You might have heard of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). They were initially made to compete with Facebook’s Instant Articles and for news carousel results on mobile devices. Nowadays however, they’re all over the organic search results, even though, as a user, you might not have even noticed. The AMP project is almost three years old and development has slowed down significantly in some areas.
Here’s the recent AMP related news over the past few years:
- 24 Feb 2016: Google launches the AMP project
- 20 Sept 2016: Google incorporates AMP into search results
- 21 Aug 2017: AMP ads complete stage 2 of development
- 13 Feb 2018: AMP stories are introduced
- 7 Dec 2018: The Official Wordpress Plugin is released
So, as you can see, it’s been slow progress – but AMP has become pretty popular and hundreds of top publishers have adopted AMP for all news and blog related content and the number of domains using AMP surpassed 31 million in early 2018. That’s up from less than a million two years ago.
So, what are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Accelerated Mobile Pages are essentially stripped-down copies of existing web page content offering much faster load times than standard web pages by eliminating certain elements such as bulky pictures, CTAs and much more back end code.
AMP speeds up webpage load times by as much as a second, and while this might seem insignificant, there’s some surprising statistics around how long a second is in the world of the internet.
But I Don’t Have a News Site – What Do I Need AMP For?
Apart from the obvious benefits of increased speed, Accelerated Mobile Pages are no longer confined to news and blog sites. You can even use AMP for Ecommerce. However, there are some limitations – for instance AMP doesn’t have a markup specific to checkouts, so users will be directed to your standard checkout.
Should you adopt AMP?
While it does offer improved speeds and is probably favoured by Google search results (they don’t directly influence SEO, but due to the speed improvements, Accelerated Mobile Pages are promoted by Google in the SERPs), adopting AMP does come with some caveats.
First of all, AMP only works in users click on the AMP version of a webpage. There have been studies showing that the AMP library can reduce the number of server requests to fetch a document by as much as 77%, however, the AMP version of a page isn’t always served if it isn’t implemented correctly.
Tracking data from AMP in Google Analytics is still somewhat limited, but analytics for this is expanding.
The biggest caveat is that implementing AMP means sacrificing some User Experience elements on your web page. AMP prioritises efficiency over creativity and not only will you be missing out on some images on your site, AMP pages will only allow one advertisement per page. Implementing the code was also difficult before the WordPress plugin.
Despite all of the fervour that the AMP project has created since it launched, development has been relatively slow and users aren’t any closer to recognising what AMP served content is.
So, is implementing AMP for you? It might not be. There are tangible benefits to Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP is extremely useful for publishers and going forward, will play a major role in mobile search. There are also multiple options that allow you to customise AMP documents further to make them more amenable to your SEO strategy. However, the improved page speed is definitely a huge benefit for AMP sites - as this will enhance your website and your customer's experience.