What, Exactly, Are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
In many ways, the core function of AMPs is described in its name. They are the result of a joint project of Google and Twitter, both aiming to make pages load more quickly for the increasing number of mobile users. They’re built on the knowledge that mobile devices now make up the majority of internet users, and that mobile users are even less likely to tolerate long page load times than their desktop counterparts.
While developed by Google and Twitter, accelerated mobile pages are not owned by the company. In fact, it’s an open-source project that any web developer and marketer can use to make their website more attractive to mobile users.
The reasons these pages load so quickly are complicated, but broken down on this website. For developer novices, it comes down to stripping inessential code and graphics that aren’t directly related to the content, such as external ads and complex navigation.
The Opportunities Provided by AMPs
Implemented correctly, the potential benefits of accelerated mobile pages range widely. First, and most importantly, AMPs increase user experience for anyone looking at your website from a tablet or smartphone. Pages load more quickly, and are shown without unnecessary graphics, allowing your audience to focus on the core graphics and images of the page itself.
Of course, it doesn’t end there. Google may not own AMPs, but that doesn’t mean your search engine optimization efforts cannot benefit from implementing this type of page. In fact, the search engine giant implemented favorable measures toward ranking AMPs into its mobile search index in early 2016.
Today, AMPs will most frequently show up as featured results under SERPs for relevant search terms on mobile devices. In the future, that impact could become even more significant: once Google introduces its mobile-first index, we should begin to see AMP as featured results on any device.
Understanding Potential Downfalls of Flawed AMP Implementation
Given the above benefits, integration of accelerated mobile pages especially for the most-read content on your website seems only natural. At the same time, the concept does come with some significant downsides, especially if you don’t get the implementation quite right.
For one, creating AMPs means duplicating existing web content. That matters little, until that content has to be updated. If you forget to update both instances simultaneously, your content starts being out of sync, and its effectiveness (along with your credibility) will suffer.
In addition, mobile device content cashes on Google’s server, not your own. As a result, you will not be able to glean the same types of analytics from it as you would from your regular website. Some metrics are still available, but especially advanced marketers might not be able to perform the same depth of reporting as they would from the full version of their online presence.
Ultimately, accelerated mobile pages can come with potentially significant benefits, especially if your audience tends to browse your website from their mobile devices. You can only take advantage of these benefits, however, if you nail the implementation of the concept.