Not too long ago, Google stated that site speed was going to be a search ranking factor. Subsequently, they announced that mobile friendliness was also going to be a ranking factor. After all, an increasing number of users are now browsing the Internet using mobile devices, so not having a mobile-friendly website cuts out a lot of potential traffic.
In short, Google wants fast and mobile-friendly websites.
The solution? Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP).
An Overview of Google AMP
Google sponsors and promotes Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Aside from Google, other companies also support it, such as Adobe, LinkedIn, WordPress, OutBrain, Quantcast, Reddit, and more.
AMP is an open-source project that allows mobile website content to render almost instantly. The goal is to improve the online user experience with mobile pages. It puts special attention to graphics, videos, and animations. Furthermore, it takes smart ads into consideration as these types of content are often what prevents fast loading on a mobile device.
Why Does AMP Exist?
In today’s competitive market, users are abandoning websites that simply do not load quickly.
This is why AMP was created.
Google wants to change how users interact with mobile phones, not just through search results but through content, as well.
AMP-friendly pages will load instantly when you click on a blurb or link the search results. After loading, users can seamlessly move between one content to the next without any load times. It completely removes the sluggish performance typically found when browsing the website via mobile devices.
How Does It Work?
New to AMP? Here, Proweaver discusses how it works.
If you already have a custom web design, know that AMP does not replace your existing website.
Just imagine how your mobile website worked before a responsive design came along. Essentially, AMP optimizes your website for mobile users while retaining the same content and design.
AMP is made up of 3 components:
This is a subset of HTML that you can use. It restricts the use of code and commands that do not work, work slowly, or work poorly on mobile devices.
Google provides AMP CDN – a content cache and delivery network. It caches AMP content and makes some automatic performance improvements. You can store any or all AMP content on it, including any JS files, HTML files, and all images.
AMP can be quite complex, particularly for those who are not familiar with it. You have to validate any AMP page and custom web design before you can use it fully. You also have to declare dimensions of images, special load custom fonts, and handle other codes. If you want to use AMP but don’t know where to start, Proweaver can help.
Converting to AMP
First of all, if you do not know about developing a website, our advice is to contact an experienced web developer, like Proweaver. As mentioned above, AMP can be quite complex, particularly for those who are not familiar with the system. So, rather than deal with it slowly on your own, hire a professional who can handle it for you.
To make sure that your website is AMP-ready, Proweaver can create an entirely new version of your custom web design. It will be a sort of shadow copy of your website – a replicate of your site, but in AMP.
Essentially, your desktop page will not change. However, mobile users will be directed to the AMP version instead of the desktop version of your page. If you already have a responsive custom web design, don’t worry. You can keep it as it is, and our experts will just layer the AMP version on top of it so that there will be no conflict.
If you are using WordPress, the simplest way of implementing AMP is by downloading the official AMP WordPress plugin. However, please keep in mind that AMP is in active development and is updated regularly. You have to keep up with these updates. Otherwise, your website and plugin will be out of date very quickly.
Is AMP Only Good for Text-Based Content?
There is a misconception that Google’s AMP results only feature text-based content. The thing is, Google wants to update the system so that it can highlight other contents, including videos, quotes and interviews, live videos, and much more.
According to Google, the AMP index has more than 150 million documents – and it’s growing every week! Approximately 4 million documents are added in each week. The AMP index is growing fast and includes various industries like entertainment, e-commerce, travel sites, and more.
Why is this important? It’s important because it means that the entire web will eventually be open to AMP results once Google rolls out these updates. It shows that everyone should consider preparing their website in AMP format so that they don’t get left behind with today’s latest innovations.
How Fast Will Your Pages Load After AMP Conversion?
So, how fast does a page load after AMP conversion – on a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being “not loading at all” and 10 being “loading in 1 second”?
According to Pinterest software engineer Jon Parise, AMP pages will load approximately 4 times faster. He further states that it uses eight times fewer data compared to traditional mobile-optimized pages.
4 times faster is definitely good! But what does that mean for you, the consumer, who is trying to view a web page on their mobile phone? Here is an example:
According to NiemanLab, an AMP-optimized New York Times article loaded on mobile in 2.99 seconds! For a comparison, when a user views the same article on Chrome on a fast iMac, it took around 3.82 seconds to load. This means that the mobile, AMP-optimized version was faster.
