If you’ve been browsing the web on your mobile device recently, you may have noticed some websites are Mo loading much faster than others. These sites are likely using a technology called Google AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
But what exactly is Google AMP, and how does it work? In this quick and easy guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about this technology.
What is Google AMP?
Google AMP is an open-source framework for building mobile-friendly web pages that load quickly. The aim of the AMP project is to make mobile browsing faster (main object) and smoother, which is increasingly important as more and more people access the web from their mobile devices.
Google AMP was first launched on October 7, 2015, as a joint project between Google and a number of other companies like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn and WordPress in the tech and publishing industries. Since then, it has grown in popularity and is now used by thousands of websites across the globe. In 2017, Google announced that 900,000 web domains were publishing AMP pages which took everybody by surprise.
How does Google AMP work?
The basic idea behind Google AMP is to simplify web pages so they can load more quickly on mobile devices. To do this, AMP uses a number of techniques and features designed specifically for mobile browsing.
One of the key components of AMP is a pared-down version of HTML, called AMP HTML. This version of HTML includes a limited set of tags and components that are optimised for speed and mobile compatibility. For example, AMP HTML includes components for images and videos that can be loaded a lot more quickly than standard HTML components. AMP HTML uses the so-called AMPHTML Layout System that makes it super easy to implement responsive images that automatically adjust their size to the available space on a page.
AMP pages also use a streamlined version of CSS called AMP CSS. This version of CSS is designed to load more quickly than standard CSS by limiting the number of style rules that can be used.
I honestly wish we had something similar to AMP JS that we can use on ‘normal’ pages. And before you ask me, yes, you can use AMP JS on a ‘normal web page but you would need to carefully consider how to integrate it with your existing code and content in order to prevent it from conflicting with any other scripts or styles. Additionally, using AMP JS on a non-AMP page may not provide the same performance benefits as using it on an AMP page.
What are the benefits of Google AMP?
There are a number of benefits to using Google AMP, both for website owners and users.
- For website owners, one of the main benefits of AMP is faster page load times (page speed is a ranking factor). This can lead to lower bounce rates, as users are less likely to abandon a page that loads instantaneously. It can also improve search engine rankings, as Google has stated that AMP is a ranking factor for mobile search results (in 2021 Google announced that they will no longer be giving preference to AMP websites).
- AMP pages also tend to use less data than traditional web pages (AMP pages are significantly lighter than traditional web pages), which can be a significant advantage for users with limited data plans or slow Internet connections. This also means less drain on your servers if you get a lot of mobile traffic.
- Finally, AMP pages can be a useful tool for online publishers, as they can increase the visibility and distribution of their content. Google has integrated AMP pages into its search results and other products, which can make it easier for users to discover and access AMP content when browsing on their mobile devices.
What are the drawbacks of Google AMP?
While Google AMP has a number of benefits, like every technology in the world it also has some drawbacks and limitations that are worth considering before committing to this application.
- One of the main drawbacks of AMP is that it can be difficult and time-consuming to implement and maintain. Creating AMP pages requires a different set of skills and even tools than creating traditional web pages, and there can be a steep learning curve for developers who are new to the platform. In reality, most companies have to run and maintain two versions of the same website (AMP is separate from your responsive mobile pages) which can cause all sorts of problems. In addition to all that companies also have to spend additional time configuring Google Analytics to track AMP content as the AMP cache content is not technically part of the main website. Last but not least if you haven’t taken the time to ensure that your URL is properly displayed in AMP, others who share your content may inadvertently share a Google.com address instead of your own URL. This could result in missed opportunities to establish your brand and generate backlinks for SEO. As you’ve probably noticed by now implementation and maintenance of your AMP pages could be a massive headache.
- Because of the stripped-down version of HTML AMP pages tend to be simpler and less feature-rich than traditional web pages. While this can be an advantage in terms of speed and performance, it can also severely limit the design and functionality of the page.
- Finally, AMP pages can sometimes be less engaging for users, as they may lack some of the interactive features and design elements that are available on traditional web pages. This can be a trade-off for companies that prioritise speed and performance over engagement and design and a no-go zone for brands that express themselves through creativity.
Google AMP is a powerful tool for brands and digital marketers who want to create fast, mobile-friendly web pages. While it has some limitations and drawbacks, its benefits can make it well worth the investment of your time and resources.
If you’re interested in using Google AMP for your website, there are various resources and tools on the web available to help you get started. Google provides extensive documentation and tutorials on its AMP website, as well as a number of tools for testing, validating, and optimising AMP pages. If you want to learn how to code AMP I will strongly recommend you start with this Learn Google AMP tutorial.
What’s more, there are several third-party plugins and tools available for popular content management systems like WordPress and Drupal that can simplify the process of creating AMP pages. I particularly like the official AMP WordPress plugin that I have used on this website.
Overall, Google AMP is a powerful technology that can help you create fast, mobile-friendly web pages that are optimised for both users and search engines. By taking advantage of this technology, you can improve the user experience on your site, increase engagement and conversions, and improve your search engine rankings.
Who is Aleyda Solis?
Aleyda Solis is an International SEO Consultant – a service that she provides with her boutique consultancy, Orainti – a blogger (Search Engine Land, State of Digital and Moz), speaker (with more than 70 conferences in 18 countries in English and Spanish) & author (of “SEO, Las Claves Esenciales”).
Included in Forbes as one of the 10 Digital Marketing specialists to follow in 2015 and in Entrepreneur as one of the 50 Online Marketing Influencers to follow in 2016, she has more than 8 years of experience doing Search Engine Optimization for European, American and Latin-American companies.
After working in different SEO roles at European and American companies, both from the agency as well as in the in-house side, she founded her own consultancy to help from startups in competitive industries to multinational companies with complex Web environments to grow their search visibility & achieve their SEO goals with strategic, technical & in-depth SEO consulting.
BrightonSEO – is a major search marketing event in the UK. One of our favourite events of the year, This is a superb conference for search marketing professionals, novice or expert.
BrightonSEO is a chance to learn from some of the best minds in search, and then rub shoulders with them at one of the friendliest, and largest, gatherings of Digital Marketers in Europe.