Go faster with Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

In our fast-paced society efficiency is essential, which explains why according to a recent Google study*, 75% of people will abandon a mobile website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to load. It seems, like road commuters, our Internet users are becoming increasingly impatient and demanding a faster user experience. One of the […]

In our fast-paced society efficiency is essential, which explains why according to a recent Google study*, 75% of people will abandon a mobile website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to load. It seems, like road commuters, our Internet users are becoming increasingly impatient and demanding a faster user experience.

One of the first organisations to present an opportunistic solution is none other than Google themselves. Google launched their open-source project Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in February 2016 as a way to directly address consumer demand for faster mobile web experience.

Since then AMP has been helping to reduce code such as Javascript & jQuery in order to make websites load much faster on mobile devices.

 

What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) are mobile websites that are designed to load faster when visiting from Google search results. AMP website links are tagged with a special lightning symbol next to the word AMP when viewing the search page.

 

amp-google-fast

 

The AMP project was initiated to directly address consumer demand for faster mobile web experience. It is supported by Twitter, Pinterest and WordPress, among other major publishers, and was introduced as a competitor to Facebook’s Instant Articles, which offer similar mobile web optimisation.

According to a Google poll carried out in 2015, the top frustration when users browse the web on their mobile device was waiting for slow pages to load. Indeed 60% of mobile users expect mobile websites to load within 3 seconds, and on average, 75% of people will abandon a mobile website if it takes any longer than 5 seconds to load.

[*source: User expectations https://support.google.com/partners/answer/7335657?hl=en&ref_topic=7327827]

The AMP project enables publishers to easily improve speed (and consequently, user experience) for their mobile readership, without sacrificing any ad revenue that they may rely on.

 

What makes AMP so fast?

AMP has web code and scripts stripped-down to the bare minimum to achieve pure readability, speed and to maximise accessibility and consequential retention.

To create AMP web developers can only use a narrow set of web technologies to develop pages. All resources are sized statically and intensive fonts, multimedia, css styling and scripts are all restricted. This means restricting the use of codes such as Javascript & jQuery, however there are some loopholes that allow publishers to include ads, analytics, and other pieces of JavaScript on a page.

All of the code is designed to be heavily cached so that Google can host these pages, hence AMP holding a specific Google URL when you visit via a Google search, allowing static content to render at high speeds.

 

How to implement AMP

Implementation of AMP involves creating an alternate version of your site that conforms to the specifications published by the AMP project, which consists of three different parts:

  • AMP HTML: alternative HTML framework with some restrictions for reliable performance
  • AMP JS library
  • Google AMP Cache

AMP gives you the opportunity to maintain two versions of any article page. For example, yoursite.com/yourpage and yoursite.com/yourpage/amp – the original version of your article page that users will typically see, and the AMP version of that page.

If you use WordPress, there are two plugins that will automatically create these alternate versions for you, and help Google crawl them.

 

AMP-GIF

 

AMP Case Studies

The below companies found AMP very useful in helping with their user experience:

  • Washington Post: 23% increase returning users from mobile search
  • GIZMODO: 3x faster page load time, 50% increase in impressions
  • WIRED: 25% increase in click-through rate from search results
  • CNBC: 22% increase in mobile search users returning in 7 days of AMP implementation
  • Fastcommerce: 2.5x increase in page speed, 15% increase in mobile conversions

 

As you can see many news and blog type businesses are using AMP as a way to keep their users engaged. AMP can also be used as a tool for businesses wanting to significantly reduce their page load time to boost sales and conversion rates.

 

Looking to improve the speed of your website? Get in touch with us to see how we can help.