What is AMP?

What is AMP?

22nd November 2015

With mobile traffic share continuing to rise it is increasingly a concern that websites are just not loading fast enough over mobile connections. AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an attempt to solve this issue and though still a proof of concept, already Google is involved.

So what is AMP? Using existing technologies, AMP is a framework used to build webpages that are lightweight and more importantly, blisteringly fast. By restricting valid AMP pages to using AMP HTML, a shared library of scripts and restrictions on the use of CSS, the project hopes to make mobile browsing a far more pleasant experience and with Google's increasing interest in mobile devices this can only be seen as a good thing from an SEO standpoint can't it?

When a website takes too long to load it loses readers, this can mean higher bounce rates and lower organic ranking but for others, such as media outlets, this can mean lost advertising revenue and this is where the project is currently being targeted. By having a second version of a webpage utilising AMP, content can be loaded almost instantaneously with images, videos and ads loading in after the text without the judder associated with asset resizing as the page loads. Javascript libraries containing robust solutions to common problems are shared over content delivery networks so once downloaded to a device other AMP HTML pages can utilise them without the need to re-acquire.

The trade-off though is that a second version of the page must be created and maintained. While this may be an issue for a bespoke CMS which would have to be updated to create the required page, one of the most popular platforms, Wordpress, are already developing a plugin to support AMP and we expect, should it be a success, others to follow.

Some developers are not entirely happy about certain aspects of AMP however. Load speed is not a mobile only issue and where do you draw the line between mobile and desktop? The answer is that it is still early days. As I mentioned, AMP is a proof of concept but Google seem enthusiastic about it and the demo, available if you are on a mobile device, seems convincing.

So is it a good thing? Media rich sites are never going to load instantly and hand tuning can only do so much. As a developer I have mixed feelings, I can see the benefits of certain websites utilising this technology to deliver news and information quickly but at the same time I don't want to go back to the era of the mobile friendly version of a site. At the end of the day though it's the users and customers that determine the success of a website and I'm a user as well, I too want information to be available instantly.

If you're interested in AMP or having a mobile friendly website, call us on 0208 099 9711 or email us.