Setting up and testing AMP for WordPress: A quick 7-step guide

In today’s mobile-centric world, having pages that load quickly is essential for satisfying the user. Not only that, but the effects of slow page speed have been correlated to a decease in overall revenue and an increase in page abandonment.
Users have come to expect mobile sites to load just as quickly as their desktop counterparts. In fact, Amazon, one of the largest online retailers, concluded that even a one-second lag in page load speed accounted for a $1.6B decrease in annual revenue.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) are quickly becoming the standard for how a fast-loading page should be built. Using a pre-render, AMPs are able to load 15-80 percent faster than standard mobile pages without compromising functionality. While the ease of AMP implementation will vary depending on your CMS (content management system), WordPress can be a good test environment for previewing what your AMP page might look like.
Follow this quick seven-step guide to enable AMP for WordPress.
Note: Parts of this guide assume that you have activated the Yoast

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Google’s mobile-first index likely not coming until 2018 at earliest

Google is “probably many quarters away” from launching its mobile-first index. So said Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trends analyst, during a crowded session Tuesday afternoon at our SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.
“It’s going to be a big change, but don’t freak out,” Illyes said.
SEOs and webmasters have been wondering and waiting for a couple years now for news on when the mobile-first index will roll out. Illyes wasn’t able to give an exact answer to that question today.
“We don’t have a timeline for the launch yet,” Illyes said. “We have some ideas for when this will launch, but it’s probably many quarters away. Our engineers’ timeline was initially end of 2017. Right now, we think more 2018. ”
He also emphasized that Google wants to roll out the mobile-first index in a way that doesn’t hurt non-mobile friendly sites, and that could make a complete launch take even longer.
“We’re thinking about how we can make sure

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Business profile and review best practices from TripAdvisor and Yelp

TripAdvisor and Yelp are two of the most powerful local search and review sites online. According to consumer survey data from Burke, review sites drive more immediate actions (i.e., phone call, store visit, website visit, email) than social media or search.
This consumer behavior is because of review site content and because they’re often consulted lower in the funnel. That’s why it’s important for local marketers to take full advantage of these sites — for multiple reasons, including SEO purposes.
TripAdvisor just released a diner engagement study. Yelp also has data on what drives engagement and conversions on its site. Below I’ve distilled findings from the two sources.
Claim and complete profiles
TripAdvisor found that “Restaurants with hours of operation on their TripAdvisor listing see 36 percent more engagement than those without them.” And Yelp says that “Businesses who complete their profiles see, on average, 5x the customer leads each month.”
Add at least 10 photos
TripAdivsor explained that “restaurants with 11 – 20 photos see double the amount of

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Simple tips to get your app indexed, ranked & installed

Do you have an app that you’d like to rank in mobile search engine results? If so, you’re going to need to make room in your SEO strategy for app optimization.
For apps, there are distinct ranking factors. Although they are similar to ranking factors for a standard web page, there are differences that you need to know about.
Here’s how you can optimize your app to get the best possible rank.
Yes, you need to optimize
According to a recent Google report, 27 percent of users find apps through a search engine. That’s up from 2 percent to 3 percent in 2014.
That trend will likely continue. Why? Because Google is emphasizing app downloads from search results while brushing aside Google Play as a search engine. Google has also become better at ranking apps, a trend we can expect to continue.
Even though 40 percent of people still find apps by searching in an app store as of now, it’s still a great idea to plan for the future

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Apple expanding successful Search Ads to three new English-speaking markets

Apple launched app-store Search Ads in October 2016. Since that time they’ve received praise from developers as a high-converting, high-value app discovery tool.
Today the company is announcing that Search Ads will become available in the UK, Australia and NZ. The booking UI opens today and ad serving begins on April 25. Developers running campaigns in the US will be able to clone their ads for the new markets.
AppsFlyer issued the following assessment about Search Ads’ performance in a report issued earlier this year:
[Apple had] the best retention in iOS North America, while proving their ability to scale with the third highest number of installs of non-gaming apps. With the strongest debut index performance we have seen to date, Apple came in #3 in the Power Ranking in question.
Beyond strong retention metrics, Apple said that, on average, its Search Ads are seeing conversion rates of greater than 50 percent, meaning that half the time a user clicks an

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Do you know what a mobile crawl of your site looks like?

