What is AMP and why should you implement it on your website?
Although the process of mobile surpassing desktop in terms of web-related usage and activities has been a gradual one, it has nevertheless become an unstoppable shift. A significant tendency such as this one was bound to lead to certain changes in the way websites are optimized for browsing. And this is exactly what Google decided to do several years ago. In order to give websites an opportunity to evolve along with the ongoing changes and trends, Google created the AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project.
Each new framework has a goal to improve your website’s user experience. This is a significant motive to dig deeper into what AMP is and how your company’s website can benefit from using it. We help you complete this mission by presenting you with:
- the definition of AMP
- principal traits of AMP and its importance
- pros and cons of using it on your own site
- how it compares to Responsive Web Design
The meaning of AMP explained
- AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source framework by Google that is free and gives the option of delivering content efficiently and with haste.
AMP uses specific extensions along with cache libraries, HTML, and JS – to help speed up the rendering process and make load time on mobile devices faster. To simplify it even more, this framework boosts the loading speed of mobile pages by using AMP HTML instead of standard HTML.
So, this free and open-source framework will allow your mobile pages to deliver content in a more accelerated manner. So even if your pages are rich in ‘heavier’ content (infographics, PDFs, video and audio, etc.), AMP’s specific extensions will improve the load speed of your site.
Why is AMP important?
Faster and more efficient – these words always ring positive in the world of business. If we consider the vast number of mobile users out there, adopting AMP sounds like a straightforward action that would prove to be rather beneficial for your site’s traffic and visitor retention.
By speeding up the loading time of web pages, companies can improve user experience and convince visitors to spend longer sessions on their websites. It’s simple logic really – faster loading pages lead to better engagement, resulting in:
- lower bounce rate
- better engagement with content
- higher mobile ranking
Be warned that AMP by itself is not enough to achieve these results. It won’t make your content more interesting or effective. if your content is irrelevant and boring for visitors, even the ideal page loading speed (anything less than 1.5 seconds) won’t be enough. Google certainly appreciates the use of AMP and making users happy. And efforts that serve to improve the overall mobile experience are often rewarded with higher rankings and more traffic. However, poor content is still poor content. And it will still lead to a high bounce rate, which will downgrade your SERPs.
What we’re saying here is that you need to find the perfect combination of fast loading time and top-rate content.
The pros and cons of implementing AMP
This particular framework was created to sync perfectly with all browsers and to integrate easily with some of the most widely used content management systems (CMS) the likes of WordPress and Drupal. Hence, a majority of companies have the option to make their website more responsive to mobile devices – a trait that is more essential with each passing day.
Still, making the decision between practicing AMP or not is something that is still open for discussion among professional web developers. Essentially, the best way to understand what AMP is and how it works is by getting familiar with all the advantages it could bring to your website, as well as the potential disadvantages it carries.
Reasons to implement AMP on your website
If we take a closer look at reasons to use AMP from the point of view of digital marketing services providers, we can divide them into four categories:
- AMP provides your website with faster load time
- AMP lowers bounce rate on your mobile pages
- It offers better flexibility than other similar frameworks
- AMP will benefit your site’s SEO
Improving the loading time of your pages
As the fundamental idea for introducing this framework in the first place, speed (acceleration) was and continues to be the foundation of the AMP Project. After all, mobile device users have high expectations when it comes to browsing websites, page loading speed being among the more essential criteria. So, to cater to the needs of mobile users, companies have the option to opting for AMP and the upgrades it brings to the table:
- Parallel Content Rendering. By allowing all of the components to load simultaneously and excluding third-party scripts (such as ads, for example), your pages’ content is loaded in a custom manner that doesn’t interfere with overall performance.
- Individual Asset Recognition. AMP uses HTML to present the entire page layout to browsers through underlying code (“static layouting“). As a result, the browser finds out what the layout of the particular page is even before any of its elements load.
- Inbound and limited CSS. By only allowing a single stylesheet and a CSS size of up to 50 kilobytes, HTTP requests are reduced and developers still have to use clean and efficient coding solutions.
