What is Google AMP?
Google AMP, which stands for “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” was created by Google to help web publishers create fast, exceptionally optimized content for mobile devices. With this technology, even web pages that are rich with content like videos, animations, and graphics can be loaded instantly on any mobile device.
Although it is often referred to as “Google AMP,” it is an open source platform. It enables others to develop the concept further without licensing issues.
Google released AMP as part of its initiative to provide the best possible mobile experience to its users. This technology reduces search time to just 0.7 seconds. In contrast, the median load time for traditional web pages that are not optimized with AMP technology is 22 seconds.
Sites that utilize Google AMP technology can only be found when searching on a mobile device. Results are listed in a visual carousel at the top of the page. AMP web pages can easily be found because they are designated with a small flash symbol in the upper right-hand corner of the image. They can also be found listed in the Top Stores section further down the search results page.
How is it different from responsive websites?
Google AMP and responsive websites are both important website development tools, but they are different. AMP is only intended for mobile devices. Restrictions are in place to ensure the content on a web page is loaded as quickly as possible on cell phones and tablets, even on old devices or with a slow Internet connection.
In contrast, responsive websites optimize a traditional PC website for other devices, such as smartphones and tablets. This technology is all about how the website will appear on a device. It ensures the content on each page is displayed appropriately, scaling the page differently depending on whether it is being accessed on a desktop computer or a mobile device.
Responsive websites do not take into account the loading time of the site the way Google AMP does. Content that loads quickly and easily on a desktop computer may take many seconds to load on a mobile device. The benefit of responsive technology is that when the page does load, it is displayed in a user-friendly way, even if it does take a while.
Why fast load times matter
Fast load times are important because they dictate how much time a user spends on a website. The faster the page loads, the more likely users are to stay there. Longer load times encourage more users to leave, or bounce, from the page.
Bounce rates are higher for pages that take a long time to load. For example, over 32-percent of users will leave a web page that takes 7 seconds to load. Almost 10-percent of visitors will leave with a relatively short load time of 2 seconds. It has been postulated that there is a one percent loss in users for every 100ms delay in page load time.
Websites can keep users engaged with their page for longer with the shortest load times possible. With more mobile users than ever before, reducing load times, and bounce rates in the process, requires new technology, which is where Google AMP comes in. It is able to display mobile websites with a load time that is up to 85-percent faster than other kinds of websites.
Google AMP and SEO
Google AMP has important implications for SEO. However, it is not a direct search engine-ranking factor. No website will get a boost in its search engine ranking because it is optimized with AMP. Instead, it indirectly influences search rankings.
AMP sites are displayed in a carousel at the top of the page, which means they are automatically listed above other search results on the page.
In addition, speed does matter when SEO is calculated. Because fast sites offer a better user experience, AMP-enabled sites can rank better than others, when all other measurable metrics are equal.
Google AMP websites generally have lower bounce rates than other websites because they load so quickly. With fewer bounces, Google determines that the website has something valuable to offer visitors, which means it is likely to get a higher spot on the results page. Google may actively punish sites with slow load times, which makes having a fast-loading website even more important to SEO.
Pitfalls of using Google AMP
Although Google AMP has a lot to offer, it does have some downfalls.
As is the case with any new technology, it can be difficult to implement at first. It is a new way of building websites, and AMP has many restrictions that programmers may not be used to, so it can take a while to learn. However, once learned, it is just as easy to use as other technologies.
It is also important to know that the Google AMP platform has limitations. Its restrictions prevent coding pages in certain ways, so developers may not be able to design the website the way they want.
Currently, another significant limitation of Google AMP is the fact that when links are shared, they point to a Google.com URL and not the actual URL of the website. Not knowing exactly where the content will be loaded from, as well as complications to visitor identification with cookies limitations, can make using AMP frustrating.