11 Jul, 2016

What You Need to Know About AMP Pages

The strapline for the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project is “Instant. Everywhere” and this does rather neatly capture exactly what AMP pages are all about. Essentially the AMP Project is a new, open source initiative from Google aimed at developing a faster, open mobile web.
It’s a well-timed initiative from Google (unsurprisingly) as smartphones continue to revolutionise the way we access and consume information online. According to Ofcom, the UK is now officially a smartphone society, as we see 33% of internet users valuing these devices as their most important tool for getting online.

With that figure only increasing, it does pose several challenges for marketers and web developers going forward like how can we make our content more mobile friendly? And how can we improve the user experience for people searching and consuming content through these devices?

Though great strides have already been made in this area, such as the rise of Responsive Design and the recognition of page load speeds as an important SEO and usability factor, there is still more to be done, and AMP pages are definitely part of the next steps.

So what is an Accelerated Mobile Page?

In a nutshell, it is a stripped down version of a mobile webpage that serves the purpose of allowing much faster load times. Due to the stripped down nature of AMP pages, many of the coding practices and functionality web developers are accustomed to, can no longer be used. Instead AMP pages are restricted to minimal HTML, minimal CSS and inline styles, so creating them is tricky business, particularly in ASP.NET!

Where do AMP pages appear in search?

Once you’ve built your AMP pages you could be in for a bit of a waiting game too, before you reap the full rewards for all your hard work.

Like all content, Google needs to crawl and index these pages first, before they can start appearing on search results pages. Moreover, as AMP pages were initially launched in Beta with a select number of publishers, these sites are currently dominating the AMP results.

When your AMP pages do start being served to users, you can expect them (providing they’re properly optimised of course) to start appearing in Google News and the AMP Carousel, which is a Top Stories carousel. AMP pages can also be accessed from bookmarks, general search results and directly through a browser just like normal web pages.

The Future for AMP

At present AMP pages have been adopted for news and article content delivered through Google search results and this is something we’ve successfully implemented on the New Home Finder website across their New Home Info section.  

However, in what we think is a rather telling move, the famous auction site EBay recently announced their adoption of AMP pages across their entire site, even managing to successfully create AMP pages for their product browsing pages (which you can view here).

This move seems to be a good indication that the use of AMP pages is soon going to expand across new business sectors, moving away from being just a requirement for publisher sites and instead moving towards becoming the standard best practice for companies intent on dominating the mobile web.

We definitely think Accelerated Mobile Pages are one trend to watch over the coming months.

If you’re interested in AMP pages and what they could do for your digital performance, get in touch with one of our digital experts today.