What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), and Why Do They Matter?
The online business sphere changes rapidly and frequently. One of the newest and most important changes for businesses to be aware of online is the development of AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages. AMP-enabled websites could drastically change the way customers find businesses and information online. If you're a business owner with an online presence, you should know what these pages are and what they could do for your site.
What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
The AMP project started as a joint venture between Google, Twitter, and other companies to design website pages that are extremely mobile-friendly. They achieve this by stripping out many traditional elements of web design in favor of a super-lightweight page. These pages are then able to load and display very quickly on mobile devices (hence the name Accelerated Mobile Pages).
The idea behind AMP websites is that users will get a better experience from using a simple, clean website than they would from using a website that is designed to work on both mobile and desktop devices. Accelerated mobile pages are designed for fast load times and readability above all else. They lack most advanced features, and they aren't available at all on desktop devices.
Another odd feature of AMPs is they are not always directly part of your website. Because Google is concerned with load speed above almost everything else, they can actually download and cache your AMPs and display them on your behalf with links back to your website. In Google's view, hosting a cached version of your content will help it load faster and thus create a better user experience. The cache feature is optional, but could be a benefit to site owners.
What Sets AMP Apart?
In some ways, AMP pages are a response to similar projects from Facebook and Apple. Facebook's Instant Articles project allows select publishers to push their news and articles directly into Facebook's mobile feed. Apple's News app is similar - it lets partners publish content directly to the News app on iPhones. Both projects show stripped-down, mobile-friendly versions of content, just like AMPs.
However, the AMP project is a little different. A few of the things that set AMP apart are:
- Openness - The AMP project isn't part of an app or company ecosystem. It's an open-source collaboration between many companies. That means you stay in control of your content rather than having to host it inside another company's platform.
- Analytics - If you track who visits your website and how they get there, AMP won't interfere with that. You'll get full access to your analytics data from visitors to your accelerated pages.
- Availability - Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles aren't available to every publisher (although Facebook did recently announce Instant Articles was opening up applications). The AMP project, on the other hand, can be used by anyone who takes the time to implement it.
For sure, all three varieties - AMP, Instant Articles, and Apple News - are worth pursuing for publishers and businesses. With the growth of mobile content and web use, a mobile-friendly solution for your content will help your site be more visible online. Using AMP could also be a good first step for getting your content on Instant Articles or Apple News, which in turn look to be the future for consuming content on social networks.
Why Would a Business Use AMP?
If you're wondering why you would want to participate in the AMP project, there are a few good reasons:
- Search Visibility - The biggest benefit of the AMP project from a business standpoint is it makes your content more noticeable in search results. Right now, Google displays AMP results in their own special box at the top of mobile search results. This sets AMPs apart from standard websites and positions them for maximum visibility. Google's reasoning for this is obvious - it makes the AMP project more visible. But it's also a huge boost for any site that uses the pages.
- User Experience - Another benefit of creating AMPs on your website is it creates a better experience for mobile users. While users might not get the benefit of your site's visual design, they do get a compact and streamlined version of your content designed for a small screen. Plus, this content will load quickly even on a slow data connection, making it more likely that visitors to your site will find the information they need and contact you.
- Less Transition - Right now, the AMP project is the easiest way to get mobile-centric, fast-loading pages to your users. Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News host your content in their apps, making it harder for searchers to find it on the regular web. In contrast, AMP websites display right in Google search results.
There could be other reasons to add AMPs to your site in the future, such as potential ranking boosts for your website in search results. Right now Google says AMPs aren't a ranking factor, but that doesn't mean they won't be down the line.
In the end, the AMP project could be a great way to deliver a streamlined version of your content to mobile searchers. It could also help you get more attention online and make your customers happier.
Want to learn more about adopting AMP on your website? Contact us today.