Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Explained

What is AMP?

AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is an open source initiative aiming to improve the performance of the mobile web and user experience.

Reading content on mobile devices can still be a slow frustrating experience leading to higher bounce rates and poor UX. The aim of AMP is to optimise mobile content so that its load times are dramatically reduced on mobile devices.

But AMP isn’t only about speed. It will also encourage enhanced distribution, enabling publishers to take advantage of the open web’s potential for their content to appear across platforms and apps efficiently.

Spend a few minutes watching this video with Paul Bakaus explaining AMP.

When AMP was launched, Google opened it up to various publishers and technology companies. The list is growing steadily.

What does AMP look like to consumers?

AMP pages can be easily spotted on mobile devices. They can be viewed in a horizontally scrolling carousel with AMP content displayed beneath the image.

When a user clicks on an AMP result, the user can scroll through other AMP content, or click the top left arrow to return to Google search results.

It’s worth noting that Google recently announced extended AMP support across the entire search results page, not just the top stories section. So watch this space!

What content types are best suited to AMP?

AMP typically lends itself to published content such as news stories, articles and blogs.

It’s important to understand that AMPs are not intended to be a separate mobile site. Responsive design is still very much the focus for most digital teams. The aim is not to redirect users to AMPs. And furthermore, not every page should have an AMP alternative. AMP is best suited to single article content.

Once AMP pages are created, Google fetches AMP HTML pages, caches them, and improves page performance automatically. When using the Google AMP Cache, the document, all JavaScript files, and images load from the same origin, for maximum efficiency.

How to I validate my AMP pages?

There are a few ways to validate your AMP code, as follows:

  • Using a web interface
  • By appending #development=1 to your AMP URL and using Chrome’s developer tools to check for errors
  • Using a command line tool

If your code doesn’t validate, it won’t get discovered and distributed by third party websites and won’t appear in Google’s AMP Cache.

Does it improve my Google rank?

The burning question for many! Google hasn’t published any information to suggest that AMPs will improve your SEO performance. Having said that, AMP content currently appears at the top of Google search results displaying the lightning AMP logo – so this may well encourage more clicks and traffic.

So, although it hasn’t been explicitly stated that implementing AMP will improve your SEO, it’s well known that page speed is a ranking signal and can impact your SEO performance.

It should also be noted that Google’s VP of Engineering, David Besbris, explained that when there are two identical pages, one AMP and one mobile-friendly, Google will serve the AMP page on mobile devices.