How does Google AMP stack up against Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News?
Web leviathan Google has waded into the ongoing debate surrounding the publishing of content for mobile use with its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) programme. Unlike Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News (which effectively act as new-age RSS feeds), Google AMP approaches publishers directly and gets them to format for effective mobile use. The model has already proven popular, with household names such as Twitter, WordPress, and LinkedIn already having signed up.
What makes Google AMP different? Well, for starters there’s the borderline unbelievable loading time. According to Jon Parise of Pinterest: “Accelerated Mobile Pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages”. This means your page should load in just over half a second, without any of that annoying, jerky re-formatting that currently blights mobile content. Then, there are the formatting requirements. Whereas articles submitted for Instant Articles or Apple News must be formatted for their distinct platform, Google AMP requires users to upload just once, and Google will make sure it loads at an equally quick speed across all devices. All things considered, this simply highlights how important it is for you to put mobile platforms at the heart of your content strategy for the foreseeable future.
A Labour lesson in digital deletion don’ts
While we tend to steer clear of the political circus at Write My Site, a couple of years back we told you what David Cameron needed to learn about web content. In the interests of impartiality, we bring you part 2 in this series; what Jeremy Corbyn could learn about web content after deleting many of his old articles and speeches from his website.
Whereas David Cameron’s honourable buddy Chris Grayling was quick to offer a (somewhat scratched) Teflon-style excuse by claiming that there’s “a limit to how much you can put and keep on your website year after year”, Corbyn has been flat-out accused of trying to “re-write history”. We’re not here to judge potential motivating factors, but all posts made before he became Labour leader have now been deleted, including a number in which JC states his opposition to the EU. Whatever the reason, from a purely content-orientated point of view, the Labour leader could do with a slap on the wrist – and he might just get one from Google.
Whether you’re a company or a politician, there really is no excuse. If it was done for PR reasons, then it reflects badly when everyone finds out (like today) and your visage of transparency suddenly looks a little opaquer. Plus, the ‘lack of space’ argument wouldn’t really wash as a hosting packages today can give you gigabytes of extra space for a pittance, and navigation tools for archived pages have improved vastly. Mass deletions gained popularity in response to Google’s Panda update. But, no matter how potentially embarrassing, if Google sends traffic and ranks a page based on perceived value and you delete it, you also delete all future traffic that would be directed to that page. This is likely to affect your rankings, and will require you upload a new sitemap to Google Webmaster Tools. In short, deleting some embarrassing or troublesome pages probably won’t mean that the sentiment is forgotten. And, even if it is, it might just mean that your site gets forgotten too.
Fill your content gap by second guessing your audience
Now that everyone’s just about getting settled on how to provide value to users by answering specific search queries, things are set to change once again. The rise of predictive modelling suggests that Google will soon be on the lookout for more than just immediate value, they’ll want lasting value. In other words, soon you’ll need to look beyond satisfying an initial search query and try to predict what secondary information your users might want to find at hand once their question has been answered. For instance, if someone’s searched “When is the next episode of Game of Thrones?”, then their next question is likely to be “What network is broadcasting the episode?” and then “What channel is this network on TiVo?”.
So, what can you do to future-proof your content against as-yet unknown Google updates? First of all, don’t only optimise for keywords related to one specific article, show your industry authority by taking a broad brush approach and adding that little bit of extra knowledge that tells your visitors that you understand the logic that has brought them to your site.
Unless you have a commercial interest in a specific product or service, show that you know the market by including references to the wider competitive landscape. For example, to answer a search query along the lines of “What is the best web browser?”, make sure you include keywords like ‘Google Chrome’, ‘Firefox’ – even ‘Bing’. Apply the same logic to localised search terms (for ‘London’ include ‘Tube’, ‘Kensington’ etc.) and community-related search terms (with subject-relevant jargon), and you could just be on to a winner.