Maybe you’ve heard of AMP, but what does AMP mean? The simple fact is that faster is always better when it comes to the loading time of your website. Faster loading websites rank so much higher, and faster loading means happier users. In fact, speed is so crucial that Google implemented several programs to help improve loading speeds. One of which is accelerated mobile pages, or AMPs.
What Does AMP Mean?
AMP is an open source HTML framework developed by Google’s AMP open source project. It was created to compete with Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News. AMP is optimized for mobile web browsing and was intended to help web pages load faster.
When it began, AMP pages showed up with a small lightning bolt icon by the website title, so users would know the site loaded faster than others. However, the icon was recently dropped, and some web experts say AMP is all but dead.
This article will explain what accelerated mobile pages are, why and how it developed, dive into its benefits, and help you decide whether or not it is necessary for your site.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Accelerated Mobile Pages, also called AMPs, are an open-source coding project created by Google to help websites load faster on mobile devices. AMP works by stripping pages down to their most essential parts, which allows them to load content so much faster. (Psst: if you haven’t already, it’s time to optimize your website for mobile.)
Aspects like videos, ads, and animations are removed, leaving only the essential content and images. This works great for mobile users, who can read articles and blog posts while on the go in seconds, since they do not need to wait for the extra ‘filler’ material to load.
Why AMP is a Good Idea
The goal of AMP is to provide a better user experience by delivering content as instantaneously as possible. Google’s ranking algorithms have been focused on page load times for quite awhile.
Data collected by Google and SOASTA found that 40% of users click off a page if it takes longer than three seconds to fully load.
You have only three seconds to keep the attention of a user who with one click can be on your competitors website. And if your web page fails to load in those three seconds, you created that content in vain.
The bad news is the fact that according to studies, most sites do not load in just three seconds. Most actually take upward of six to nine seconds. That’s two to three times more than the length of time 40% of users will wait.
Current Statistics Regarding Loading Speeds
- The average mobile site takes 19 seconds to load over a 3G connection, and 77% of mobile sites take over 10 seconds to load
- Google found that conversions lower by 20% for every additional second a webpage takes to load. To compare, sites that loaded in 5 seconds had 2x more mobile ad revenue than sites that loaded in 19 seconds.
- 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site that they had trouble accessing.
Problem: Websites That Load Too Slooooooowly
How quickly web content loads depends on two very connected elements, connection speed and file size. Some pages will load slowly even if the connection speed is fast, if the file size is too large. Similarly, even a technically optimized page may load slowly if the connection is too slow.
Your website’s performance and response time are closely tied to its success, so taking every available opportunity to improve it is worth the effort. Figuring out why your website loads slowly can help better its Search Engine Optimization (SEO), resulting in better visibility and a higher Google ranking.
Is the Solution AMP?
AMP cannot influence the available capacity of an internet connection, so the technology focuses on the aspect of load times it can impact.
The key to AMP’s short load times is primarily in the reduction of files that have to be loaded. Another important factor is a proxy server that keeps a cache of the target page ready. This content is transmitted over a Content Delivery Network.
How Does an AMP Plug in Work?
AMP renders your pages using optimized HTML code. This results in pages loading faster because it eliminates aspects that would slow down the page.
Pros of AMP
AMP presents users with a stripped-down version of web content, which has several benefits. These include:
- Better website loading time: AMP helps sites deliver faster content by eliminating non-essential elements (ads, videos, etc.). This is great for the majority of people that want fast news on their mobile devices.
- Higher search rankings: AMP may not be an official ranking factor, but speed is. Meaning using AMP to make your site load faster could boost your Google ranking.
Cons of AMP
Not everyone is on board with AMP. In fact, there has been quite a bit of pushback. So, what are the cons of AMP? Here’s what you need to know before making the move.
- Reduced ad revenue: Fewer ads show up on AMP pages, which is great for speed but not so great if that is a major source of your income.
- Limited analytics: You cannot use standard analytics tags on AMP pages, as the page actually sits on Google servers. This makes it hard to see how changes impact traffic and reduces traffic to your.
- Less control over content and design: AMP strips out a lot of “unnecessary” elements, but that can include features for branding and driving traffic to other pages. This can make your content harder to understand if your content relies on or heavily references photos or media that are taken off the page by AMP.
As you can see, the cons of AMP outweigh the pros in many cases. The main goal of AMP is to make the web faster. If you do not feel that AMP is the best way to accomplish that there are other ways to do so, like:
- Using a content delivery network
- Using smaller media files
- Fixing potential ‘bulkiness’ in your website code
- Taking a look at what plugins you have or how many you have, to see if they are weighing your site down
Is AMP Dead?
In the last few years, however, there’s been less talk about AMP. Earlier this year Google quietly removed the AMP symbol from search results.
But no, AMP is not dead. But the difference is you can now achieve the same mobile speed and organic ranking performance with many other methods in 2021. It’s up to developers and SEO writers to decide which optimization method fits their site best for their business needs.
Does AMP Still Affect SEO?
The real question is does AMP really effecting SEO in 2012? Yes. However, from now on it doesn’t really matter of you use AMP or not. All you have to do is create a great page experience and meet Google’s ranking factors.
Also, if you use AMP and it’s working for you, there’s no need to change that. The AMP Project is improving features and capabilities all the time. Why not benefit from that?
Who Are AMPs Best for?
- You struggle with page speed, despite optimizing your website for speed.
- Most of your website traffic comes from mobile devices.
- A large percentage of your content is timely news content that you want to show up in Top Stories.
Best Practices When Using AMPs
- Make sure it makes sense for your website: AMP is no longer as useful as it once was, so check to see if it makes sense for your site by reading the section on who AMP is best for.
- We recommend WordPress websites: The AMP WordPress plug-in is pretty user-friendly but implementing it on your own is not a simple task. Contact or hire a web developer.
- Don’t implement AMP on high-traffic or high converting pages: AMP strips out elements like opt-in forms and branding, so don’t use AMP on pages you use to build your brand or generate leads.
- Test to see if AMP is really worth it: AMP does support A/B and multivariate testing, so pay attention to how it impacts metrics like conversion rate or time on page, for example.
- What is the goal of AMP?
- Is AMP relevant in 2021?
- How does AMP make websites load faster?
- Why is page loading time important?
- How long should it take for a page to load?