What is AMP and how is it relevant?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-sourced Google initiative that aims to provide faster mobile web browsing.

Publishers are being asked to come up with lightweight and super-fast web pages via AMP HTML, a new open framework.

Essentially, there are two versions of some pages: the standard web page and the AMP’ed version. Both of these run alongside each other.

 

WHY AMP?

 

It’s pretty clear that the future is mobile and Google is one of the key forces that is leading the way forward in this idea.

 

For a long time, Google has recommended that developers and site publishers focus their efforts on creating mobile-responsive pages and sites. Pages that are mobile-responsive can get favorable treatment when it comes to Google rankings and those that fail to adhere to Google’s recommendations may find themselves being penalized.

 

So, what are the effects in Google’s SERP rankings? Well, the longer you can get a visitor to stick around on your page and the more you can reduce your bounce rate the better your ranking gets. It’s that simple. A big example of the importance of AMP pages is the introduction of Google’s AMP page carousel that presents itself on the first page of mobile search results. Here, an array of articles are featured that are related to the query, including the display of an image along with the article heading.

 

Google is promoting AMP pages and articles. At the moment this is relatively limited but it should be picking up pretty soon.

 

If you ignore AMP then you could be missing out on a pretty significant boost from Google. This means you could be missing out on a lot of potential visitors.

 

FEATURES OF AMP

AMP essentially exists to streamline pages, and the size of inline CSS is less than 50kb. Some of the key features include:

  • Analytics and Ads are accepted on AMP. In this respect they will be like regular web pages.
  • Lazy load image function ensures that images will only show up when the user scrolls down.
  • Javascript should be avoided.
  • Forms are not permitted.
  • In order to include videos, an approved AMP extension is required.
  • For any custom font, image width and height needs to be declared, with the font being specially loaded.
  • Use the AMP Validator to validate AMP sites. This comes bundled with the AMP JS Library.

 

How to create Accelerated Mobile Pages

 

When assessing how to go about creating accelerated mobile pages, you should carry out an assessment of your site. This is because each site differs in terms of content management system and how each page is created.

 

Two potential methods are as follows:

1. WordPress sites – Thankfully for publishers using WordPress, there are two plugins that simplify the whole process. These are WordPress AMP plugin and Glue for Yoast plugin. Even though these plugins are effective, they can be quite rigid in how they get things done and don’t allow for a great deal of configuration. That’s why it’s essential to use Google’s AMP validator tool.

 

2. Perch CMS sites – For a very customizable solution, using Perch as a CMS allows you to create both regular posts and AMP’s without having to jump through a whole bunch of hoops.

 

It’s well worth investing the time and effort to get ahead of the game and create accelerated mobile pages. It’s not necessarily essential for all pages of your site, but when it comes to things like news pages and articles it makes perfect sense.

 

On the other hand, however, investing the time and effort to create AMP pages may not be worth it for everyone. For example, if you’re a commercial business, with a goal to dazzle and impress site visitors, then having accelerated mobile pages could affect the perception of quality, since AMP pages are, by default, designed to be slimline and more economical. This is something that you need to assess and consider before making a decision.

 

Google is in the process of developing its framework, so it could be a little while before the changes filter through and you get the full benefits. However, having a more mobile focus will definitely keep you ahead of the game.

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