Would your website benefit from Google AMP?

Should you be changing your website over to Google AMP?

What is Google AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, which is an accurate description of what the Google AMP project aims to do. According to Google, 40% of people will wait no more than three seconds before they abandon a website. There are many pages that take a lot longer than three seconds to load on mobile, so Google and Twitter, along with a number of other companies, are currently working together to produce open source code that will create exceptionally fast mobile web pages.

Why do we need Google AMP?

The number of internet users viewing content on their mobile phones, tablets and other devices continues – and will continue – to grow. Google AMP aims to create a better experience for mobile users by enabling much faster-loading content, including video, games, ecommerce and live streaming.

Another factor that triggered the Google AMP project was the desire to use the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so content appears in an instant – regardless of which sort of phone, tablet or device you’re using.

How does it work?

Google AMP HTML is a new type of code that is all about loading speed. AMP HTML is a stripped-back version of HTML that uses a completely open framework. It’s very similar to HTML, but there are certain HTML tags that cannot be used.

Other big changes for web developers include:

  • The only JavaScript that is allowed to be used is from the JavaScript library that Google AMP provides
  • AMP can’t include external stylesheets, with the exception of custom fonts
  • Some CSS styles have been banned from AMP because they don’t meet the high speed performance specifications
  • Inline style attributes are allowed at all
  • External resources like images must include their size in HTML

Who has started using Google AMP?

Google AMP is still strongly focused on reading content more than any other type of content, so the news publishers such as Buzzfeed, BBC, Slate, Wired and the Washington Post were among the first to jump on board. You can spot an AMP page in a Google search by looking for a carousel of images above the blue links on the search results page and they can also be identified by the Google AMP icon – a tiny thunderbolt.

While Google has claimed that AMP is not an SEO ranking factor (yet), it does affect the click-through rate, impressions, mobile optimisation and user experience of your website, and these aspects are Google page ranking factors.

The mobile web is a fast-moving, constantly evolving ecosystem and Google AMP is just one of the many developments that may or may not affect your company’s business.

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