The Coffey Blog

8 things healthcare marketers need to know about AMP

Posted on: Monday, November 28, 2016

Jeremy Dietz, Executive Digital Editor

If you've ever tried to load a web page on your smartphone and given up after waiting 10 or even 20 seconds, you know the frustration that Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is designed to eliminate.

According to Google, it takes an average of 19 seconds to load a mobile website using a 3G connection. That's well beyond the amount of time that most people are willing to wait—53 percent of people will leave a website if it doesn't load in 3 seconds.

With more people using smartphones and other mobile devices to access the internet, healthcare marketers need to take steps to make sure that they provide their audience with a great mobile experience. But is AMP the answer for hospital and health organization websites?

Here are eight things healthcare marketers need to know.

1. AMP is focused on speed.
Like Facebook's Instant Articles, AMP is intended to load content on mobile devices quickly. As Google's AMP Project website notes, "Speed matters and instant is the ideal."

2. AMP's speed comes with trade-offs.
To create pages that load at AMP's near-instant speeds, it's necessary to streamline and offer fairly basic formatting and functionality. This is an important limitation to keep in mind as you consider AMP. You'll want to talk with your hospital website development team about how the design and functionality of a given page might be affected if you implement AMP—the AMP Project website is a great resource for more specific information.

AMP's features are evolving, though. For example, forms weren't originally available on AMP, but that changed on Oct. 31.

3. AMP works best with certain kinds of hospital website content.
Technically, you could use AMP throughout your hospital's website. But right now, AMP really works best on pages that are focused on content and not on interactive design features. Not sure where to start? Try AMP with blog posts or news releases and see how it goes. Then add AMP to other pages from there.

4. AMP works outside of Google apps.
AMP content is built with HTML and will load in any modern browser—unlike Facebook Instant Articles, which require Facebook. AMP content can even be found using search engines other than Google, such as Bing.

5. You can have an AMP and a non-AMP version of a web page.
If you go this route, you'll need to add some code that lets Google know that each version of the page exists.

6. AMP content can be featured above Google's organic search results.
AMP isn't currently an organic search ranking factor, but Google does reward publishers who use AMP by displaying this content in a "Top Stories" section of some mobile searches—ahead of organic results.

Here's an example of what that looks like:

7. AMP is optional—but a mobile-optimized hospital website is essential. 
This probably goes without saying, but if your website isn't mobile-friendly, you need to address that before you even consider AMP. Likewise, you need to make sure your site loads quickly—on both desktop and mobile.

AMP isn't the only way to speed up your website. Google has a free speed test tool that can give you an idea of how fast your website is and what you can do to speed it up.

8. An experienced website development team can help you implement AMP.
If you're interested in implementing AMP or just improving your hospital's mobile presence, give us a call at 888.805.9101. Our website designers and developers can take a look at your website and offer solutions that will help you reach your healthcare marketing goals.

Related reading

5 digital healthcare marketing trends for 2017
Why a mobile-optimized website is a must for your hospital
Click-worthy content: Mobile hospital SEO