Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and your Website
Since mobile devices are now the primary means of accessing the Internet with over 60% of Google search queries being submitted from mobile devices; unsurprisingly Google has recently changed their search algorithm to a “mobile-first” index.
Quite simply, this means google now “crawls” your website as a mobile user by default, rather than a computer user (as was the case previously).
In the not too distant past, mobile sites were generally terrible. Pages were slow loading, poorly formatted and many elements failed to be displayed correctly. The dominance of the WordPress platform in recent years, and it’s freely available default themes that are “mobile-friendly” significantly improved this scenario. Having said that, Google et al have recently decided that it’s time to take mobile pages to the next level with the open source Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP)…project.
What are AMP pages?
AMP pages are simplified, open source HTML pages that are very fast loading (up to 4x faster) for mobile devices. They are designed for speed, low bandwidth usage (up to 8x less data) and are helpful for easy reading on mobile devices.
When you see this logo: in your Google search results page (on a mobile device), it indicates there is an AMP version of the mobile site available.
Let’s get technical!
AMP pages have three main components:
- AMP HTML- A very simplified version of HTML
- AMP Content Delivery Network (CDN). Primarily caches AMP pages for fast loading.
How can I create AMP pages for my site?
If you’re using WordPress, it’s relatively simple. Install an AMP plugin for WordPress such as AMP for WP which helps you create and customise your AMP pages. Unfortunately, you’ll need to duplicate those pages you’d like to display as AMP pages, so you end up with two copies; regular web pages and AMP pages.
You can also use a chrome plugin such as AMP Accelerated Mobile Pages Desktop Viewer to view your site in AMP format.
Does my small business need to care about AMP pages?
As always, it depends! Businesses that are producing and publishing content regularly should start seriously looking to an AMP strategy. You probably don’t want to produce AMP pages for your entire website, as that would cripple your design and branding on mobile. For blogs, news and feeds and any other pages where significant amounts of data is published, it’s a good idea to create AMP pages.
Since AMP is reasonably well supported so far by content producers and search/social providers Google, Facebook, Twitter etc it’s likely to gain even importance over the coming years.
What about AMP and SEO?
Although there’s currently no consensus between SEO on AMP Vs regular pages, there should be no immediate changes to your current SEO strategy. It’s worth keeping an eye on this space over time, however.
In summary, as Google’s strategy has rapidly evolved to mobile-first, AMP Pages as with other mobile initiatives are likely to dominate search results and will become more important in the coming years.