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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP): What You Need to Know

There is nothing more frustrating than waiting for a sluggish webpage to load. Not forgetting where you parked your car, dropping your phone in the toilet, stepping in dog poop . . . Okay, some things are more frustrating than waiting for a webpage to load, but you can’t deny that being patient is difficult when your Internet is as slow as a three-toed sloth. And when webpages take too long to load, their readers become restless and annoyed – some may even abandon ship! Google hopes to speed up our online world with the advent of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). They’re lightweight, pared down, and exceedingly fast.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) were created to provide a speedy mobile online experience, enabling pages with rich content to load quickly. This means that videos, animations, and graphics will appear at the same time as advertisements and text. AMP pages work in the same way on all devices, whether you’re using a cellphone, a tablet, or any other mobile device.

Since most people accessing the web these days do so using a mobile device, AMP pages will have a widespread impact on the World Wide Web. They look similar to normal web pages, containing all of the pertinent information, but they strip away extraneous features like JavaScript. Google hopes that the technology “will protect the free flow of information by ensuring the mobile web works better and faster for everyone, everywhere” (source). Ambitious!

Who is involved with the project?

When it comes to producing and promoting Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google is the instigator and the main player. Although nearly 30 publishers from around the world are also involved, no other company carries the clout of Google. That said, the current technology partners for AMP include Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress.com, LinkedIn, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, and Adobe Analytics.

How are Accelerated Mobile Pages formed?

Accelerated Mobile Pages rely on AMP HTML, an innovative new framework built out of existing technology. You can find the initial technical specification on GitHub. The pages also rely on new caching technology, allowing for worldwide distribution through Google’s global cache (which is complimentary, by the way). Accelerated mobile pages also support a variety of advertising formats and networks, so that websites can fund their content with ads. Finally, subscriptions and paywalls should be supported in the future, as they are currently a “core objective” of AMP.

Typically, AMP-optimized sites will have a separate web address. If you use WordPress, you’ll be pleased to learn that the site can create these pages automatically by using the AMP plugin. You can also use the plugin Pagefrog to change the styling of your AMP pages.

To learn more about the three key elements of Accelerated Mobile Pages – AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache – visit the AMP Project website.

What are the benefits of AMP?

The obvious benefit to using AMP is that your webpages will load very swiftly. In fact, they should upload instantaneously. Not only will this please your viewers, but it will also prevent them from abandoning a slow-loading page out of frustration. The speed and performance of AMP pages is impressive, but it is not the only advantage . . .

For those of you who aren’t tempted by the offer of high-speed webpages, know that using Accelerated Mobile Pages will also help you win Google’s favor. In fact, AMP-optimized pages will now appear at the top of Google’s mobile search results.

If you’re still not convinced, check out all these benefits of using AMP:

  • Higher rankings on Google’s mobile search results
  • Increased speed
  • Improved user experience
  • Functions on a variety of devices and platforms
  • Worldwide distribution
  • Numerous advertising formats, networks, and technologies

So everyone loves Accelerated Mobile Pages, right?

Although most people can see the value in Accelerated Mobile Pages, some have questions and concerns about the initiative. First of all, remember when we mentioned above that AMP-optimized pages will shoot to the top of Google mobile search results? While that’s true and a worthwhile benefit, there is also a downside. Unfortunately, when someone clicks on your AMP page through a Google search, the link will point to Google.com instead of your website. This is because Google will host the content on its own servers. Many SEOs are frustrated by this development, as Google has always been a guiding service in the past, directing searchers to other websites instead of keeping them on Google.

Next, as we’ve discussed, AMP pages are built using a simple framework. Although some loopholes are available, typically JavaScript and analytics code are not allowed on AMP pages. If you do choose to employ these elements using a workaround method, you will be very restricted in your use of them. AMP may allow you to create webpages that load at breakneck speed, but to accomplish this, you must use “a narrow set of web technologies” (source). You will have to cut back on your features and stick to the bare minimum. This can be frustrating and difficult, especially when you consider all of the amazing options available to web developers these days. Sacrifice is an unfortunate necessity.

Finally, some question the “open” framework of AMP, claiming that the project is actually a closed system that “benefits a select group of larger companies” (source). Although companies are allowed to have their own ad formats and tags with specific functionalities, these features are currently only available to certain companies, like YouTube and Twitter. Companies vying for their own tags must apply to developers, and the application process is a bit of a mystery right now (Who is receiving the information? How long will the process take?). 

Should I use Accelerated Mobile Pages?

Definitely. With Google’s excitement and enthusiastic promotion of the project, you don’t really have a choice in the matter. The system may not be perfect, but AMP-optimized pages are undeniably fast and provide a great SEO boost. And if you ignore AMP, you will lose out on valuable traffic and SERP real estate. Plus, AMP will allow you to create lightning-fast pages, so you won’t have to worry about losing viewers due to sluggishly loading sites. Whether you’re passionate about this new project or wary of it, we highly recommend optimizing your site for AMP so that you aren’t left in the dust.

We are very excited to say that we are utilizing Accelerated Mobile Pages to enhance our clients’ websites. So if you’re interested in improving your search engine optimization (SEO) through AMP and other techniques, check out 417 Marketing, an online marketing company based in Springfield, Missouri, that specializes in SEO and web design. Click here to contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.

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