AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages)
A Google framework for building web pages that enhances loading speed & the user experience
What are accelerated mobile pages?
An accelerated mobile page, or AMP, is a highly engaging framework introduced by Google in 2016 for building web pages. While the overall goal of accelerated mobile pages was to enhance loading speed and user experience, there are numerous associated challenges that have since prevented them from gaining greater traction as a web page model.
Accelerated mobile pages actually exist in parallel to regular mobile pages, meaning that content can typically (if not always) be found in two different page versions. The two pages are then connected with a special header tag, used by Googlebot (and likely others, in the future) for indexing.
Why is the accelerated mobile page important?
For most content producers, there are two main reasons why the accelerated mobile page may be attractive. These are:
- Improved user experience (via improved loading speeds)
- Visibility on Google and other
In an age where delayed page loading can mean losing a potential new user for good, accelerated mobile pages gives your web page a major upgrade. This is particularly true for websites with complicated and underperforming code and/or those which interact with other content as part of the platform. Accelerated mobile pages themselves require minimal investment to set up yet provide a huge boost to your user experience since most of the heavy lifting has already been done by Google.
On the other hand, if your website is well-structured and consistently delivers good performance, accelerated mobile pages are also valuable for improving visibility in Google search. In the AMP carousel Google introduced not long after released accelerated mobile pages, select (mostly news-related) queries are placed near the top of results pages and get increasingly special treatment as a result of AMP’s big-name supporters (excluding Facebook and Apple). If not for your users, accelerated mobile pages can still be an important search asset for you.
What are the limitations of accelerated mobile pages?
Since their introduction a few years ago, criticism from both the web and publisher communities alike has focused on two main areas:
- “Stolen” brand traffic
- Poor monetization capabilities
Given its fairly limited framework, accelerated mobile pages do not actually allow users to click to the content publisher’s web properties from the AMP page itself. Users instead are directed back to the Google search results, thereby “stealing” the brand’s traffic and making website performance more difficult to track in the long run.
The other major pain point with accelerated mobile pages is that they are very difficult to monetize. The “stealing” of brand traffic mentioned above also means lower traffic and revenue rates. Unfortunately, when many publishers began to adopt AMPs because of their display in Google search, they quickly realized these implications.
These reasons have made accelerated mobile pages slower to be adopted than other emerging technologies. While there are obvious benefits for user experience and page visibility, there are also numerous challenges that must be overcome before AMPs will be prominent on the mobile web.