— October 24, 2017
The Accelerated Mobile Pages project, also known as Google AMP is an open-source project designed to improve page speed on mobile devices. It was launched in February 2016 and studies show that websites using AMP technology load up to 85% faster than the same website without AMP technology. Though initially the project was aimed only at news stories from online publishers, it is becoming more widely used today.
Let’s talk about what it is, what it means for designers and developers, what it means for publishers and consumers, for search engine optimization (SEO), and why you need to be thinking about creating an AMP version of your website.
What is AMP?
The largest speed increase comes from the fact that Google hosts a cached version of the website on its servers. When a user clicks your amp website from the search engine’s results page, the content is served directly from Google which means it loads faster.
How Google AMP Impacts Designers and Developers
Designers are always advised to design for the user experience first, whether or not this means is harder for the developer to implement. Designers and developers need to place priority on anything that improves the user experience but be ready to compromise, if necessary.
It’s important for designers and developers to remember that any custom styling, widgets, and sidebar items will not carry over to AMP. Everything needs to be canonicalized correctly to avoid issues with duplicate content.
How Google AMP Impacts Publishers and Web Users
The whole purpose of the app project is to improve the mobile user experience. Research shows 47% of consumers expect a web page to load within 2 seconds and 40% of users will abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load. Mobile users expect their experience to be similar to that of a desktop experience.
If you don’t think page speed can negatively affect your conversion rate, think again. Just a one second delay can cause your conversion rate to decrease by 7%. If you’re an ecommerce site that earns $ 100,000 a day, that means you’re losing $ 2.5 million a year in revenue.
AMP removes the frustration of slow-loading Web pages and it removes the clutter of most ads. Since the website files are smaller though, it saves you money on data use.
It is worth noting that since Google serves a cached version of the website, when a user shares the ant version it will point to Google’s version of the website rather than the live version. This could result in negative effects on publisher traffic.
What Google AMP Means for SEO
Some SEO experts say that AMP will help you rank higher because it improves the user experience for mobile users with slow Internet connections. However, it comes with many challenges for a website owners and marketers.
Because of the limitations in the code you can use, it is not possible to add smart email opt in forms, Facebook like boxes, or other dynamic scripts. Google AMP supports Google Analytics but it does not support many other analytics platforms. There are also limitations on the advertising options.
If a large portion of your traffic comes from mobile searches, it may be a good idea to add AMP support so as to improve and maintain your SEO.
Richard Gingras, Google’s senior director of news and products has said, “[sites that adopt AMP won’t] get a massive boost in search ranking. Though because speed matters, he also said, “If we had two articles that from a signaling perspective scored the same in all other characteristics but for speed, then yes, we will give an emphasis to the one with speed because that is what users find compelling.”
Making the Switch to Google AMP
If you want to use AMP on your WordPress website all you have to do is install and activate the AMP plugin. Once it is activated, go to Appearance > AMP to see how your site looks on mobile devices using AMP.
It’s possible to change the header background color and text color on your pages. Whatever header background color you select will also be used on your links. Using the plugin also adds your site’s favicon and logo if your theme supports it.
To see what any of your pages look like, /amp/ the end of your URL. This shows you a stripped down and version of the same post you would see on your desktop site or your mobile site if you did not have AMP enabled.
AMP isn’t really a pressing issue for most people – and if switching means you’ll lose the features that allow you to engage with your audience and capture leads, then it’s not really worth it.