Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, or AMP for short, was released as a new code base by Google for delivering content to your mobile browser almost instantly. This will be a multi part post so be sure to check back each week for new information on Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages.

 

So how does Google do this and what effects will it have on SEO and customer experience?

 

Introduction to Google AMP Project

Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Project (AMP we will call them for short), is a Google initiative to improve the user experience on mobile phones even when only low bandwidth is available. Google AMP pages deliver text, images and some slimmed down features available in Javascript but the goal of AMP, according to Google, is to improve the user experience of websites when viewing on mobile devices.

 

How Do AMP Pages Differ From Regular Web Pages?

The AMP project uses similar markup as static HTML and javascript however many of the libraries that developers use everyday are not available on AMP pages. This is because a lot of the code that makes our websites dynamic and pretty takes a lot of resources from client and server side. Reducing the available features, through the new AMP code platform, Google is able to parse the information faster, all the while doing some nifty caching in order to deliver your website content almost immediately to visitors.  

 

The reduction of the available features means that pretty styling and dynamic content is replaced with simple text and images. These simplified web pages remind us of the web 15 years ago but with a big difference…. They render nearly instantly. The correlation between page load times and user experience is very well documented. Essentially the faster the web page loads the more likely the visitor is to stay or commit an action, such as click a button or buy something.

 

That Sounds Great But What Is The Catch?

Currently Google is still developing the code base and backend technology for AMP pages but something like more than 1 billion pages have already been served through the AMP servers. Yet many of us, and even some pretty clever wordpress developers, are using AMP to serve content on blogs and landing pages. Perfect, so we can use AMP pages, our visitors will be impressed at how quick our pages load and our conversions will increase….. But there is a catch.

 

First off the code base for the AMP pages is different from the typical code languages we use everyday, meaning that developers need to learn, test and push different code for AMP and regular webpages. The upside for developers is that the AMP pages are super simple when compared to complex coding required for many websites today. The downside is that now you have to manage two sets of code for the same content. However, with the externally developed free AMP plugin for WordPress you can convert your current pages and posts to AMP versions that will be indexed by google and served preferentially to mobile users.

 

The difference between AMP and Non-Amp pages is very apparent when visiting an AMP page. The simplicity of the design means that users will be served content extremely fast but designers will have to find innovative ways to use these simple webpages to drive traffic to conversion pages. For example a user might find your blog via search on their mobile phone when looking for information on a local business. The simple AMP page delivers the visitor a great user experience by providing instant access to information they may find helpful in their search. The simple AMP page now needs a Call to Action to push the visitor to a non-amp page to make a purchase or signup for a service etc… This creates another layer in the conversion funnel that marketers need to account for and optimize.

 

A Special Note To Clients On AMP & PageSpeed

Many of our clients use Google’s Pagespeed as an indicator on how well coded a webpage is. Although this is a great first glance at a page performance, with AMP pages the PageSpeed results will make it look like there is significant optimization needed. However this is not the case. PageSpeed looks at many variables on the client and server side, some of which are handled by Google when using AMP pages and thus are not editable. For instance, a common optimization hint that appears in PageSpeed results is to set expiry headers on javascript resources served from the Google AMP content delivery network. This means that your computer can store the javascript files instead of reloading them each time you visit the webpage, making the page load even faster, but since the JS files are served from Google servers developers have no way of changing some of the settings on these resources. At the end of the day PageSpeed will need an update to deal with the AMP page optimization. In the meantime there is a Google AMP markup validator that ensures our code is correct for AMP pages before pushing them live. Why Google did not integrate them into one product is beyond us but we are sure it will come soon.

 

AMP Ads Will Make Our Mobile Ad Experience Better

For publishers AMP Ads can now be used to deliver display banners nearly instantly to visitors. This will have a huge effect for advertisers and publishers alike. The AMP Ads deliver an even better mobile experience by serving up display ads as soon as the page loads. This means that slow loading banner ads, which often suffered disappointing CTR’s and were difficult to track, are now going to see a big boost in performance from both the advertiser and publisher side. We will discuss AMP ads and the platforms that are currently delivering AMP Ads in subsequent posts.

 

Before our next post you can checkout the difference between AMP and non-AMP Pages on a project we are currently working on for PlayConn.

 

Non-Amp: http://blog.playconn.com (if visiting on a mobile device the link to the non-AMP page is in the footer, we set worpress to deliver the AMP page if you are on a mobile device)

 

AMP Page: http://blog.playconn.com/amp/

 

Topics we’ll cover in subsequent posts:

SEO Ranking with AMP Pages

How AMP is Changing SEM Advertising on Mobile

Landing Page Design with AMP Pages

Working with Forms and search with AMP

Examples of AMP Pages we are working on

Why AMP will Change the Way You Work With Your Marketers

AMP For Fast Loading Ads