Hold on – What is AMP?

The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project was launched as an open source initiative initially designed to help publishers create content that loads instantly on a mobile device. Other website types, including ecommerce sites, are now beginning to experiment with AMP.

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AMP is basically a way of building web pages for static content that renders quickly – it is a variation of HTML that speeds up mobile page load time by combining a number of different technical factors that focus on optimisation. The full list of these factors, as well as loads of great techie information on the project and how to implement AMP, can be found here.

If you are ready to get cracking with AMP , Google has provided a guide to help with ‘AMPlifying your site for lightning speed‘.

Why does AMP matter?

I’m guilty of bailing on a mobile site if it takes longer than a nanosecond to load content, and apparently, I’m not alone. Nearly 40% of people would also abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. The question is, can your site afford to lose a huge chunk of traffic because you are delivering a poor mobile experience to users?

If you don’t have a mobile optimised or mobile version of your website already: shame on you – especially if you are B2C and even more so if you are an ecommerce website. Users take their mobiles EVERYWHERE with them (it’s how they end up in the toilet) and so it’s crucial that if the demand for a mobile experience is there that your website is fulfilling it!

As well as the obvious reasons for having a site that loads really fast on mobile, Google announced last week that sites will be given ‘expanded exposure’ in mobile SERPs.

“Later this year, all types of sites that create AMP pages will have expanded exposure across the entire Google Mobile Search results page, like e-commerce, entertainment, travel, recipe sites and many more.” – What Google said

What exactly Google meant by this is open to interpretation (as is most of what they say). It’s not saying that your rankings will be great on mobile if you do this, but it’s not saying they won’t be either!

Google even shared tips for optimising an ecommerce site, providing a link to a snazzy little devloper guide that explains how to build AMP ecommerce webpages. This does suggest that quite a bit of weight will be given to AMP pages over standard HTML in mobile SERPs, and if that’s the case, sites that move quickly on this will surely reap the benefits.

Why would Google do this?

Back when only publishers and blogs were able to utilise AMP, Google said that they ‘wanted to help publishers fight Facebook’.

According to an article by Fortune:

“As Facebook tries to get publishers to host all of their content on its platform with features like Instant Articles, which provides faster-loading mobile pages for those who give Facebook control over their pages, Google has been trying to present an alternative that it says is more open and more flexible—a feature known as AMP, short for Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google has stressed that it is trying to help strengthen the open web because it wants to blunt the force of walled gardens like Facebook. Unlike Instant Articles, the AMP standard is an open-source project, one to which any publisher can contribute.”

That’s kind of them, isn’t it? However, publishers remained sceptical, particularly as it could be interpreted as Google not only attempting to shape how users consume media on mobile, but also how the content is monetised. In a world of ad blockers, publishers have already got it pretty tough – what if Google now tries to send all of their visitors to an AMP page that does not support any forms of advertising?

Google obviously denies all of this, but it does make for an interesting read.

Are you going to AMP-up your site? Let us know in the comments!