When it comes to load time, the user’s patience is at an all-time low. Google recognized this and has introduced what they call the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, an open framework to drastically improve mobile page speed.
What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)?
Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are mobile pages written with AMP HTML with the intention of delivering the web page content to the user as quickly as possible. This AMP HTML isn’t a new language, but is actually just HTML with restrictions that are meant to improve performance. These pages will use AMP HTML, AMP JS, and the AMP CDN (lots of abbreviations, I know). Here is a quick look at a very basic AMP HTML page in code:
As you can see, the HTML tag opens with <html ⚡> ( the opening of <html amp> will also work). On the front end, users will see a slimmed down, content-centric webpage. There are also a few other major points to this type of code. The first being a rel canonical tag pointing to the original, non-AMP version. All AMP versions will be appended with “/amp” on the URL, so this canonical is important to let Google know where the original page source is. Second, the JS used on AMP pages is hosted on ampproject.org. Because the format of these pages relies on this JS, this is an essential part of the code. Lastly, which you can’t actually see in the code, is the AMP CDN. All validated AMP pages can be cached by the AMP CDN and hosted on gstatic.com, ensuring a fast load time and greater page performance. Remember that canonical? That also ensures that authority is still built to your page and domain. Sweet right? For more info on the technical aspects of AMP pages, be sure to visit the AMP Project website.
What Does This Mean For My Content Strategy?
First, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, make it mobile-friendly. Really, stop reading this and go do that if it isn’t already. If it is, then good, but there is more to be done…
If you drive a significant portion of your website traffic via some type of blog, resource, or news section, then you better start looking to make AMP versions of your content. Why? Because of how AMPs will be changing our mobile (and possibly all devices, knowing Google) SERPs. Will Critchlow and Tom Anthony of Distilled had a hands-on demo of AMPs, and they report that in the demo, AMP results were displayed as a carousel above the regular blue links. Yes, you read that correctly, they will be displayed above normal results.
If these news/content pages are coming up before traditional results, it could be possible to get your content to show up in a similar fashion. This isn’t confirmed, but it is always a possibility. Plus (or really the more important reason), your mobile pages will be much faster using this AMP HTML creating a better experience for the user.
Do I Need Accelerated Mobile Pages Now?
Not necessarily, but it wouldn’t hurt to explore the option if your online marketing campaign relies heavily on news/blog content.
For those using WordPress, there is a great plugin that takes care of most of the work for you here. See the screen shot above for what a portion of that code looks like. For those of you that aren’t on WordPress, you will have to do a little more work and use the documentation on the AMP Project website for guidance.