Everything you need to know about Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) Project

Published on Nov 09, 2015 in Android Developers Resources
Everything you need to know about Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page) Project

Earlier this month, Google announced its latest project, called AMP (Accelerated Mobile Page). In essence, AMP is Google’s own version of the HTML language, the code that underlies the web. This open-source initiative is aimed at helping pages load faster on mobile devices.

Over the last years, users’ behavior has shifted from mainly using computers to mobile devices, and currently most of the people use their smartphones and tablets instead of PCs to surf the net. From this social change comes the necessity to create a system that makes websites load more quickly on mobile devices.

The AMP code is already available on Github for programmers to discover it, modify it or ask questions.

What is Google’s AMP?

As described at its official website, “the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is an open source initiative that embodies the vision that publishers can create mobile optimized content once and have it load instantly everywhere”. In other words, AMP allows content publishers to streamline content templates with an open-source framework named AMP HTML. This new code is meant to simplify cumbersome HTML, CSS and JavaScript elements, offering webpages that only include the most vital content. In order to boost the display of these websites, AMP will use a common library of code, so that every publisher doesn’t have to include a lot of programming information in every page.

google amp project 1

Impact of APM in browsing, SERP search and monetization

Websites that opt into the AMP framework will benefit from speed improvements because the content templates share common elements and components: Speed Index revealed that performance can improve between 15% and 85%.

Google’s goal is for all published content to end up using AMP. Google’s big plan can however present some disadvantages for publishers, especially in monetization matters. While ad and analytics software is a very important part of the web and the main way to monetize it, it’s also the main problem when it comes to speed. AMP’s final aim is to show just the essential content on each website, keeping away the overload of analytics software.

AMP avoids including all the elements that tend to slow down a website, so it doesn’t incorporate any third-party scripts, especially JavaScript, which powers ad serving and analytics. Author-written codes have been replaced by HTML5 custom elements and web components. Anyway, Google knows how important ads and analytics are and they are conscious that they have to find a solution to support them, by coming up with a centralized library of code that can integrate with any analysis or advertising network’s back-end.

google amp project

On the one hand, monetization can be affected, but on the other hand AMP offers some advantages too. The most important one is AMP can help publishers provide an amazing user experience to their audience because they won’t need to wait for their page to load. If you are a publisher, AMP can also improve your visibility in Google Organic Search: the AMP module appears at the top of the SERP and pushes organic results and everything else down. From the search engine results page, users can click through to a list of AMP-compliant partner sites. Doing so will load that content almost instantaneously, as Google will also pre-render content above the fold for AMP listings. As a result, publishers who choose AMP will see how their traffic increases, while the ones that don’t opt into Google’s new framework will see a decrease in impressions and clicks, even with a top organic position.

Finally, AMPHTML loves CSS and wants AMPHTML documents to look like their authors wish, so they intend to allow extensive styling. In theory, AMP is designed to support beautiful mobile content, but the truth is that at the present moment the main problem is that AMP pages look too bare and way too more simplified than the original ones. Evidently, additional design work and CSS styling still needs to be done to preserve branding and design, because right now an original website and its AMP version look quite different.

google amp project

Conclusions: should publishers choose AMP?

For now, if you are not a publisher that can monetize breaking news queries, the AMP Project may not be the best option for you: even if AMP can improve your users’ experience, your traffic, your visibility and organic position, monetization will most probably be affected. From the AMP Project website they encourage all the people to help them improve this idea, and it will hopefully get better soon, finding solutions to analytics, ads, monetization and design issues.

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