Published October 12th, 2016
We all want the web to be faster. We want websites and applications to be faster. The average user is willing to wait up to 3 seconds for a website to load before becoming impatient and moving on to the next website for content.
What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?
Many of us have seen websites from The Washington Post, The New York Times, and other media organizations that load instantly without waiting at all. These are probably AMP pages.
AMP pages were created as a way for static content to be delivered quickly and efficiently to web users. It works by using the Google AMP Cache. This cache will fetch the URLs of AMP enabled pages so it can cache and optimize them automatically. The result is that pages load almost instantly. It's becoming a huge player in the social media community where content is shared, reproduced, and created on such a massive scale. The media creates millions and of web pages every month, and that content is required faster than ever before. This is where AMP pages come in handy.
You can usually tell when a page is using AMP technology by the trademark "Bolt" and AMP indicators in a Google search. In the image above you'll notice the "Bolt" in the top right.
How do AMP pages work?
AMP pages use a language based on HTML to provide quicker rendering of website data. This code will help inform Google of a new AMP page on a website and requests it for caching and optimization. AMP pages essentially use a very fast CDN (content delivery network) coupled with advanced caching to make websites faster for everyone.
AMP pages are primarily used on social media websites like Facebook and news organizations where content is produced at an astounding rate. They speed up websites on mobile devices where memory, processor speed, and bandwidth requirements need to be minimized. An iPhone 6s, or even an iPad, typically loads a website slower than your desktop even when using WIFI. This is why AMP pages are a necessity for the digital world today.
What about Facebook Instant Articles?
Facebook Instant Articles is very similar to AMP except it's Facebook's version of AMP for the Facebook app found on our Apple and Android devices. Whereas a Facebook Instant Article works within the Facebook app only, AMP pages have become a globally utilized architecture for delivering content reliably and much faster.
Facebook also states that having Instant Articles is not a factor in their search algorithms. Conversely, AMP pages, being a Google project, have become a ranking factor for their SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages). Traditionally fast loading websites using CDNs and/or caching applications will still show up in the ranks but could potentially be penalized as a result of not using AMP technology. Using Google's logic, like everything else they do, they want you to use AMP because it makes the web faster and more reliable. It's also cheaper for them.
Other than ranking, why should I use AMP?
There are many benefits to using AMP enabled websites. The Washington Post saw their returning users increase 23% from using AMP pages. They also noticed an 88% decrease in their load time. Phenomenal!
Slate saw a 44% increase in monthly unique visitors and saved $85,000 in development resources per year.
Relay Media saw their website's load times go to 700ms versus 8-12 seconds for their non-AMP counterparts.
If you don't believe AMP has something great to offer your company and its users, you're missing the boat, and we'll wave to you from the sea. We're implementing AMP into our projects now. You should too.