Is That Fast Enough?
Are 2.99 seconds fast enough? After all, studies show that 53% of users will leave a mobile page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load, and 2.99 is cutting it close! When you look at it that way, it doesn’t seem like much of an improvement.
However, the difference is when the user views the non-AMP article on a desktop, the page was still loading after 3 seconds! In the AMP version of the article, it was fully downloaded in 2.99 seconds.
More importantly, the AMP version reaches the “domContentLoaded” key point. This is the key point in a webpage’s load where the HTML is fully downloaded and specific important parsing has been completed.
AMP-Optimized Mobile Content: An Example
Good news! If you want to see what an AMP-optimized mobile content looks like before converting your pages, you can test a demo right now.
Simply follow these steps:
- Take out your smartphone.
- Open a browser (any browser).
- Type in g.co/ampdemo.
- Type in popular keyword phrases, like “Marvel” and “Game of Thrones” into Google search and hit enter.
Once the results show up, you will see that AMP contents get top billing. AMP pages appear with a special “AMP” designation:
Is AMP a Search Ranking Factor?
According to Google’s John Mueller, AMP is not a search ranking factor. However, he does say that converting pages to AMP will satisfy the mobile-friendly ranking signal. However, no ranking signal is solely linked with AMP.
Will AMP Affect Advertising?
It should not.
According to Google, AMP should not affect your advertising campaigns. They want to support a broad range of ad networks, ad formats, and technologies. Any websites using AMP HTML can maintain their choice of ad networks. Plus, they will be able to retain any ad format that does not diminish user experience.
In case you are wondering, here are some ad networks that AMP supports:
- Broadstreet Ads
- Dot and Media
You can view the comprehensive list of ad networks that AMP supports on the Official Google AMP Project site.
Converting Pages to AMP: Is It Necessary?
Studies show that AMP drives positive ROI and revenue. In addition, greater page-load speeds increase traffic, conversions, and pages per visit.
There is a lot of positive, individual-use cases for how websites are succeeding with AMP. But at the end of the day, the biggest question is whether or not you should convert your pages into AMP.
While Google is heavily promoting it, they have not gone so far as to make it the central ranking signal. In other words, not using AMP won’t necessarily hurt you, but using it can certainly help you.
Here are some things to consider before you invest the money and time into implementing AMP for your website:
Do you already have a fast-loading mobile version of your website?
If you already have a fast-loading mobile version of your website in place – and by fast loading, we mean under 2 seconds – you are in the clear. You probably don’t need to convert your pages to AMP.
Generally, AMP only benefits the search ranking of a website because it is a way of speeding up a site and making it mobile-friendly. Whether you do that with your own custom code or with AMP does not matter, as long as mobile users can view it and it loads quickly.
Do you love to be on the cutting-edge of technological advancements?
Do you love being on the cutting-edge of new technological advancements? Are you the type of person who loves to adopt new technologies as soon as they are available? Were you using social media and video marketing before anyone else in your market?
If so, dig into AMP. If your website is already fast loading, converting to AMP may not have an immediate beneficial effect. However, it does prepare you for the day when Google decides that AMP should be a search ranking factor on its own.
Do you care about mobile?
In today’s highly technological world where most viewers are browsing the Internet via mobile devices, most businesses are highly concerned about mobile pages. If you are, then converting your pages into AMP is something that you should do.
If you are not all that concerned about mobile users for now and want to concentrate on your desktop page, you may opt out of AMP conversion for now.
Barring all of the information provided here, converting to AMP will depend on your individual content, channels, and revenue stream. Some may benefit from converting to the new AMP format, while others may not.
Moreover, since the AMP feature is relatively new, there are still so many benefits and updates on the horizon that are not clear yet.
However, with the increase of mobile users each year, AMP optimization is going to make your site look better to Google bots and users. With our expertise at Proweaver, we can make the process easier for you. So, why not stay ahead of the competition and convert your AMP pages now.
Is your website already AMP optimized? As a mobile user, what are your thoughts about AMP? Let us know what you think!