Is Your Business’s Website AMP Optimized?
Jun 01, 2017
In November 2016, the landscape of the web changed — probably forever — when mobile device traffic surpassed computer traffic for the first time. Today, mobile devices generate more than 51 percent of the traffic on the web. PCs generate only a bit over 43 percent. Estimates suggest that mobile devices may also account for as much as 60 percent of Google’s® traffic.
Mobile device users are quickly gaining control over the future development of the web, and they’re an impatient lot. According to a survey, more than half of the people who browse the web on mobile phones will abandon a website that takes longer than 10 seconds to load. The impatience is logical when you consider what many people are doing when they’re browsing the web on their phones. They’re getting ready for work, waiting in line at the market and chatting with friends over lunch. They have better things to do than waiting for slow websites to load.
A New Way to Serve Mobile Users
Google® is the world’s most popular search engine by a wide margin, but it wasn’t always that way. To gain its position of dominance, Google® had to supplant former search giants such as Excite® and Yahoo®. Google® will remain the most popular search engine only as long as people continue to believe that it provides the best search results — and that means Google® must continue to innovate. Specifically, Google® needs to provide the best results to mobile users.
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google® project designed to build websites that load instantly for mobile device users — even those using slower 3G data connections. Most websites can become AMP-enabled websites, and implement AMP costs nothing apart from your own development expenses. Google® features AMP websites on its search results pages, so using AMP may increase your website’s traffic. Since mobile users are less likely to abandon fast websites, implementing AMP will also increase your sales.
How Does AMP Work?
AMP pages aren’t dynamic pages like the ones on a website using a content management system. When you load a page from a blog, for example, the server hosting the blog queries a database several times to retrieve data such as page content, multimedia, author information and reader comments. If the contents of the database change, the next user who views that page will see something different. AMP, on the other hand, uses static HTML pages. Your website’s content management system can regenerate static AMP pages when you modify your database, but the changes don’t occur in real time as they do with dynamic pages.
On their own, the source code changes that AMP makes to a website can lead to extremely fast page loading speeds. Google® makes the loading time instant for AMP-enabled websites, though, by caching AMP pages on its own content delivery network. Google® crawls AMP websites periodically to detect new pages and changes to existing content. When a user clicks an AMP result on one of Google’s® search results pages, it is one of Google’s® servers — not your own — that provides the AMP page to the user.
Is AMP Right for Every Website?
So far, we’ve focused on the very significant benefits of AMP:
- Delivers pages to mobile users instantly
- Puts a special mark next to your website on search results pages, drawing more attention from users
- May keep users on your website longer and increase conversion rates
- Alleviates the load on your website’s server
Although AMP has many benefits, it has drawbacks as well. The first drawback is that if your website has a responsive design, it already provides a good — albeit slightly slower — experience to mobile users. Implementing AMP requires effort, and you may not be willing to commit your staff to that effort when there are other tasks available that might result more directly in profit.
AMP also isn’t the only way to speed up a mobile website. Moving your website to a faster server, using a content delivery network and stripping away unnecessary code can all make your website significantly faster for both PC and mobile users. Improving the speed of your website through optimization rather than AMP also allows you to build a website that does more. Rich websites that behave almost like mobile apps, for example, aren’t currently possible with AMP.
Some website owners choose to avoid AMP because it’s a standard that Google® controls. Google® already controls one of your website’s most important sources of traffic — but Google ® doesn’t control what you can do with your website. Some may say, though, that Google® controls AMP websites to some extent.
So, AMP can help your website deliver a better experience to mobile users. Only your organization can decide if it is worth the investment:
- The associated development costs
- Giving users a web experience that’s less rich
- Adopting a web programming standard that one company largely controls
AMPlify Your Website Now
Supporting AMP is a complex process that involves creating a separate version of each page on your website, testing for valid code and reporting your new AMP-enabled website to Google®. It may enable your website to earn more money, but building an AMP website is difficult if you lack experience. If you make a mistake when implementing AMP, you can do more harm than good. You may even lower your website’s search engine rankings.
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