Google AMP is Coming – Are You Mobile-Ready?

Google AMP is Coming – Are You Mobile-Ready?

Advice on great mobile content as Google Amp aims to improve UX

By Elma Glasgow

In autumn 2015, Google announced it’s working to improve access to rich content across all mobile devices, regardless of content-type. The search giant wants to banish slow mobile loading speeds to the vaults of internet history, and instead use coding to enable content to appear in a blink of an eye on all devices, in any location.

By integrating Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) HTML, publishers' content and smart ads will load quicker, providing users with a much-improved experience. So far, LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest have signed up to roll it out.

Why do I mention this? Well, if the heavy weights of digital are putting serious resource into mobile, it's a sign that we all need to make our own content as mobile-friendly as possible. Otherwise, people could actually be put off using your site to find information and buy products or services.

A Kissmetrics infographic shows that 73% of mobile users say they've experienced a website that was too slow to load and more than half have come across a site that's crashed.

Developing mobile content is a challenge that needs to be tackled – and soon.

Mobile set to surpass PC

By 2019, mobile search is predicted to overtake PC-based search. Perhaps it’s not that surprising, considering so many people now own and rely on smartphones. As wearable devices become more popular, they’ll also provide yet another route to the internet. However, the mobile bounce rate is higher than PC-based usage – another reason to make sure mobile content is spot-on.

Mobile traffic is becoming increasingly significant for all businesses, especially for retailers, with ever more people buying via smartphones and tablets. In late 2014 / early 2015, 40% of the UK's online retail sales came from mobile, and 73% of shoppers said they’d shop more on mobile in 2015.

Mobile content
Mobile content:

Businesses need to give users a great experience on mobile devices, or risk losing them.

Some mobile-friendly advice

There’s no denying it: as time goes by, businesses need to make mobile content easier to access, as well as more engaging. But how exactly do you go about capturing people’s attention, when they're only fleetingly browsing websites? And once you’ve got them interested, how do you make them stick?

I've pulled together top tips that should help you create content that your users are likely to love...

1. Google guidelines

First off, remember you're not just writing for your audience. Other than your customers, Google's probably the biggest influence on your content strategy. Helpfully, Google Webmaster’s advice for creating general search-and-user-friendly content is also relevant to mobile content. Pointers include producing content that's of additional value to people – not just rehashes of articles already available elsewhere. Explore new angles that your competitors haven’t used. If you’re using research in your content, cite your sources or link to the original information, whilst checking the data is credible, relevant and up-to-date.

Keep in mind that your content should be created primarily to give visitors a good user experience, not to rank well in search engines.

Google Webmaster

2. Optimizing your site

Nearly 6 out of 10 brands are using both responsive and mobile-optimized websites to give users a good experience. It prevents people from scrolling around standard websites on their smaller screens trying to find content and menus. Overall, by making your site easy to navigate on mobile, you’re going to get more people staying. It's that simple.

Be mindful of image sizes, which can impact a user's experience on your mobile site. Where possible resize your images to make as small as possible while maintaining excellent quality. Header images are particularly important since they're in the most prominent position and can provide the first item people see when the page loads. Make it relevant, interesting and engaging (and beware of kitsch stock images!).

3. Writing winning headlines

Did you know that only 2 in 10 people actually read beyond the headline and delve deeper into the rest of the article? This illustrates perfectly why your headlines need to be relevant, punchy and appealing.

When someone tweets your article, the headline will appear before the link, so your words need to be immediately clickable and shareable. How’s that done? There are lots of headline tactics you can explore: the element of surprise, questions, stimulating readers’ curiosity and including ‘How to…’ in the title, are all ways of stirring people into action.

Also, for SEO, use keywords in the first part of the headline.

4. Love your layout

Nothing will put people off content quicker than long, characterless, text-heavy articles. For eons, traditional newspaper publishers have used techniques to hold people’s attention; photos, quotes and graphics all help to stop the reader turning the page. These kind of tactics are even more important on mobile content, since people spend even less time looking, and, if bored, they'll click away in an instant.

When it comes to written articles, break up the copy with bullet-point lists and subheadings too. It all helps to draw the eye to the content. If you’re a fantastic scribe, enlist specialists to create imagery, infographics and video to complement your own articles.

Your tap targets also need to be big enough and well-spaced for people to use on a small screen. Don't make them too fiddly or tricky to find, otherwise users won't move around your site.

5. Keep copy concise

To-the-point copy is essential when read on a small screen. People want to get to the nub of the story quickly, or if it's a longer piece, they want to feel involved in the journey. Whatever the length of the piece, bear in mind that trying to absorb long, complex language on smartphones can be hard work, so keep your copy simple. You're more likely get your message across quickly and don't worry about 'dumbing down' your work - intelligent people want easy-to-read copy too!

Keep up with the m-revolution

I would say that you need be ready for the mobile revolution, but it's already happened! You haven't missed out just yet. However, businesses need to catch the wave before it crashes, leaving you flummoxed as to how to attract back mobile users who've wandered elsewhere. There's still time – but ignore the signs of the rapidly developing mobile space at your peril.

To help with your site development, check out Google Developer's PageSpeed Tools, which runs analysis of your mobile site.

Feature image originally on Businessinsider.com.