Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) were launched in February 2016 and are becoming an increasingly common sight in Google search results on mobile devices. You can tell if an article is AMP as it will be noticeably faster to load (coming from cache and virtually instant) and it will have a lighting bolt with ‘AMP’ next to it.
The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is a result of Google getting together with dozens of other publishers and technology partners to try to solve the problem of slow mobile browsing. The idea is to reduce clunky and slow page loading times to improve reading articles on the mobile web.
Facebook launched its own version called Instant Articles back in May 2015 (which use a combination of HTML5 and XML) designed for the same purpose – to speed up people’s reading and browsing experience, albeit within the Facebook platform alone. The major difference with AMP is its open source nature and its ability to be adopted by a wider variety of platform, allowing anyone to cache and use articles. Rival social media heavyweight Twitter has signed up to the AMP Program.
What is AMP HTML?
AMP is basically a way to build web pages for static content that renders fast. They use a stripped-down form of HTML designed to be lightweight and fast loading.
AMP HTML example doc from Ampproject.org/learn/about-amp/
AMP JS Library on GitHub
The whole principle of AMP is to allow content to be cached by anyone. AMP pages you create will be hosted on your server, but then accessed by Google (or anyone that wants to) who will then cache a version of that page. Cached versions of the article will contain the rel=’canonical’ tag pointing back to the original. Analytics and adverting will still work on the cache versions so publishers can still accrue revenue and view accurate page views.
Who’s using AMP?
At first large news publishing sites were the ones to take up AMP. Now an ever-growing number of platforms support AMP, either by providing an AMP component or by offering integration with AMP. Publishers of any kind supplying regular news that rely on search engines to distribute, are likely to be either using or experimenting with AMP pages.
Current AMP collaborators from Ampproject.org
Ecommerce sites with large product databases and complicated functionality will no doubt find AMP too simplistic for the majority of pages on the site. But for those ecommece sites that have a content resource or a blog, there’s no reason not to adopt AMP on at least a trial basis to see if it improves traffic and/or search placements. It will almost certainly provide a faster experience for customers.