Both searchers and search engines want webpages to be lightning fast. So it’s no surprise that page speed is a ranking factor in Google’s search algorithm.
Multiple studies have shown that page load time also heavily impacts a site’s bottom line: conversion and revenue.
Using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is one way to speed up your webpages for people using mobile devices.
AMP can present additional benefits: appearing in the AMP carousel in Google search, and offering a better experience to searchers.
Originally, the AMP solution was intended for media sites. Google wanted to help news stories come up almost instantly from the search results.
Over time, AMP has spread to other types of sites — particularly advertisers, ad-technology platforms and ecommerce sites as well as publishers.
Today, some websites do benefit from implementing AMP. Retailers and many others use AMP to serve landing pages fast. And ads in this format have a better chance of being seen.
If you’re looking for a way to make your webpages faster, AMP may be right for you.
You don’t need AMP at all for webpages that are responsive and fast enough already. Google’s Gary Illyes has said this publicly. And I explain why in this video clip.
Here’s a story to illustrate that HTTP/2 statement.
One of our consulting clients, a U.S. company, converted several thousand of its webpages to AMP. Four staff members worked for five weeks to complete the project.
The result? Their AMP pages displayed slightly faster to mobile searchers. But the website’s rankings and traffic were unaffected. In hindsight, their time and effort would have been better spent creating new content.
The AMP solution makes the most sense in countries/regions with slow network speeds. For example, our Bruce Clay India office has helped implement AMP for some clients there with good results.
If you believe AMP is right for you and you’re ready to start, I’ll outline the basic first steps.
To implement Accelerated Mobile Pages for your website and track results, there are three basic steps:
We’ll look at each step in detail below, and I’ll also link to AMP documentation for more info.
The first step in implementing AMP is creating a webpage template.
AMP integrates with many different publishing platforms. You can view the list in AMP’s Quickstart guide and choose your content management system to get more details.
You can build AMP templates from scratch. Or you can convert existing HTML pages into AMP format. The documentation gives information on all the options.
Pointers for creating an AMP template:
I like the idea of testing one or two types of pages from your website on AMP first. Ideally, include some pages that rank so that you can see if Google is serving the AMP version in mobile search results.
Depending on your site’s crawl rate, it could take a couple of days before Google finds, checks and indexes the AMP version of the page.
You’ll want to track the performance of your AMP pages. Since AMP analytics will be different from normal Google Analytics, read this guide to understand how it works.
You can track pages via in-house or third-party analytics. Many analytics vendors have built-in configurations for amp-analytics.
You can use amp-pixel for simple tracking and amp-analytics for everything else.
Technical recommendations as you’re setting up tracking:
If you’re wondering how AMP pages can possibly appear to load instantly, it’s because they are optimized differently than a regular webpage.
Below I’ve summarized optimizations that AMP does to reduce the amount of work a browser must do to display a page. (See the full list on the AMP Project site.)
Here’s what the AMP process can do:
This video explains how AMP speeds up webpages:
AMP is one way that you can speed up your webpages and offer a better experience to mobile users.
If you’re ready to amp up your webpages, follow the basic steps in this article and the AMP documentation to get started. You might even be able to attend one of Google’s AMP Roadshow workshops (see worldwide schedule here).
But my advice for most sites is: reconsider.
Unless it is critical to your business, please do not implement AMP.
The time you invest converting your webpages to a different format could be better spent creating good content that will serve all of your users.
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Bruce Clay is founder and president of Bruce Clay, Inc., a global digital marketing firm providing search engine optimization, pay-per-click, social media marketing, SEO-friendly web architecture, and SEO tools and education. Connect with him on LinkedIn and other social networks from Bruce’s author page.