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Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – What is it all about and should you be implementing it?

  • 5 March 2016

Back in October, Google let slip that they were working on a new open source initiative called Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in the hope of dramatically improving the performance of websites when viewed on a mobile or tablet device.

They're not the first tech giant to come up with the idea. Facebook launched Instant Articles in May of last year, claiming that publishers would be able to present their content to Facebook users 10x faster than if they visited through a web browser.

And let us also not forget Apple – who in September, released Apple News. Their take on how we should be consuming our daily dose of news. They implemented similar "instant" technology that enables publishers to push stories and content to users with little or no delay.

Why is Google getting involved if Facebook and Apple are already doing this successfully, isn't three a crowd?

You'd be forgiven for thinking that Google is trying to re-invent the wheel. However, their implementation of AMP is quite different to Facebook and Apple's attempt at creating super–fast news consumption.

Unlike Instant Articles and Apple News, AMP is open source and completely free. Meaning, developers and publishers can actively contribute to the standard and Google won't charge publishers to use it.

How does AMP work?

Google AMP
Accelerated Mobile Pages in Google Search

The purpose of AMP is to present web content to mobile users faster. We live in an era where web pages are crammed full of adverts, images and videos meaning a user, visiting a website from a mobile device, over a 3G connection, can have a pretty tough time navigating to the content they were after.

AMP changes all this and strips web pages back to the bare minimum.

Instead of using conventional HTML, Google has developed a series of components, called AMP HTML. AMP HTML has a strict set of rules that must be followed and adhered to for pages to qualify being shown in Google Search Results Pages (SERPS).

AMP HTML doesn't replace your existing pages that desktop users would see. Instead, you should create AMP alternatives alongside them. For example, we might create two versions of this very page:

  • https://www.wearepixl.com/blog/google-amp/
  • https://www.wearepixl.com/blog/google-amp/amp/

The first link in the list is our standard, non-optimised page that users not coming to our website via Google would see. The second link is the page Google would promote in search results and would use AMP HTML to present users with a stripped back version of our website so the article loads instantly.

Should I implement AMP on my website

Right now, there's no rush to implement AMP on your website . It’s currently marketed towards publishers like BuzzFeed, The Wall Street Journal and Mashable – just a few big names that have already jumped on board. AMP doesn’t appear to be a ranking signal at the time of writing this so there’s.

That being said, there's no reason why you can't implement AMP on your site right now. If you're running a WordPress blog, the guys over at Automattic have many if really simple for you with their AMP Plugin. If you're site uses a different Content Management System (CMS) get in touch and we can probably help you out.

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