First, you probably noticed Google’s elimination of right-rail paid ads in search results.
But wait, there’s more: With the right rail gone, paid results will now take up the top FOUR spots on the page. If you haven’t consciously looked in a while, check it out—it most certainly looks and feels different than before. And it emphasizes the need to be fast, relevant and current when it comes to SEO.
The other big change is a little more under-the-hood: The launch of AMP.
What’s AMP? Last October, Google announced an initiative called the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, or AMP. Its goal: Dramatically improve the performance of the mobile web.
Not surprisingly, in keeping with Google’s own desire to make mobile experiences faster and better, AMP-coded pages will receive better search rankings. After all, according to Kissmetrics, 40% of web users will abandon a page if it takes longer than three seconds to load—a waiting time that seems almost unbearable on a mobile device. And for the icing on the cake (and another ranking boost), a secure connection (HTTPS) is mandatory. So AMP-based pages could prove to be a significant advantage.
Of course, AMP code won’t just happen on its own. In the coming months, we’ll monitor advances in WordPress plug-ins and other software that can generate this code on the fly and suggest ways it might work for your site, improve your rankings and create a better experience for your customers.
If nothing else, these changes illustrate the simple truth that the web is never static. If it’s time for a check-up or review of your site, let us know.