Back in October 2015 we caught wind of yet another new project being developed by Google called Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP for short. With many people attributing slow site loading speed to ads, ad blockers have grown significantly over the last few years - 41% global uplift in the last year alone (48% uplift in the US and a huge 82% uplift in ad blocking usage in the UK).
With slow site load speed becoming an industry wide problem, on the 24th of February, Google launched AMPs designed to make news articles open significantly faster on mobile and tablet devices (hooray).
As you already know smartphones have taken over our lives (hey we’ve harped on enough about it) but they really are. 64% of our purchasing decisions begin on mobiles as well as 25% of all search queries taking place on mobile. With publishers all around the world using mobile to reach their reading audience, when pages take too long to render, readers have been known to lose interest resulting in publishers missing the opportunity to earn revenue through subscriptions and advertising not to mention the negative user experience.
So, as a result, it’s no surprise, Google wanted to shake things up and ensure news articles load faster - both a benefit to the user (in terms of experience), publisher (in terms of engagement) and to Google itself (in terms of revenue generated).
What is an Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)
In a bid to create “a faster, more engaging mobile web experience in an open ecosystem”, Accelerated Mobile Pages are made up of stripped back HTML (in essence it’s a diet HTML) designed to be ‘super lightweight’ and very fast loading. Now some have questioned whether this was in response to Facebook’s Instant articles or Apple news however this is in response to the needs of all users so regardless of whether it's a copycat move, it's ultimately enhancing user experience so who are we to judge?
How will it work?
Basically, in the source code of your website, you would assign the rel AMP HTML link which will point over to your AMP page hosted on Google. Now this may bring around some confusion around whether the content sits on your site and whether your site will be attributed for it / build an authority. In short, yes you will. Your content will sit on your domain like any other pieces of content with the only difference being, it is constructed of stripped down, ‘diet’ HTML.
Also, your content is hosted on a gstatic.com (Google cache) as well as on your site and both this and anywhere else your content is placed / featured will contain a rel=canonical tag indicating your website hosts the original and any authority should be attributed to your site.
How will these display in search?
You might be wondering what this looks like and how it will appear in the search engine results pages (SERPs). Of course as this is named accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) we can take a guess it will only be on mobile devices (at least to begin with) and will typically be used by news publishers to begin with. Once we open one AMP, it will be simple to swipe to another AMP page and equally simple to click back into the search results pages.
Similar to how shopping ads appear, these display in blocks at the top within ‘top stories’, AMPs are expected to load 4 times faster than pages not in AMP and these pages have been structured to ensure the content isn’t blocked by ads - win for the ad haters out there.
It has been said that although this is flexible, it isn’t suited to all websites. For example, this has been developed with news and content publishers in mind as opposed to ecommerce and brochure websites however as it is relatively new, we expect it to continue to evolve in time. With everything new in search and in Google, it later makes its way into the ranking signals and only time will tell if this will become another of the 200+ ranking signals used by Google.
Want to know more about accelerated mobile pages and how to create them? Keep your eyes peeled for more updates coming soon.