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Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

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Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

This post was sponsored by Clickio. The opinions expressed in this article are the sponsor’s own.

In all corners of the industry, media outlets are saying goodbye to AMP, with many believing they can increase revenue without it.

Some bigger publishers, like Vox Media LLC and BDG, have moved away from AMP and are using dedicated resources to develop their own solutions.

Additionally, smaller sites are also looking to invest in different alternatives to AMP, such as leveraging tools like Prism.

But because each publisher’s and website’s needs are different, it’s worth asking if AMP is really as redundant as it seems.

How does an AMP alternative, such as in-house development or a tool like Prism, fare?

At Clickio, we work with many publishers still using AMP, as well as others who have moved away from it.

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Here, we share what website owners should consider when deciding whether to make the switch.

Consideration #1: Will An Alternative To AMP Boost Search Rankings?

Google has confirmed that AMP is not a ranking factor, as AMP links are no longer required to be featured in Google’s Top Stories.

Any fast webpage with a good user experience can be easily featured and ranked.

The speed of your website is the ranking factor here.

While AMP does easily give you a faster loading webpage, there are downsides, such as lower revenue from ad placement limitations, reduction of visible branding, and user-experience layouts that are not unique to your business.

Long story short, using Core Web Vitals (CWVs) to help you optimize your site, instead of AMP, will give you a better chance to increase ad revenue, maintain your brand awareness, and still rank highly on Google.

How Can I Boost Search Rankings Without AMP?

CWVs give you the ability to get a true assessment of the speed, interactivity, and visual stability of pages, making it easy to speed up your entire website, overall.

When making the consideration of switching from AMP to true website optimization, you’ll need to prioritize CWVs’ requirements:

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  • Performance: How quickly do items load on the screen?
  • Responsiveness: How fast does your page react to user input?
  • Visual stability: Do the items on your page jump around a lot while loading?
See also  Google Web Stories - The New AMP?

Clickio Prism, for example, is a cloud-based mobile template that has been designed with these metrics in mind.

Screenshots from Clickio Prism, June 2021Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

Your pages will always load quickly, no matter where your end-user is, because of Prism’s ability to speed up your mobile site by using a global content delivery network (CDN) and full-site caching.

Prism also uses lightweight page designs which strip out long JavaScript tasks and complicated CSS code.

Smart lazy loading of images and ads helps prevent unintended layout shifts that can ruin the user experience and affect a site’s CLS score.

92% of Prism sites are fully compliant with CWVs, compared to just 36% of all sites globally, according to figures from the Chrome User Experience Report.

Whether you choose to use an existing tool or build your own solution, it’s important to check what impact it’s having by setting up real-time monitoring of your CWVs.

Services such as Clickio Web Vitals Monitoring track the actual page experience of your visitors in real-time.

That means you can immediately see how changes to your site impact your scores.

This helps you investigate the source of any issues and take action quickly.

Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You DecideScreenshot from Clickio Web Vitals Monitoring, March 2022Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

Consideration #2: Will An Alternative To AMP Improve User Engagement?

AMP was designed to create sites that would display well and load quickly.

However, user experience is more than just a speedy website.

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Visitors who enter your site using an AMP page typically face a challenge when trying to navigate to other areas of your website, leading to high bounce rates.

Additionally, out of the box, there is little way to include ways to capture and convert your AMP audience.

To create a positive user experience and maintain a high search ranking, you should also consider integrating features that encourage interactivity and improve navigation, without reducing site speed.

With Website Speed Covered By CWVs, How Do I Improve User Engagement?

To improve user engagement, it’s important to implement features that your audience uses daily and trusts.

See also  Digital Marketing Statistics and Trends [in 2022]

Many users are now accustomed to the type of navigation seen in apps, such as being able to swipe across the screen to instantly move to the next article.

Prism includes this feature, along with infinite scroll – which continues to load more content as the reader moves down the page – and a related articles carousel showing similar stories.

These engagement features help keep your audience on your website for longer.

Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You DecideScreenshots from Clickio Prism, April 2022 and June 2021Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

All this makes it easier for users to view more of the content they’re interested in.

With Prism, it’s also easy to see the impact of this by running a free A/B test against your site’s standard mobile version.

