AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open-source project evolved by Google with the aim of facilitating a smoother browsing experience for mobile devices. The project promises increased efficiency, enhanced engagement, and less utilization of data that benefits users and publishers alike.
How Does AMP Work?
In July 2018, Page Speed became a ranking metric for mobile pages, and AMP is here to serve the speed obligation of your website. In fact, AMP promises to produce up to 85% faster mobile browsing.
Page speed also increases specific AMP caches, pre-rendering and with the above-the-fold prioritization setting. In addition, the use of small files and media, and the server’s few resource demands brings further speed improvements.
AMP’s optimizations will also ensure your layout.
What Is AMP Caching?
If you publish a valid AMP site, your pages are automatically cached as part of the AMP ecosystem. The cache will store your AMP documents, fonts, and images.
There are two AMP caches in use today, Google’s AMP Cache and Cloudflare’s AMP Cache. Cloudflare’s servers alone cover 102 locations in 50 different countries.
The cache is updated each time someone accesses content, and the updated content is served to the next user automatically. This ensures the latest version is served quickly to as many people as possible.
In addition to caching the content, the cache server will also provide some optimizations and modifications such as:
- Validating the AMP format.
- Limiting image dimensions to prevent browser memory issues and poor responsiveness.
- Removal of image data that is invisible or difficult to see, such as certain metadata.
- Converting images to smaller and more mobile-friendly image formats, such as converting GIF, PNG, and JPEG format images to WebP in browsers that support WebP.
- Transforming images to lower quality if the request includes the Save-Data header.
- Adds support for responsively sized images.
- Serves over a secure channel (HTTPS) and uses the latest web protocols (SPDY, HTTP/2).
- Sanitizes AMP documents to prevent XSS attacks based on incorrectly closed HTML tags, comments, and more.
In addition to these optimizations, the cache will also complete many HTML sanitization processes to normalize parsing.
A full list of AMP cache optimizations is available on the Google Developers pages.
What Are the Actual Benefits of AMP?
AMP’s primary attention is speed. And that’s why the technology has already been adopted by many publishers like Google, Facebook, Baidu, Pinterest, and Twitter. The enhanced speed brings engagement and almost across the board lowers bounce rates.
AMP is particularly helpful in low-mobile internet access areas or in congested and slow public networks such as airports and coffee shops. And that’s why, when regular browsing is slow, content loads so quickly in their applications.
Research conducted last year in research on the total economic impact of Forrester Consulting (commissioned by Google) discovered that:
“AMP contributes to a website traffic rise of 10% with a 2x rise throughout the moment spent on-page. The research also discovered a 20% rise in sales conversions compared to non-AMP pages for e-commerce websites using AMP.”
Google’s Top Stories Carousel on mobile-only uses Google’s AMP cache to showcase articles, so it should be an automatic choice for many publishers to use AMP.
New York Times, eBay, and AliExpress are good examples of finding out the benefits of AMP. You will load the AMP version of their pages if you click content from these sites (marked with an amp icon) in Google search on your mobile phone.
Apart from the AMP ecosystem, it was the AMP Story earlier this year. Similar to Snapchat stories, many publishers are already using them. Good examples include the story of CNN about missions that are still exploring our solar system and the essential Black Panther guide by Mashable.
AMP Story Ads has recently been made available to all websites that use Google Ad Manager as an addition to the story feature. These are fullscreen advertisements that appear in AMP stories and are one of the many improvements that made AMP much more useful than even a year ago.
Should You Create AMP Pages?
You can rapidly serve your website by being smart with your mobile design. Google’s Jenny Gove wrote a great article about What’s Making a Good Mobile Site, worth a read.
There are plugins for WordPress AMP and Drupal AMP that can help you create content for AMP. Otherwise, quick-start documents from the AMPProject are a valuable resource for hand-coding your AMP pages.
In fact, the entire website of AMPProject is created and rendered in AMP, so it is a good illustration of how these pages can look in all resolutions, not just on mobile.
The bottom line is you should consider whether AMP will bring many perks to your customers. It may not add improvements over mobile pages depending on the services you offer and the content you represent. Mobile pages can also load pretty quickly with proper optimization!
How to Disable AMP
Caching is a fundamental part of the AMP ecosystem and automatically opts for cache delivery when a valid AMP document is published. Google has put together a guide on how to remove AMP content from Google Search if you want to eliminate your pages.
You can disable AMP Links and load the original pages rather than on your mobile if you want to stop loading AMP pages as a user.
AMP can offer some really powerful benefits-improved site speed, better user experience, and more revenue but only for those publishers that take the time to implement the AMP version of their AMP site thoroughly, and also address the tracking issue in analytics so they can see the true results.
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