What are Accelerated Mobile Pages? (plus, when to use them)

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages? (plus, when to use them)

We’ve all been there– looking to show your friend the coolest news story about your hometown/favorite dog/celebrity crush–and your phone won’t load the post. Come on server, work with me! This frustration is common among users on mobile, so Google has introduced a creative solution to fix this. Let the celebrity gossip run rampant.

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, are pages built with a new type of static HTML in a way that enables them to render more quickly for users. It is a game-changer for massive publishers and small-time guys alike.

You can see these pages in action on your mobile device. When Google displays news stories within their SERPs, AMP pages are designated with a small lighting bolt symbol; similar to Facebook instant articles. Here’s what it looks like on my iPhone screen:

AMP mobile search result

Go on, test it out. You’ll see that these posts load almost instantly.

How Does AMP Work?

To leverage AMP, a separate version of each page is created using AMP HTML, AMP JS, and Google AMP Cache. Google’s caching servers will then hit these pages frequently, holding fresh pre-cached versions of pages. When users hit the page, rendering is nearly instant.

Why AMP?

Users have come to expect fast-loading mobile pages, and it comes across in companies bottom lines. According to Kissmetrics, the majority of users abandon a mobile page if it’s not loaded within 10 seconds. A fast site equates to a better experience for users and stronger ranking in Google.

AMP was also created as a secondary approach to help big publishers get their heavy pages loading as fast as possible without having to go the traditional routes of chipping away at page speed. Here is the growing list of publishers that support AMP.

AMP Pros

  • Speed!
  • AMP pages could qualify for rich cards in the SERPs.

AMP Cons

You do need to create and maintain another version of every single page that you want to leverage AMP. (Some platforms make this easy (WordPress already has a plugin), but it may be a manual process for many sites.) It is also new and fairly limited in its roll-out, but will continue to expand.

When to Use AMP

Google created AMP for publishers and hopes to have all static content (articles, recipes, blogs, images, GIFs, news stories, videos, etc.) on AMP eventually.

When AMP was announced in October 2015, the beta sites that were testing it were generally large news publishers (think The Washington Post) that had mobile solutions in place but were suffering from slow rendering speeds. The best candidates were these large publishers with complex pages that equated to slow rendering.

However, as of August 22, 2016, AMP team has announced new, accelerated mobile pages for eCommerce.

However, as of August 22, 2016, AMP team has announced new, accelerated mobile pages for eCommerce

This is a huge improvement for the buyer’s journey and will undoubtedly increase conversions on well-optimized, user-friendly pages. Stay tuned for more eCommerce AMP news as we learn more about it!

Recommended Next Steps

If you have a site that qualifies for AMP (publisher, static content), explore the documentation for AMP to see if it’s a good fit. (If you’re unsure of your site speed, Volume Nine can conduct a site speed review to benchmark your performance and make recommendations outside of AMP as well.)

If you’re an eCommerce website, be proactive and find out how to implement this with your development team. Faster loading pages may lead to faster conversions.

We’re here to help you explore all options so that you can create a fast and mobile-friendly experience for your customers and keep you competitive in Google search.