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Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You DecideScreenshot from Clickio Platform, March 2022Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

On average, publishers running this type of test see that users spend 45% longer on the Prism site than on the standard mobile version.

Consideration #3: Will An Alternative To AMP Increase Revenue?

AMP tends to lack flexibility and often limits the monetization opportunities of publishers.

This is because you can only use the functionality that is implemented in AMP libraries.

Additionally, many rich-media and video vendors do not fully support AMP.

PreBid.js, the industry standard for header bidding, does not work in AMP – a huge disadvantage for monetization.

As a result, many sites continue to run their original page alongside AMP, which means additional work and more complicated analytics.

How Can I Reduce Workload & Increase Revenue?

When creating your own CWV-friendly layouts, you have the ability to remove duplicate AMP pages while giving your site access to more ad networks and improved bidding.

Prism offers publishers access to the full advertising ecosystem, including open and header bidding, as well as more flexibility in ad placements and layouts – helping to increase revenue.

Publishers can also use various non-standard ad formats, while a dynamic layout automatically adapts ad placements to the length of articles, device type, and connection speed.

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This partially explains why publishers see an average increase in revenue (as measured by session RPM) of 59% with Prism compared to their standard site.

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Whatever options they choose, Clickio publishers can easily track their revenue from different sources, and versions of their site, within the Clickio platform.

Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You DecideClickio Platform, March 2022Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide
Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You DecideClickio Platform, March 2022Should You Abandon AMP? 4 Considerations To Help You Decide

Consideration #4: Which Alternatives To AMP Are Easy To Set Up & Use?

The initial setup of any tech is a key question for publishers, and AMP is undoubtedly easy to integrate, without much technical knowledge.

AMP’s simplicity is a big reason some publishers continue to stick with it, especially if they lack the means to incorporate other solutions.

But alternative options, such as Prism, are also straightforward to use – from setup to maintenance.

Prism can be installed via a WordPress plugin or Clickio’s CDN, with free support and integration.

Since there is no extra development required, this can save a lot of stress and cost for smaller publishers.

Moreover, each publisher using Prism is assigned an account manager, to support them during the setup process and help them get the most out of using it.

With that in mind, the perceived headache of setting up and using a new product needn’t be a worry for those publishers seeking to move away from AMP.

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What’s Best For Your Site?

AMP continues to be a useful aid to ensure a great web experience for mobile users and, for many smaller publishers, remains a good option.

However, technology has moved on since AMP was first introduced.

Publishers who are frustrated with its limitations can now make use of tools such as Prism to maintain site speed and search rankings while also boosting opportunities for revenue growth.

As with many aspects of web development, testing is key.

See What A Difference An AMP Alternative Can Make

With Prism, we offer a free A/B test against your current mobile site, so you can see exactly what difference it makes.

Click here to request a free A/B test of Prism – or contact us if you’d like to discuss the best option for your site.


Image Credits

Featured Image: Image by Shutterstock. Used with permission.

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How Should You Optimize Your Content?

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How Should You Optimize Your Content?

People turn to Google for just about everything these days.

Whether it’s to buy something, learn about something in-depth, get a quick answer, or simply pass the time, Google is the primary stream of information for the vast majority of people living with an internet connection.

To be precise, Google makes up 92.19% of the search engine market share.

The constant quest of SEO professionals is to get their content matched up with the search queries it answers.

But how has this task changed over time?

While there can be books written on this subject, the general consensus is that search queries are becoming longer, more specific, and conversational.

In many cases, a portion of this shift can likely be attributed to the rise of voice search.

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A lot of what we are seeing is a growing importance on optimizing for questions and semantically related keywords.

So what exactly does this all mean?

And what are the best strategies when you’re down in the trenches of SEO?

Let’s discuss.

Questions & Semantic Search

Since the Google Hummingbird Update in 2013, Google has been on a steady path toward providing more personalized and useful search results.

You know when you enter a super vague query into Google and it somehow understands exactly what you’re getting at? Like when you are speaking to a close friend or family member?

This is semantic search.

A big aspect of Google’s semantic search capability is to pinpoint concepts and entities presented in question-based queries.

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When someone enters a question into Google – whether it be by text or voice – the semantic search capabilities work to understand the user’s intent with four key factors:

  • The user context.
  • Natural language processing (NLP).
  • Query stream context.
  • Entity identification.