- AMP limits the layout and style recalculations of pages. Browsers don’t need to recalculate how the content on pages will look before actually loading the page.
- GPU (graphics card) usage. By skipping CPU and handling images directly by the GPU, AMP further shortens page loading time.
Decreasing bounce rate
Mobile device users are the next evolutionary step in digital marketing. According to Google case studies, satisfying the expectations of mobile users in terms of loading speed plays a crucial role in their decision to spend time on your website and engage with your content.
Nowadays, being aware of mobile users’ expectations can significantly influence your company’s online strategy. Trying to keep up with your competition and stay ahead of it means enabling your pages to have load times that are almost immediate – thus minimizing your bounce rate.
It gives you better flexibility than other similar frameworks
Given how it was built with a clear focus on satisfying the immediate needs of mobile users, AMP offers the best speed results and is the most flexible framework for boosting mobile performance. Of course, one should also consider the alternatives that are Responsive Web Design or Progressive Web App. But at this time, AMP is still proving to be the dominant option among all others.
It will improve your SEO
Ranking your website in search engines is definitely among the most effective ways to grow your business and brand online. In 2018, Google unveiled mobile-first indexing, which means your site’s ranking will depend on its mobile navigation friendliness. This means that creating a high-quality SEO strategy for your business’ online presence means taking Accelerated Mobile Pages into account.
Are there any downsides to implementing AMP?
Each framework has its disadvantages, no matter how flexible or seemingly better than others. AMP is no exception to this rule and has certain disadvantages worth considering:
- Limitations in replicating overly dynamic pages. If the web design of your website is too complex or it contains a great many dynamic elements, AMP will not be able to fully replicate it. It is, however, a minor setback that can be easily bypassed if you opt for professionals to code your website. Experienced web developers will know how to sidestep an obstacle such as this one.
- AMP relies on cached information. When it was first introduced, AMP had some major issues in terms of Google Analytics tracking. The good news is that Google was able to resolve the issue in the past couple of years, enabling the possibility of tracking AMP metrics with the use of advanced filtering options.
- Developing pages in AMP may cause some additional work. You might need to build the same page for both desktop and AMP. You could opt for using only the AMP version of your website’s pages, but this, in turn, means you will need to put in some extra effort into replacing the existing pages. Keep in mind, though, that creating new pages in AMP is a relatively simple and quick process that shouldn’t take up too much of your time. However, it largely depends on your website complexity and your needs (e.g. if you have a custom form on your website, this can complicate things).
- Ad revenue is reduced in AMP conditions. Although this framework does indeed support ads on pages, they need to fulfill AMP criteria to appear on the page. Hence, the overall presence of ads on certain pages will be limited and result in a potential loss in revenue.
AMP vs. Responsive Web Design
- Responsive Web Design (RWD) is an approach to web design where one develops pages that respond to different mobile devices and resize themselves to match the screen ratio of each device. Whether a desktop monitor, laptop, tablet, or smartphone – the pages appear perfectly on each screen with the use of HTML and CSS.
With this definition in mind, there are in fact two essential facts to understand when comparing AMP and RWD:
- In terms of speed, AMP offers faster loading time than RWD does. Despite the mobile-friendly boost that RWD offers, it lacks the speed that AMP can offer to mobile users.
- RWD never had the duplicate content issues that AMP exemplified. Google AMP cache is a proxy-based delivery network and can create duplicate pages with different URLs. Luckily, this is an issue that can today be resolved by adding relationship links tags with a link to both AMP and non-AMP pages, or by using WordPress AMP plugin which does this automatically. And this is a simple endeavor with the assistance of professional web designers.
The overall verdict on this framework
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a framework that can bring some significant improvements to a website – faster page loading speed, lower bounce rate, better user experience and more revenue from mobile users. The flexibility and performance it offers places it ahead of other alternatives. However, it requires a professional and detailed approach to achieve optimal results.
If you would like to learn more about applying AMP or other frameworks to your website, schedule a consultation with our web design team today!