Sure, mobile internet is much faster than 10 years ago. Nowadays, however, smartphones have new difficulties: annoying ads that take up almost the entire screen, poor adaptive mobile design, and intermittent internet connections in some locations can be disappointing. If a page doesn’t load within three seconds, 40% of users will leave and never return.
These challenges prompted the development of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). AMP is a web component framework that reduces file sizes and limits the content displayed on a page. Pages built with the AMP framework are on average four times faster and use ten times less data compared to traditional mobile pages.
AMP introduces a new way of promoting businesses by increasing the ranking in Google search results.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
You’ve probably run into pages built with the AMP framework without realizing it. Have you seen a small lightning bolt icon to the left of your Google search results? This indicates a page that uses AMP technology.
AMP is an open-source project that assists developers in creating fast-loading static files. The project was created to avoid problems such as when you load a page on your phone and start reading the text only to have all the ads and images start loading and everything get bumped down.
Accelerated mobile pages consist of three major components:
AMP content delivery network
AMP is basically a set of specifications that can be combined into a solution rather than an end-to-end product.
How does AMP work?
Before we go any further, we suggest you watch the Intro to AMP video on the Google Chrome Developers YouTube channel so you can get a grasp of how Accelerated Mobile Pages work.
Let’s consider each AMP component in detail.
AMP HTML is a set of HTML tags made to fit AMP specifications. To increase performance, the AMP framework limits certain features and imposes restrictions on certain HTML tags by implementing its own versions of them. For example, there’s an AMP-specific image tag.
Another component is AMP JS, a library responsible for loading all external resources that are rendered on the page.
The AMP CDN stores a cached version of the page on Google’s servers. Most companies don’t have servers worldwide, and Google is known for its massive network of servers. If you have a small business and want to increase your page load time, you can opt for this feature. By doing so, your web page will be hosted on multiple Google servers for free.
Almost all script tags inside an AMP document must be asynchronous to prevent blocking rendering when the page is being loaded.
Who actually needs Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Currently, the major use case of AMP is for news sites like The Wall Street Journal, Time, The Washington Post, and BuzzFeed. They render lots of text, videos, and images, and need to load all files quickly. The same goes for content platforms. To be successful and keep readers engaged, they should push out content consistently, meaning they need to cope with large volumes of data. Accelerated Mobile Pages help such platforms manage a vast amount of data and ensure great performance. Users, on the other hand, can enjoy reading content without seeing annoying ads that block the entire page. Additionally, AMP allows web pages to reduce their bounce rate.
Apart from these use cases, the AMP framework is used by blogs, e-stores, informational websites, and anyone who wants to make their website faster, provide better user experience, and improve conversion rates.
To get the bigger picture, let’s take a moment to review some examples. The Wall Street Journal, a world-famous newspaper, has to handle millions of daily readers and huge volumes of data. As of August 2019, they had 65 million total monthly visitors. To handle such loads and ensure efficient and fast website performance, they use Accelerated Mobile Pages.
Another great example is The Washington Post. Every day, they publish thousands of stories and serve millions of users. As of March 2019, they reached 172 million digital readers per month. The Washington Post made a comment about their experience using AMP, saying that “we have seen load times average 400 milliseconds, an 88% improvement over our traditional mobile website. This has made readers more likely to tap on Washington Post stories because they know our articles will load consistently fast.”
Advantages of Accelerated Mobile Pages
Major benefits of Accelerated Mobile Pages:
Improve your website performance. Accelerated Mobile Pages are better optimized for mobile than regular pages – even those developed with a mobile-first approach – because they take into account the network connection speed.
Increase your search rankings.
Decrease the bounce rate.
Accelerated Mobile Pages support Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Safari, and Opera.
Disadvantages of Accelerated Mobile Pages
There are also some disadvantages of Accelerated Mobile Pages:
You have to develop separate AMP pages that are static, with /amp in the URL.
Your ads won’t be displayed unless you use a specific AMP tag.
Page data of Accelerated Mobile Pages isn’t calculated in Google Analytics. If you want to track your AMP performance, you need to add a tracking code to pages manually or using plugins.
Accelerated pages have less functionality compared to non-AMP pages. AMP doesn’t provide a navigation menu, related publications block, sidebar, or form to get user comments. You need to add these elements manually or by using plugins.
AMP requires sacrificing the visual appeal of your website.
AMP doesn’t provide additional widgets (for example, Facebook group widgets).
If Google shows your AMP in the carousel (special top element in search engine results page — SERP), users can read the content of carousel without leaving the SERP. That’s why your site may lose traffic.
Additional useful resources about AMP
To get a better understanding of Accelerated Mobile Pages, explore the following guides:
Summing up: Should I AMP-lify my website?
AMP is a good solution for websites that deal with huge volumes of data and need to retain fast performance. These can be informational websites, blogs, and news sites. For large projects, AMP can’t substitute for responsive or adaptive web design.
If you’re interested in using AMP or If you want a free consultation from our team, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to help.