What Types of Questions Does Google Answer?

Thanks to semantic search, Google has taken many steps toward a near-flawless ability to answer a plethora of questions. This is largely due to the developments in artificial intelligence, voice search, schema, NLP, etc.

Google generally answers three types of questions – as opposed to just providing links to the sites with the answers.

  • Direct answers
  • Short answers
  • Long answers

These answers are commonly placed in the Featured Snippet – also known as the “Google Answer Box” or “Position Zero.”

Let’s breakdown the specifics of each.

Direct Answer

Direct answer questions typically start with Who, What, Where, When, Best, Top, and sometimes Why.

These types of questions normally result in quick answers and are oftentimes linked to voice queries.

For example, if you enter a query like [When was Apple founded?], Google will use Hummingbird and semantic search to recognize the user intent to provide a direct answer. This answer would be April 1, 1976.

When was Apple Founded

Based on what Google’s algorithms decide is the most reliable source of information, the search engine will pull the answer from the content and display it in the Featured Snippet.

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Short Answer

Short answer questions generally start with words like Why and Can. But, given the context, they can also apply to What, Where, Who, etc.

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These types of questions can generally be answered in a paragraph, of which is shown on the Featured Snippet.

Let’s ask Google [Why does the sun follow a circular path?]

Why does the sun follow a circular path?

Again, Google’s algorithms will decide which content has the most credible answer here (based on numerous factors), and provide the answer in the Featured Snippet accordingly.

Let’s do another one.

Here’s a query for “Can fish feel pain?”

Can fish feel pain?

As you can see, Google has provided a 4-5-line answer – drawing from the content it sees as the most credible.

Long Answer

The long answer queries typically get more into the weeds of procedures and processes.

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Most commonly, these long answers are matched up with How and Why queries.

Google only has so much space to work with in the Featured Snippet; it can’t list out an entire procedure from A to Z. Instead, it has to abbreviate with an outline.

For example, let’s search for [How to build a treehouse].

How to build a treehouse?

The intent of this question is to get a better understanding of what all factors into the process of building a treehouse. The intent is more or less surface level.

As a result, Google’s algorithms serve up the step-by-step process involved in this project. To get more in-depth, the user needs to click on the link.

Other common examples of long answer snippets relate to how-to guides, recipes, workout routines, etc.

Which Types of Answers Do You Provide?

Everyone wants to get their content proudly placed in the Featured Snippet (or somewhere prominent on Page 1).

Given how much real estate this answer box takes up on Google searches, the potential benefits of taking the spotlight here are huge!

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In order to get placed in the Google Answer Box, you first need to have a strong idea of which type of answer your particular piece of content provides, and which keywords attribute to it.

For instance, this online tire store recently published an article around the keyword “best tire brands” – optimized for the question, “what are the best tire brands?”

Best tire brands

If we look at the Featured Snippet for this query, we see a list of tire brands outlined in the content under H2 tags.

In addition to drawing traffic, the content provides avenues for the user to actually purchase the products.

With each piece of content you create, you should be asking, “what types of questions does this content answer?”

This should be an integral part of how you formulate the outline, as well as how it will funnel into the bigger picture (like generating conversions).

How to Pinpoint Trending Questions & Keywords

In the process of figuring out which type of answer(s) is ideal for your content, you need to identify the trending questions being asked and the search volumes behind them.

One tool you could use is the Ahrefs Questions feature in the keyword explorer.

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By entering in your focus keyword, you can get a big list of related questions to be factored into how you create the content.

In this hypothetical scenario, let’s say you are creating a piece of content for a CRM software.

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Let’s look at the questions related to the keyword “CRM Software.”

CRM Software

Given what we found here, there are all kinds of questions to frame a piece of content around.

Now, a long, comprehensive piece of content could potentially work to answer all three major question types. However, for our purposes, we are going to focus on one.

Let’s say we want to create a piece of content that answers the short answer question [What does CRM software do].

What does CRM software do?

Now that we have the question, let’s look into the keywords that funnel into this answer.

What does CRM software do?

Think about it from a user’s standpoint who is at the beginning of the buyer’s journey.

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If someone wants to simply learn more about CRM software and what it does, what informational keywords and phrases would factor into the search?

