What You Need To Know About Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Smartphones and other mobile devices have revolutionised the way we access the internet. But there is a missing link between the information users are searching for and the way it is presented on their mobile devices, this is where Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) comes in.

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages AMP Project
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What is AMP?

This is where the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project fills that gap in the market. It is an open source initiative that allows publishers to create content that is optimised for such mobile devices. Gone are the frustrations of slow loading pages or tiny text – Accelerated Mobile Pages allows publishers to dramatically improve their performance in the mobile web landscape.

The AMP project was announced in October 2015 and comes from Google’s technical fold. It is the result of discussions with technology companies and publishers around the world to improve the mobile web experience to give users rich content and better-performing pages through a standard set of code that works on multiple devices.

Click on the following link to view the introduction to AMP found on the official Google blog https://googleblog.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/introducing-accelerated-mobile-pages.html.

How does it work?

AMP uses a combination of AMP HTML, AMP JS and AMP CDN (Content Delivery Network). AMP HTML is a slimmed-down form of HTML, which contains extensions to build content that’s a little richer and restrictions to bring better page performance than basic HTML could offer.

The AMP JS library allows for the fast rendering of AMP HTML pages and the AMP CDN is an optional system that optimises the performance through caching pages.

What makes AMP so fast?

AMP makes mobile web pages incredibly fast through the streamlining of these technologies. AMP HTML does not allow certain tags, so heavyweight forms are a no-no in this coding system, for example. It also requires coders to use a streamlined version of CSS and completely does away with conventional JavaScript.

It forces coders to use best practices and the AMP JS library, which is optimised for fast delivery. Images, for example, are not loaded until they scroll into view with AMP JS and AMP CDN cache pages to do away with multiple loads of the same page.

The impact on search engine rankings

The AMP system also has an impact on how your site appears in the search rankings – boosting the user experience to make it easier to scroll between the rankings to find the page you want. On the search engine results page for a mobile device, a user can click through a list of AMP-compliant websites.

The content loads almost instantaneously as Google pre-renders the content above the fold for AMP listings. When a user clicks on a site, a persistent blue bar appears at the top of the page, with a call to action to return to the search results page.

Click on the whiteboard image below to open a high resolution version in a new tab!

Mobile friendly sites already achieve better search engine rankings than their non-friendly counterparts so it follows that AMPs will get a serious search engine ranking boost. AMP sites are also highlighted with a small green lightning bolt, which further entices users to click on that site.

To learn more about mobile friendly websites and having better search engine rankings, head on over to our blog post about Google’s mobile friendly algorithm update found here https://www.baldwindigital.ie/google-mobilegeddon-whats-happening-two-months-on.

If you have a website that isn’t mobile friendly, we provide a responsive web design service. Speak to us today and have your website optimised for all devices including smartphones and tablets. This will provide a better user experience and boost in search engine rankings!

How do I get started with AMP in WordPress?

There are many different ways to implement the AMP system for your site – but the easiest way is to use it with an official WordPress plugin that has been developed by Automattic and WordPress. The plugin is frequently updated on GitHub and it just involves a few simple steps to get it up and running.

All you need to do is install the plugin, tweak your site to activate the AMP initiative, validate it with some schema markup and optimise it to work with Google Analytics. Yoast, also provides a setup guide that helps you setup AMP correctly https://yoast.com/setting-up-wordpress-for-amp-accelerated-mobile-pages

Conclusion

The AMP project is quickly gathering pace and Google started highlighting AMP-enabled pages in its mobile search results last month. It’s a much-needed initiative to bring the mobile web up-to-date with the rest of the online world in terms of speed and performance.

The initiative from Google is very much expecting marketers to conform to its own vision of what a better mobile web is in order to reap the rewards in terms of higher search rankings. But this is no bad thing.

The enhanced user experience and improved loading speeds, combined with new search features of AMPs, makes the initiative a worthwhile move, and a relatively painless one to implement.

About the Author:

Mark Baldwin is the managing director of Baldwin Digital, an Irish digital marketing company based in Cork, Ireland. He is a digital marketing specialist with expertise in search engine optimisation, Google AdWords management and website development. When he’s not implementing digital marketing strategies in collaboration with his team, he enjoys the outdoors and spending time with his family and friends.

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