If you follow the world of Google and search at all, you’ve heard about Google’s intent to switch to a mobile-first index. In this post, I’m going to briefly review the main points we know about Google’s plans for this new index, but I’m going to go further and detail what we found in a mobile-specific crawl we did of one website.
Based on this data, I’ll also talk about the implications of the switch and some of the challenges that Google faces with this process.
Key points about a mobile-first index
If you’ve already read about Google’s impending switch to a mobile-first index, you can jump down to the site analysis below. If not, here are some of the key statements from the Google announcement:
Today, most people are searching on Google using a mobile device. However, our ranking systems still typically look at the desktop version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user. This can cause issues

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Links to AMP content are showing up outside of search results

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) standard was designed to bring the fast-loading, clean experience of native apps to the open web. With most large publishers now producing AMP versions of their content, distribution platforms and other referrers are starting to experiment with AMP as an alternative to standard outbound links and app web views.
Publishers might see this trend in their AMP referral analytics. At Relay Media, we’ve tracked an increase in non-Google referrals to the AMP content we convert for publishers — beyond the usual traffic from users sharing AMP links on social media. Here are our top non-Google referral sources over the past five months:
Google Analytics weekly sessions, October 9, 2016, through February 18, 2017
Google still represents about 80 percent of total AMP referral sessions to Relay Media’s platform, with another 8 percent categorized as “(direct) / (none)” in Google Analytics. Identifiable non-Google sources represent around 10 percent of total referral sessions. It’s a modest piece of the pie, but

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Google AMP carousels are multiplying!

In case you missed it, Google has launched a new type of AMP rich card carousel in mobile search results — in addition to the Top Stories carousel we’re used to seeing.  
The new AMP carousels appear in the main mobile results list, showcasing related articles from a single publisher. They started appearing at the end of 2016 without fanfare from Google. Let’s call them “single-source carousels.”
Single-source AMP carousels are most likely to appear in results for popular queries, particularly for news stories. A January 15 search for “Kansas City Chiefs News” produced four single-source AMP carousels in addition to the Top Stories carousel:
A search for “Kansas City Chiefs News” produces a Top Stories carousel, plus four single-source AMP rich card carousels.
Search for any big news story, and you’ll likely get several single-source carousels in mobile results. They also appear frequently for recipe searches — try “cookie recipes,” for example.
Google appears to be invoking the single-source

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Google opens the AMP fire hose

Google’s expansion of Accelerated Mobile Pages across mobile search results is underway, gradually turning the trickle of AMP traffic to a steady flow.
The September start of the “blue links” rollout, along with announcements from some high-profile participants in the AMP Project, are advancing the open-source initiative on multiple fronts.
Google’s AMP expansion
Since Accelerated Mobile Pages first appeared in Google search results in February 2016, AMPs have been mostly concentrated in the Top Stories area of mobile search results:
AMP Top Stories carousel in Google mobile search results
The current expansion, which was announced in August and started in mid-September, will surface AMPs throughout standard mobile search results, aka “blue links.” When the phased blue links rollout is complete, Google will always present the validated AMP version of a page to mobile users instead of the standard web link.
At this stage, Google is only surfacing a portion of available AMPs; a September 25 query returned a mixture of AMP and non-AMP results

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The importance of micro-moments: The mobile customer journey

According to eMarketer, global mobile ad spend is expected to double from $100 billion in 2016 to nearly $200 billion in 2019 — accounting for over 70 percent of digital ad spend worldwide. This explosion in mobile ad spend mirrors the rapid growth of mobile, which has changed the game for advertisers and consumers alike. Mobile is now not just about the device; it’s a lifestyle. People are mobile, not just their devices.
Customers are making decisions based on mobile content that serves the right purpose at the right moment. Content, therefore, needs to address user intent and be accessible everywhere — across multiple device types, multiple platforms and multiple channels.
Mobile micro-moments
More Google searches now take place on mobile devices than on desktop computers worldwide. Because of this massive shift in consumer behavior, marketers have had to recalibrate their mobile strategies.
The key to mobile success lies in understanding this behavioral shift. Mobile has surpassed desktop in terms of searches performed, but it has not replaced desktop. As comScore’s “2015 U.S. Digital Future

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