AMP presents a strong argument; who wouldn’t want their browsing experience to work faster, almost instantly, especially on the go?
So what are AMP pages?
Why is AMP so fast?
This might get a bit technical but the overall objective is that AMP pages are a lightweight version of the standard web page. Essentially, the excess needs to be trimmed:
- We start off with a streamlined version of CSS (style sheets). Most standard CSS features can be used but need to follow best practice according to the AMP standards.
- All of this is architected to be heavily cached so Google can host these pages and your content on their infrastructure, so they don't need to read it from your servers.
But why AMP?
Besides speed, Google has created a “Top Stories news carousel” that uniquely feature AMP pages at the top of mobile search listings. We all know how hard it is to get to the top of the listings, so this offers an immediate return for websites investing in AMP pages.
Until recently, AMP was mainly being pushed for User Experience benefits. Now, Google is encouraging all websites to follow suit. It’s pitching it as a standard such as Schema.org or Dublin Core for Metadata.
On average AMP sees:
- Mobile traffic increases of 30%
- Conversion increases of 20%
- Time spent on pages is 2x a standard webpage
If you step back from AMP and consider the impact of load times this provides you with a good indication why conversions benefit from such an increase:
|Company||Load Time Change / Result||Impact|
0.1 second increase
1% decrease in sales
|$1.3B / year|
|Walmart||1 second decrease
2% increase in conversions
|$274M / year|
|Yahoo!||0.4 second decrease
9% increase in traffic
|600M visitors per month|
Not too long ago Google was massively pushing Responsive. The benefits were obvious - one single codebase with a device targeted experience - so there’s no wonder this was largely adopted.
To AMP or not to AMP?
Let’s consider the following, Google's is introducing the Mobile-first Index, this is the big change happening this year.
As Google goes mobile-first, future changes to its algorithm will be based on mobile and apply to both mobile and desktop. What will this mean for the desktop index? The risk is that it may provide quite different results, potentially resulting in a fragmented search experience.
A few things to consider
If AMP has an advantage on mobile, could that advantage carry over to desktop? Could AMP become a standard across all devices? If speeding up the web on mobile with AMP is the way forward, and Google is clearly betting on this, what does this behold for the desktop experience?
But there is another implication; currently websites are content optimized for search engines. If you have a lighter version for mobile (an AMP version) in the mobile index, the “full” version is in Google’s default index. This raises a lot of questions on Google’s indexing strategy, only time will see where this takes us.
There’s a lot of questions and a lot of key players are waiting to see how the technology develops, only time will tell where AMP is going and what real world implications it will have to the way we develop our digital presences.
My recommendation is to develop AMP pages where it makes sense and needs to be looked at on a case by case basis, it needs to be a considered investment.