Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP for short) were the biggest and most adopted design trend in 2016, with hundreds of news and media outlets adopting the platform, and WordPress and other CMS platforms joining the project. However, AMP is still a mystery to many web users – and webmasters! In this article, we demystify the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, and answer whether you should (or shouldn’t) AMP-ify your website.
What is the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project?
What makes an AMP page different to a regular mobile web page?
AMP pages are designed for speed and readability; they are essentially lightweight versions of any given article on a website, where everything but the main content and a couple of ad slots are stripped away. This is because the AMP project restricts the number of HTML tags and functions that can be used on an AMP page, to ensure AMP pages load in under a second and follow a strict format.
Additionally, AMP pages load differently to regular web pages, where images and video content load on-the-fly as you scroll down a page. This, again, speeds up the delivery of content to users, so they don’t need to wait for the entire page to load before they can start reading.
AMP pages use stripped down HTML for a simplified layout that is similar across all AMP pages, except for the customised header.
Who is using AMP?
At first, AMP was almost exclusively used by news outlets like The Guardian and The Washington Post. However, the addition of more AMP features like video embedding and display advertising have opened the platform to more types of websites. In summer 2016, eBay announced it would be introducing AMP and since then Google has announced it will be pushing for more and more ecommerce sites to use the platform across Europe, America and Asia.
What are the benefits of having AMP pages?
There are two core benefits from AMP pages. Firstly, the user experience can be greatly improved, especially if your main website is slow loading or difficult to navigate. AMP pages are blisteringly fast versus even the most optimised landing pages, and as such, visitors can browse and access the information they want quicker.
The second benefit is just as significant – Google changed their search algorithm to prefer AMP pages over non-AMP pages. This means a web page with an AMP version of it is more likely to rank higher on Google (including Google News), even when on desktop. For news outlets this means more visitors, pageviews and ad revenue, and for ecommerces, this can mean quicker conversion times. For example, wired.com reported in 2016 that AMP led to a 25% increase in SEO visitors across their site and a 63% increase in ad clicks. Hearst saw a 29% increase in visits and 45% increase in ad clicks across their sites (including Cosmopolitan).
What are the problems of having AMP pages?
The biggest criticism levelled towards AMP is how visually homogenised AMP pages are. By stripping down web design to a basic set of HTML codes, many AMP pages look visually similar to one another (except for the branding and logos at the top of the page). It makes designing a unique user experience more difficult for web designers, however it is possible.
The limited interactivity also means many design elements we take for granted, like pop-ups, online forms, comment or chat features, and interactive visuals, are stripped away. You are also limited by the number and size of ads you can use on a page.
Is AMP suitable for my website?
If you are a news or media outlet with a regularly updated newsfeed/blog, then yes. The SEO benefits and improved ad revenues almost always outweigh any integration costs.
Users find AMP pages useful when they are looking for an exact bit of content, and Google will favour AMP pages over non-AMP. For example, BBC Good Food’s AMP page for roast chicken soup ranks top above older and more popular websites.
If you are an ecommerce, then you should begin considering adopting AMP for landing pages for your key products.
Who designs AMP pages?
We do. Speak to Oneclick Media Services about our AMP web design service. Call us on 020 8731 5266 or click here.