AMP – A Waste of Time, or Not?
Nowadays, one of the key aspects of optimizing your website through responsive web design is optimizing for mobile.
Since over 51% of mobile users find new companies and products by searching online from their smartphones, making sure your company’s site is structured correctly for both desktops and smartphones is a must.
Google found a way to help with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs), which create a faster user experience for those on mobile. But are AMPs really worth the effort in the long run when there are already so many options for optimization?
What is Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
Before we dive in, let’s take a look at what AMPs actually do. Basically, AMPs are specific webpages created to make mobile browsing faster with a reduced page load speed. This can be an important feature to consider when higher page loading times mean that less users will be willing to interact further with your site.
How Do AMPs Work?
AMPs are open source initiatives, created with streamlined HTML coding in order to render webpages faster. They are compatible through several browsers, and when implemented correctly, have the potential to increase user traffic and improve SEO rankings.
Google ad landing pages are also compatible with AMPs. They are able to be tracked and optimized with many of Google’s built-in protocols and tools. Google has placed a lot of emphasis on utilizing AMPs with landing pages, and for good reason.
Faster load speed on mobile devices can lower your bounce rate, or how long someone views an ad before navigating away from it. A more responsive user interface will make users more likely to click on your ad (otherwise known as the click through rate), which can increase your number of conversions.
And that’s really the goal of AMPs overall – optimizing the user experience in order to increase web traffic, and in the process, helping to generate mobile leads.
How Has AMP Changed Since its Release?
AMP by Google was first released on October 7, 2015. In February of 2016, Google announced that AMPs would be integrated into mobile search results, giving new challenges to SEO marketers optimizing for mobile.
However, December of 2018 marked an important moment, where WordPress partnered with AMP and Google to release an official AMP plugin. While this didn’t do much for everyone else, it certainly gave a leg-up for WordPress sites.
What You Gain with AMP
The basic premise of AMPs is simple: faster-loading speed for mobile web pages can exponentially increase your mobile web traffic. Since over half of users are both browsing and consuming from their smartphones, this can be crucial to your bottom line.
But here’s how:
Improvements in Responsive Web Design
The goal of responsive web design is to ensure that webpages are designed to maximize the user interface. In other words, responsive web design creates a clearly navigable sitemap that can be accessed from any kind of device: desktops, iPads and tablets, and of course, mobile devices.
It also ensures that webpages load quickly, are well organized, and are easy to read, so it goes to reason that AMPs can help improve responsive web design as a whole.
Enhanced User Experience
UX design, also called user experience design, focuses on improving the user experience. It incorporated structured and clear hierarchies of information within webpages and the sitemap to help people access and better understand the information on your site.
But again, this involves both mobile optimization and page loading speed, along with responsive web design to create an excellent user experience. AMPs can go a long way to expedite that process.
Potential Drawbacks of Implementing AMP
While the benefits of AMPs look extremely promising, there are a few essential tips to keep in mind when it comes to implementing AMPs into your mobile content strategy.
AMP coding may utilize a stripped-down version of HTML, but in order for the pages to be rendered correctly, there are certain HTML tags that just won’t work with AMPs. Script, base, embed, and frame tags are all examples of these.
According to GitHub’s guide to AMP HTML coding, “XML-related attributes, such as xmlns, xml:lang, xml:base, and xml:space are disallowed in AMP HTML.”
Though of course, there are also tags that must be included for AMPs to work within your site, like AMP boilerplate code that helps form the basic structure of the page. Other common tags that have their own specifications in AMPs are:
- Style tags
- Video tags
- Audio tags
- Img tags
While GitHub’s guide has some pretty helpful notes about attributes, stylesheets, and other properties, AMP itself has an extensive table of contents on page markup guidelines. It details information on:
- Other AMP Components
Once the AMP is created, it must be validated using a built-in developer tool in Google Chrome. Any issues within the page will be highlighted for you to fix.
As you can see, there’s a lot to work with, and web developers have a heavy task ahead of them when it comes to creating functional AMPs that still retain the same design themes, style, and tone of your site.
What This Could Mean for Your Mobile Content Strategy
The question remains: jump on the AMP bandwagon, or not?
The Case for Mobile SEO
Even though the process of creating and integrating AMPs within the rest of your web content may have a learning curve, the fact of the matter is, loading speed is directly linked to developing good SEO—both for mobile and non-mobile platforms.
Your mobile search rankings could improve exponentially with an increase in mobile user traffic, and sites with higher rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs), ultimately, make more conversions.
The Case for Google Ads
AMPs are also easily made compatible with paid ads and landing pages. Google makes them simple to optimize, as well as to track clicks and conversions with specialized tags.
With so many tools at your disposal, measuring ROI on AMP data becomes that much more straightforward.
Creator: Shay Berman, the founder of Digital Resource.