements include page titles, meta descriptions, and image tags.

  1. Ignoring UX

Your website functions as shop front and shopkeeper – not only do first impressions matter, how it interacts with customers after that will help or hurt the journey towards conversion. Prioritizing User Experience will aid with both conversions and SEO; a website that is fast-loading and easy to navigate is a basic foundation for a user to want to spend time reading, browsing, clicking around, shopping.

Though it’s still largely a mystery how Google measures bounce rate, it’s acknowledged that how long a user spends on a website and how much they engage with the content will affect its quality rating, and eventually, its ranking.

  1. Ignoring Mobile Responsiveness

As we’ve covered before, the future of retail lies in mobile-ready online shopping experiences. Google has also started experimenting with mobile-first indexing, which will prioritize websites with mobile versions when it comes to rankings. If you haven’t haven’t already, start placing more focus on optimizing your website content for mobile platforms, or risk being left behind in the dust. Ensure that your navigation, text and image content are presented the way you intend them to across mobile and desktop platforms — by making your website responsive or dynamic.

  1. Not Using the Right Keywords

A good rule of thumb to live by for SEO — for small businesses — is the more specific, the better. Driving traffic to your website isn’t the be-all, end-all of SEO; higher traffic does not necessarily result in conversions.

It can be easy to fall into the habit of optimizing for broad, generic keywords. While this option has its place if you have a certain purpose for doing so, optimizing by using lower-traffic phrases that are specific and also lower in competition (‘long-tail keywords’) can often lead to higher conversions.

Avoid stuffing keywords into your content — not only does this make you articles sound unnatural, Google also has algorithms that will look out for content that might sound like spam.

  1. Not Optimizing for Local Search

While it seems basic, an often-overlooked part of SEO is using region-specific keywords. If you’re offering goods or services in a specific city or region, avoid global keywords. How Google takes into account local search is a bit muddled and complex, but for small businesses offering a good or service, using local rather global keywords is a best practice for driving both traffic and conversions.

As always, include those keywords in page titles and meta descriptions. It will also be helpful to list your business on local business listings, as well as search engines related to businesses, e.g. Google Places and Bing — these will link back to your website and aid in search rankings.

  1. Not Using Analytics to See What Converts

Analytics is not only important for measuring results as you go along in your SEO strategy – it’s also important as a starting point to assess where you’re doing well and where you have opportunities to improve. Using tools such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster can allow you to set objectives, monitor objective results, and figure out which areas are worth it to focus your efforts on.

Interested in driving more traffic to your website and getting more conversions via SEO? Contact us or fill out a form to enquire about our SEO packages or for a thorough website audit.

WordPress SEO: 4 Tips for Image Optimization

With the crazy amount of information online competing for users’ attention, Wordpress SEO plugins such as Yoast allow you to take actionable steps to ensure that your quality content gets to be seen by the right audience, leading to higher conversions.

A staggering 27% of all websites on the Internet use WordPress. Being easily customisable, it’s definitely a worthwhile CMS to use for small-to-medium businesses looking to level the playing field by establishing an online presence.

most popular CMS on the Internet - wordpress SEO article

As WordPress and SEO experts, we’ve found that one thing that’s often overlooked by content creators is the optimization of images, whether for your blog or your landing pages. This can help with Google rankings and backlinks. Users can be redirected to your site via Google Images, and Google reads your page to be of high quality.

So we’ve made it easy for you — we’ve broken down four simple considerations for how you can prep your images to make the best use of Wordpress SEO (though this is applicable to other types of CMS).

1. Find the right image. 

This should be obvious, but placing an image into your blog or landing page should not be for purely SEO purposes. Whether you’re using your own images or stock photos, they still need to fit in with your overall branding and message.

2. Do your keyword research.

Align your keyword-optimized text content with the optimization of your images. Include keywords in:

  • The file name of the image you’re uploading.
  • The alt and title text: The title text appears when you hover over the image, while the alt text is used when the image doesn’t load, or on browsers made for the blind or visually impaired to describe the image.
  • Captions, if you decide to include them.

wordpress SEO screenshot

When naming or describing images, remember to use hyphens instead of underscores, as Google would read, for example, ‘file_name’ as ‘filename’, and ‘file-name’ as ‘file name’ — this can affect your SEO.

3. Consider the whole of your content. 

Now that you’ve got some eyes on your page, make sure that they don’t take a glimpse of what you have and decide not to stay! Bounce rate matters to your Google rankings.

  • Include captions. Although this might not apply across the board for all types of content, where relevant, include captions when they can enhance the quality of your existing content. Readers might jump straight to an image when it catches their eye, and the caption would be a good starting point
  • Preview your drafted posts and try to evaluate them from the viewpoint from one of your readers.
  • Are the images in your header? In a slide? Between text? Consider, for example, the alignment of your image and where you’re embedding your image within the text. Does it fit, or is it interrupting the flow of the page?

4. Adjust your image file size.

Your file size is also taken into account by Google, as it affects your website speed. This then affects the quality rating of your website. Most basic image editing tools have the function to adjust your file size, for example Canva.

Main Takeaway

Pair these four tips with your existing WordPress SEO and content strategy. Images can play a role in generating leads, too!