What does AMP do?

The Accelerated Mobile Project launched in 2016 by Google, is a standard set for web pages to allow them to load incredibly fast on mobile devices. By using an optimised version of HTML and Javascript, all delivered by an optimized cache system, named AMP HTML, AMP JS and AMP Cache respectively. Pages can load almost instantly whilst still remaining functional and visually pleasing. The AMP HTML and AMP Javascript restrict many of the features and replace others with AMP-specific features. You can find out in more detail how AMP makes web pages so fast by visiting the official how it works page.

Why should we use AMP for our web pages?

Here are some of the biggest advantages I have seen for moving your larger web pages and blog posts to an AMP format when viewed from a mobile device.

It’s fast, very fast.

There’s no denying that an AMP page loads extremely fast on a mobile device. You can try it yourself by searching on Google for any recent news trend and several major online news websites will present you with an AMP page, it’s easy to tell as the Google result with have a lightning bolt in a grey circle below it.

Try opening up an AMP article yourself on a mobile device and see for yourself how quickly it loads. Not having to wait around for a large, heavy responsive web page will attract many more users.

Less data usage.

Many people like to view websites on a mobile device when they are on the go, this means it’s quite likely they will be using mobile data and therefore conscious of the amount of data a web page uses. AMP pages use significantly less data (supported by it’s load time) meaning they will not only load properly for people in areas with low mobile data speeds, these pages will not eat into your mobile data cap.

Larger Google snippet in search results

As mentioned above, an AMP mobile page will have an AMP icon below it, this increases the size of the Google meta snippet in search results overall. Taking up more screen space with a search result on Google is great as it not only reduces the number of other results you’re competing with on screen, it draws the attention of the user even more than any results around, enticing the user to click your result.

Below you can see how an AMP result in Google is larger than non-AMP results.

How does AMP hold us back?

Limited style and functionality

AMP HTML and AMP JS limit what we can do with our pages compared to their standard counterparts, this means when you view an AMP page it will be instantly noticeable that there are no flashy elements, styling or animations happening on screen that make the experience of visiting the page more exciting or visually appealing. AMP wants users and creators to focus on the content that’s on the page by making taking a more barebones approach to the web page structure that’s displaying the content. For the user that likes a flashy all-singing-all-dancing website experience, AMP may not be the best choice.

Focus on speed instead of quality

The rise of AMP in out web pages has lead webmasters and content creators alike to focus more on the raw speed of the page and it’s reduction in load times, by putting this ahead of focusing on producing quality fresh content for your reader, Google is essentially reversing the principles of web design and search engine optimisation it has spent so many years establishing and tweaking it’s ranking factors towards.

If you see a web page that’s been AMP enabled, do not automatically assume that the page itself will be credible and be filled with quality content. Yoast’s Joost de Valk believe’s that “AMP throws away years of advancement, with the only goal being to make the web faster”.

Does AMP affect Google ranking?

Google’s AMP pages are not currently a ranking factor in Google, however, you wouldn’t be wrong to believe that it might be one day, especially with google’s focus on how web pages are displayed on mobile devices.

Do you think AMP is necessary for mobile pages or is responsive website design already enough?

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