Google AMP Project

By Cale Loken | Google

Dec 15
Google AMP Project

Learn More About Google AMP

Google Mobile SearchEarlier this year Google announced the rollout of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This new project is going to have a long-term impact for search marketers and content publishers. AMP is helping websites load faster on mobile devices. The new speed is going to change a few things about how the open web works. Google has created its own version of HTML, the code that is the backbone of the web. AMP was created to help streamline mobile webpages using a common library of code. Googles data shows that users abandon websites just after three seconds if the content hasn’t loaded quickly enough; which is not just a problem for mobile user, but also for publishers who want readers to enjoy their content.

In just a short few months, Google has gotten hundreds of publishers, technology companies and even ad-tech businesses taking part in the AMP project. Webpages using AMP will load on average four times faster and use 10 times less data compared to non-AMP sites according to Google, in many cases they will even load instantly! Google says it’s seen success already. In test such as Pinterest, they found that AMP pages’ load 4 times faster. Another feature that makes AMP great, is the ability for users to swipe quickly through the search results with the ability flip from one full-page AMP story to the next. “We see this trend around people consuming content in distributed ways,” says Google’s Rudy Galfi, the AMP product manager. “People aren’t coming in through the homepage as much as they’re coming in through social media apps, like Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, or they’re coming in through something like Google. “The way we thought about building AMP is also how can we help publishers thrive in this environment?”

AMP allows for this lightning fast speed in two ways. First, a new narrow set of web technologies will need to be used by web developers. Second, when you visit an AMP page via Google search, it serves pages from its own servers. AMP creates an alternative version of your website that correlates with the requirements of the AMP project.

To get an AMP-optimized site, you need to give your website a separate address. Typically, that address will look something like this, yoursite.com/amp. If you’re currently using WordPress, you’re in luck, there’s a plugin that will create this alternative version for you automatically. AMP is quite flexible, it can even be used to build entire sites, but it doesn’t yet support all pages and user interactions. It is currently designed for content and publishing sites. Google explains that they want AMP to be a great platform and that it still needs to evolve.

All of this is going to bring about a big change in how Google’s search engine works. In the past, Google was just used as in index that brings users to other websites. With AMP search results, if readers want to share a link to an AMP page they’ve found through Google search, the link won’t point back to your site, but instead Google.com. With the new AMP search results, Google is keeping readers on its own servers. This allows for more of the web to be shaped by Google.
There is a pretty significant impact for publishers that don’t opt into AMP immediately. Because the AMP module appears at the top of the search engine result page, making organic results pushed farther down. This could cause for a decrease in impressions and clicks sites receive.

Jonathan Abrams, Nuzzel founder, says that pages like the New York Times are now optimized with Google’s new code, and their site loads in less than half a second. This is in comparison to the usual loading time of around six seconds. Google says AMP would solve many of the problems of slow-loading pages filled with megabytes of tracking scripts and annoying pop-up adds. The company states that publishers will still have control over their ads and they will be supported by AMP pages. With that being said AMP is not allowing the annoying pop-up ads called, “interstitials”. Malte Ubl, AMP’s technical lead says, “We don’t have a lot of opinions about what ads can do, but we definitely don’t want them to obscure content”.

AMP is Google’s response to Facebooks latest development of “Instant Articles”. This allows various publishes the ability to post their content directly to Facebook’s mobile platform. This development imposed a threat to googles web advertising and Google will also suffer when more content gets posted in Facebooks new feature, the less there is available for Google to search. Google recognized the threat that Facebooks new feature had on Google’s ability to serve ads. This is why Google’s new project is titled Accelerated Mobile Pages. Google already knows how to get ads to desktop users.

Frequent internet users won’t complain about the faster load times the AMP project provides them with, but for ad-supported sites and service there are a lot of details that need to be worked out. Dave Besbris, VP of engineering at Google says, “Ads are an important part of the ecosystem… Ads fund content. It’s really important that ads work very well in this model as well.” Besbris acknowledges that some ads are invasive, especially on mobile. The AMP format will ensure that ads are delivered in a way that enhances the page. While AMP is doing more than just addressing the causes of ad blocking, it will try to address problems that alienate users, Besbris adds. “We’ve structured the AMP page so content doesn’t get blocked by ads. They can’t jump out of the page. In AMP, ads are designed to work really well. AMP doesn’t permit bad ad experiences.” Besbris also emphasized the importance of allowing publishers to make money from ads. “It’s important to make sure publishers can monetize. We’re really focused on it.”

Google’s senior director of news and social products, Richard Gingras described AMP as a “deal-less environment,” meaning that Google will not charge for AMP and there are no commercial relationships between Google or any of the publishers involved in the project.

If you want the demo on AMP, it shows how AMP will work when it is integrated into search results. You’ll notice that during the video, the user never leaves Google. The new AMP pages are layered over Googles search page. This will give users the feel that is just like using a mobile app. When you search for something on Google from your mobile device, websites using AMP will appear at the Top Stories section on your results page. Any site you choose to read using AMP will load insanely fast; making it easier to scroll through the article without the site jumping around as you read or taking forever to load. Though there is a lot that AMP has to work on, with the potential AMP holds, it’s going to be interesting for the world to see what the future holds.

How AMP works

AMP is allowing content publishers to stream their content online more quickly to mobile users. It will help simplify the, confusing to many, HTML, CSS and JavaScript elements. This leaves you with a page that only contains the most important content. According to Google, websites that agree to use this benefit from a 15 to 85% performance improvement. The new code, allows publishers to forget the megabytes worth of the same programming on every webpage.

Why AMP was created

Google is always interested in improving the user experience and of course in finding ways to create more advertising revenue. Google realized that there was a 29% drop off when mobile users tried to reach a site that was too slow, or didn’t provide the information they wanted right away. They also found a 58% drop off if your site takes more than 10 seconds to load. Goggle hopes that AMP will load pages faster for mobile users along with seamlessly integrating ads. Google hopes the creation of AMP will leave less frustration for users allowing them to view their content easily.

AMP and your brand

AMP helps takes the guesswork when it comes to improving site speed with the possibility of changing content consumptions completely for mobile users. If your brand relies heavily on organic searches, them watching how AMP will impact Googles organic modules should be on your radar in the immediate future. Currently AMP does not force publishers to use a proprietary solution, like Facebook’s or Apple’s. AMP has many benefits that you can’t get using traditional HTML and other coding. If you choose to make the switch, Google is guarantying that your pages will load very fast. Polar CEO Kunal Gupta said that he expected AMP to increase in page views and engagements. With AMP, publishers can ensure their viewers will be able to effortlessly view their published content from any location. Google realizes that having a reliable distribution across all platforms is an essential requirement. David Besbris, vice president of engineering and search writes, “It’s a core goal of the project to support subscriptions and paywalls.” The best part of AMP is the fact that Google’s cache servers are available for free, to anyone!

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About the Author

Minneapolis is where I work, eat, play and sleep. Digital Marketing Consultant. Ghostbuster. I've worked in digital marketing for several years, mainly working with businesses on overall digital strategy, including building and ranking their websites on the first page in search engines. Businesses want to invest in a successful website that ranks well on Google and is easy to add features, content and can be scaled. The problem is that the average hourly rate for a digital marketing consultant is $150. Many businesses don't have a budget to hire a consultant but could do much of the work themselves or by one of their employees if they knew how. That's why I created the Business Website Blueprint course. An easy, step-by-step guide to empower businesses to build their own, successful website.