WHAT EXACTLY ARE ACCELERATED MOBILE PAGES?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) are separate, stripped-down versions of traditional HTML pages, using a condensed markup language appropriately named AMP HTML.

AMPs were officially announced in October 2015 as an open standard project backed by Google, Twitter, and WordPress. Google has already been promoting AMPs heavily in 2016 in response to similar, existing mobile experiences like Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles.

WHY IS GOOGLE SUPPORTING THIS INITIATIVE?

The goal is in the name. These alternative page types are meant to increase page load times, specifically when it comes to mobile devices on slow-loading connections.

In essence, AMPs limit the number of traditional webpage tags/functionality (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, etc.) supported by standard HTML webpages, but also make use of a few new tags created specifically for AMP HTML, all in the name of improving load times for users. Pre-rendering of content on mobile and caching by Google also help make AMPs far faster than standard webpages.

HOW DO AMPs IMPACT SEO?

Although Google officially supports responsive design as the preferred SEO method for handling standard webpages on mobile devices, the unavoidable truth is that responsive pages are often too large for mobile devices, and require a significant amount of resources be loaded that are not relevant (or at the very least not streamlined) for mobile browsers.

The interesting subtext of AMPs in the context of SEO is Google’s significant support of a completely new way to build webpages to improve (essentially) one thing: page load time. Search professionals have long known this to be a metric essential to improving organic search performance, though AMPs should be interpreted as Google acknowledging site speed as paramount in providing searchers with the best user experience possible.

WHO SHOULD BE LOOKING AT AMPs RIGHT NOW?

Unless you’re a large-scale publisher/news site, there’s little reason to adopt AMPs right now. Improving the load time of your responsive site pages is still the way to go for the most SEO benefit. AMPs do allow you to serve editorial content while also allowing for ad-based revenue (such as Google’s display network), which only makes sense for the news/publishing industry in most cases.

You can always learn more search tactics to implement for your mobile site by downloading our ebook!

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Also published on Medium.