Based on the keyword research above, this would likely involve terms and phrases like:

  • What is CRM
  • Customer relationship management
  • CRM meaning
  • CRM definition
  • CRM examples
  • Customer relationship
  • Relationship management

These are just a handful of the informational keywords and phrases that would ideally work to answer the overarching question.

Now, if there is transactional intent within this content, you are wise to include the following terms/phrases:

  • Best CRM
  • Best CRM tools
  • Best CRM for small business
  • CRM solutions
  • CRM pricing

When it comes to optimizing for questions and keywords, you need to have an idea of the users’ knowledge prior to looking at the content, what answers they want, and what they should do after consuming the content.

Ultimately, this forms the basis for how you conduct SEO research.

Ranking for Direct Answer Questions

Getting ranked for direct answer questions can be tough.

As with most SEO tactics, there are no laws, just theories.

Based on what we’ve found, getting ranked highly for direct answer questions involves the following common threads:

Get to the Point

Answer the question as early as possible within the content. If you can, try to do this in the first paragraph.

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List the Question Right out of the Gate

This helps Google tag your content appropriately.

Elaborate

After you answer the question bluntly, elaborate on it in the subsequent paragraphs. This helps to show Google that you are answering the question comprehensively.

Go the Extra Mile

This would commonly involve answering typical follow-up questions.

For instance, if you answered the question, “What is a lunar eclipse?” you could also include answers to questions like, “How often do lunar eclipses happen?” or “What is the difference between a lunar eclipse and a solar eclipse?”

You want to show Google that you know the answer in as much detail as possible so you are seen as an expert source of information.

Ranking for Short Answer Questions

Getting ranked for short answer questions has a lot of similarities to the process of getting ranked for direct answer questions.

Much of what we’ve observed comes down to the formatting of the content.

Here are a couple of the biggest patterns we’ve noticed:

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Make the Language Super Easy to Read

Don’t produce a wall of text; break it up into paragraphs no more than 3-4 lines long. Also, try not to use an extensive amount of business jargon.

See also  Removing AMP, Don't Worry About Redirecting Google AMP Cache URL

Keep in mind, a lot of short answer questions are from people at the beginning of the customer journey – they are simply looking for more information, not to be overwhelmed.

Integrate Questions into Your Header Tags

This should ideally look like a Q&A format.

For instance, the question, “What does a CRM software do?” could be an H2 tag near the beginning of the post which the subsequent content would then answer.

Ranking for Long Answer Questions

Ranking for long answer questions normally requires quite a few factors based on the depth of the content.

On a side note: If a topic could be better answered with a more visual piece of content, Google will probably serve a video. For example, if you search Google for [How to wash pillows] you are going to be met with a video.

How to wash pillows?

So, if you answer these types of long answer questions, you are smart to focus on a video strategy.

Back to getting ranked highly on long answer queries, we have found several patterns in how content ranks.

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Keep the Main Title Focused on the Question

You want your content to appear to be the most relevant to Google.

If you are working to answer the question of “how to create a content plan,” your content should (in some capacity) reflect this in the title.

How to create a content plan?

Provide a Step-By-Step Format

Headings in content created for these types of queries often times have certain steps outlined.

Here’s what comes up for the question, [how to do SEO audit].

How to do SEO audit?

If you look at the content written by Ahrefs, you’ll notice the header tags in the piece correspond directly with the steps listed in the Featured Snippet.

Use Images

Images make your content more user-friendly and engaging – two things that Google loves!

We’ve found that the best-performing content uses imagery to supplement the points being made and provide a more complete answer.

Link out to Reputable Sites

Google wants to reward sites that provide the most credible information, based on the search query.

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What makes credible information?

Credible sources.

For example, if you are writing a post on “how to buy a used car,” linking out to reputable auto websites like Consumer Reports, Edmonds, Cars.com, etc. would (ideally) add credibility to your piece.

Wrapping Up

It’s important to note that every situation is a little bit different and the process of optimizing content is not always apples-to-apples.

However, it’s clear that the SEO landscape has been shifting towards long-tail keywords and questions for some time now.

If you want to get your content ranked well (and stand a chance at getting placed in the featured snippet), you need to factor these into your content strategy.

Hopefully, this post has given you a good idea of where to start.

More Resources:

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Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, August 2019
In-Post Image: SEMrush

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