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Google’s AMP – Crank it up to 11

The way that we browse the internet has changed quite drastically over recent years, with having to browse in the evenings so as not to have to deal with throttled dial up speeds being long behind us as we now have the option to find our favourite websites through fibre optic broadband, and of course through super fast LTE enabled smart phones. Not long ago mobile browsing overtook desktop and whether out of investment in the Android platform or in response to the growth of mobile web browsing Google launched their AMP project. In this article we’re going to explore what exactly AMP is, what it means to web designers and marketers, and why you need to go Spinal Tap and turn your efforts up to 11


What is Google’s AMP?

AMP isn’t as the name implies something that you’ll need to work with 2015s Chromecast Audio, but rather Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages is an open source project that aims to make sure that all of those mobile web users experience the best possible version of the web. Essentially AMP pages are intended to be scaled back versions of their full scale counterparts that utilise a specialised version of HTML. Websites that have been designed with AMP HTML in mind are minimalist, designed to run fast and much like the influences that Google has had on the mobile web in recent years they have been designed to work in the same way as a dedicated mobile app.

Mobile web browsing


What are the benefits of AMP?

The key goal of AMP is to provide a streamlined and super fast way to access content on mobile devices. At present Google claims that AMP pages load on average four times faster than their non-AMP counterparts, however research from people outside Google have found that this isn’t the case. However, the claim that Google makes ie., that AMP uses 10 times less data may be a little more accurate. With the goal being to provide mobile users with a much more enjoyable user experience when browsing the web. Using less data is a huge benefit to those browsing on a mobile data connections that are often limited by restricting data caps and charges. While speed is the clear goal of AMP, the broader aim is to encourage users back to the mobile web (and away from dedicated apps).


What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Let’s address the elephant in the room; yes, there are downsides to AMP pages. Firstly if you’re a stickler for intricate website designs that implements a whole lot of JavaScript then prepare to be disappointed. AMP optimised pages are exceptionally basic using designs that aren’t too far removed from the bare-bones pages that we had back in dark ages of the internet in the late 90s. This means that AMP pages will feature a header, text, some images and a small footer, and while these don’t have to be ugly by any means, they won’t necessarily include any of the bells and whistles that you’re used to. This means that you need to think carefully about the design of your AMP pages as they’ll need to maintain your branding as every page that you produce would, but without the benefits of a full screen desktop browser page.


The Advertising Ecosystem isn’t ready

The model for advertising on web pages has had a few tweaks here and there, but otherwise has remained more or less the same for some time; however the advertising model for AMP pages hasn’t really been solidified yet. Depending upon which side of the fence you sit, this is potentially a good thing. Keeping AMP pages ad-free is great for those who already use ad-blocking software to keep their web browsing experience as swift as possible but if you invest in PPC advertising the current model for AMP pages may cause you some problems. Advertising through AMP pages requires you strictly adhere to Google’s guidelines, which for some people can prove to be problematic, essentially making AMP advertising exclusive to a handful of advertisers. As we move forwards we imagine that these rules will become the norm and there won’t be an issue, but be aware if you rely on advertising income, as AMP might not be particularly beneficial.

Search engine rankings increasing


Is AMP a Ranking Signal?

We feel that full disclosure is in order for this section of our AMP article: there’s no clear evidence from Google that AMP will be used to improve the ranking of your website, yet. Google has a habit of providing what can best be described as “nearly complete” information, for instance they have long stated that links and meta-descriptions aren’t a big ranking factor but ask anyone who specialises in SEO and they’ll tell you that they clearly have an impact. Search Engine Land has reported that AMP is not presently a ranking signal but may well become one once it becomes more widely adopted. While thorough research has yet to show if this is true, we feel that this will likely become another tool that won’t necessarily be the difference between page positions of your website on the Search Engine Results Page (SERP), but will likely be the difference between individual ranking positions. We’re currently testing AMP at Michael Bell One and while it’s difficult to measure the impact at this early stage, we’ll have more information going forwards.


Contact Us about Amp

If you want to find out more about how AMP could benefit you or how the web development team at Michael Bell One could help you to tap into the ever expanding mobile browsing sector with a fully responsive website, then get in touch with us. At Michael Bell One we’re committed to providing all of our clients with a complete solution to their web marketing needs, from web design through to comprehensive SEO campaigns. You can easily contact James Golding or another member of the team by completing the contact form at the bottom of this page, sending an email to james.golding@michaelbell.co.uk or calling our Lewes office on 01273 478822.