You may have heard about Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), particularly in recent years. They were initially conceived by Google and Twitter to compete with Facebook’s Instant Articles and for new carousel results on mobile devices.

These days though, AMP is all over the organic search results, but you might not have even noticed. The project is almost three years old now, but development has slowed down somewhat and updates have been sporadic:

  • 24 February 2016: Google launches the AMP project
  • 20 September 2016: Google incorporates AMP into search results
  • 21 August 2017: The AMP project completes stage 2 of development
  • 13 February 2018: AMP stories are introduced
  • 7 December 2018: The official AMP WordPress plugin is released

Despite its slow development though, AMP has become pretty popular and many top publishers have already adopted AMP for their news and blog related content – so much so in fact, that the number of domains using AMP surpassed 31 million in 2018. Two years ago, the number of domains was less than 1 million.

What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are basically stripped-down versions of existing web page content, providing much faster load times by doing away with particular elements such as bulky images and back end code.

AMP speeds up load times by as much as a second. While this may not seem like a lot, but there are some statistics that might surprise you when it comes to how much a second counts when it comes to how you perform online.

One single second delay in load times can lead to:

  • 7% loss in conversions
  • 10% loss in page views
  • 47% of users expect a website to load within 2 seconds
  • 40% of users will leave if a site takes longer than 3 seconds
  • Google found that an additional .5 second can lead to a 20% drop in traffic!

I don’t run a news site or a blog – why should I use AMP?

Apart from the obvious benefits of faster page speeds, the other benefits of AMP are no longer confined to news sites and blogs. AMP also has benefits in the world of Ecommerce. There are some limitations though – for example, AMP doesn’t have a markup that is specific to checkouts, so users will be directed to your standard checkout, but how much effect this has on the overall user experience when shopping online is likely to be minimal.

For example, following the build of their brand new, responsive website, we converted Z2 Engineering’s website to an AMP website. This produced a substantial increase in both mobile and desktop pages, the stripped-down code used for styling is clean and efficient and the website still appears and functions very similarly to the original.

Should you adopt AMP on your website?

While it offers faster page speeds and is likely favoured by Google search results (AMP doesn’t have any direct SEO influence, but the page speed improvements are promoted by Google), adopting AMP does come with some conditions.

Firstly, AMP only works when users click on the AMP version of a webpage. There have been studies that show that the AMP library can reduce the number of requests to a server for a document by as much as 77%, however, the AMO version of a page is not always serviced if it’s not implemented properly.

The most substantial caveat that comes with implementing AMP means that you might lose some User Experience elements. Accelerated Mobile Pages prioritise efficiency over creativity, so you may not only be missing out on some images on your site, AMP pages will allow one advertisement per page.

Despite the promise that the AMP project has created since its initial launch, development has slowed, and users aren’t much closer to being able to recognise when they are seeing AMP served content.

There are tangible benefits to Accelerated Mobile Pages, it’s extremely useful for publishers and in the future it’s likely to play a major role in mobile search. There’s also a number of options that allow you to customise AMP documents further to make them more adapted to your SEO strategy.

If you would like to find out how Air Websites can help your business with a super-fast AMP website, get in touch today!

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