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23.1% higher click-through rates: Google’s AMP increases organic traffic for publishers, study shows

A comprehensive, large-scale study on the impact of accelerated mobile pages (AMP) on search performance—the first of its kind—shows a direct positive correlation between AMP and organic traffic.

The study evaluated the impact of AMP on 9 million AMP pages across 26 web domains—ranging from publishers and enterprise businesses to e-commerce—and the results were determined by comparing site data 30 days before AMP implementation and 30 days after.

The research was conducted by Boston-based SEM consultants Stone Temple, in collaboration with WompMobile, a software platform that focuses on the development of fast mobile experiences.

While earlier studies—including Forrester’s economic-impact study and a recent study on mobile site speed by SearchMetrics—have shown how greater page-load speed increases ranking, traffic and engagement, there hasn’t been large-scale research to date that evaluates the impact of AMP across millions of pages, across industries and across multiple domains.

Results show that 3 out of 4 (77%) websites experienced organic search gains on mobile on the implementation of AMP. Other areas of improvement include an increase in search impressions and higher click-through rates.

Here’s a summary of the results across all sites:

  • 27.1% increase in organic traffic
  • 33.8% increase in SERP impressions
  • 15.3% higher SERP click-through rates

The analysis also separated out the results for publisher sites vs. e-commerce sites. Publishers had the best performance on CTRs (click-through rates), almost double that of eComm sites.

Here’s the aggregated results for publisher sites in the study:

  • 13.7% increase in organic traffic
  • 11.1% increase in SERP impressions
  • 23.1% higher SERP click-through rates

“Google uses a variety of user-engagement factors as a ranking signal. As we have seen consistently in the data in our other study, AMP pages see lower bounce rates, longer times on site, and more page views per session. While these may also not be direct ranking factors, they are strong indicators of improving user engagement,” says Eric Enge, founder of Stone Temple, and US Search Awards’ Search Personality of the Year.

Whatever factors that Google may be using, those metrics may improve on sites that have become much faster, and hence drive some level of rankings gains. Correspondingly, that would drive some of the lift in organic search traffic.

Eric Enge, co-author of The Art of SEO, with Rand Fishkin et. al.

The study also cautions that AMP implementation does not automatically guarantee organic traffic gains. For example, while AMP can provide strong benefits – it can’t turn around a site that’s on a strong downward trajectory. Seasonality and market conditions also make a difference. Also, when competing sites make changes around the same time, it can lead to any potential gains from an AMP implementation being offset.

But barring such exceptions, the study clearly indicates a positive correlation between AMP and organic traffic.

“We’ve confirmed the impact of AMP at large scale, proving the bottom-line benefits of faster page loads,” says Madison Miner, CEO of WompMobile. “For brands competing for consumer mindshare, AMP provides a competitive edge by guaranteeing performance, resulting in 27% more traffic and better engagement.”

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