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Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages Are Going Mainstream

February 14, 2017 0 Comments RSS Feed

Accelerated Mobile PagesWhen Google first announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, I was dubious that it would be a success. AMP is essentially a fork of HTML, a JavaScript library, a caching system, and long set of restrictions about what can be included on web pages — no third-party JavaScript.

I was dubious because if publishers wanted to implement fast pages, they could have done it quite easily using standard web technology. Not including huge quantities of JavaScript is a matter of discipline and policy. I reasoned that publishers want the ad tech and accept poor performance as the cost of doing business.

Since the announcement of AMP, it’s seen huge adoption from publishers, eCommerce merchants, and sites of every stripe. Google estimates that there are now 600 million AMP pages in its index. Companies as diverse as WordPress, Reddit, eBay, and SkyScanner have enthusiastically adopted AMP. It seems that publishers and developers do find AMP valuable.

Originally intended to speed up news results, AMP has also been embraced by eCommerce retailers, recipe sites, travel sites, and many other categories of publisher.

In light of the success of AMP, Google is gradually integrating the technology with its core mobile search experience. Since February, searchers on mobile may have noticed a small AMP logo in the “Top Stories” section of the search results. Clicking on those results takes searchers to an AMP page that loads almost instantly.

This September, Google rolled out AMP to an even wider audience. Mobile search results with an indexed AMP page now take users to the mobile optimized page right across the search results.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a change in the ranking algorithm. Pages occupy the same position in the SERPS, but as users become more familiar with the improved experience offered by AMP pages, it’s likely that click-through rates for AMP-powered content will rise relative to non-AMPed content.

If you manage a WordPress site, creating AMP pages is quite straightforward. Automattic was a partner in the launch of AMP. They created a WordPress plugin that effortlessly integrates AMP into WordPress sites, and that supports AMP-AD, the lightweight advertising mechanism that is part of AMP.

All site owners have to do is make AMP pages available on their site. Google handles the crawling and the indexing of the pages, and will automatically direct mobile search users to AMP pages if they’re available.

The key benefit of AMP is that it’s an open standard for the web, rather than an attempt to improve performance on a closed platform. Facebook’s Instant Articles only improves performance within the Facebook walled garden: AMP works everywhere on the web. Of course, that’s because Google makes its money from the web, but there’s reason to think that AMP has legs and will be around for the long term.

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