The tag line Google are using is "instant.everywhere" but what does this actually mean?
Following on from Google's mobile algorithm update earlier on in the year, from which we have seen significant effects on brand visibility for businesses across the web, we see a further move by Google regarding 'instant and everywhere' with Google's Accelerated Mobile Pages.
AMP or Accelerated Mobile pages is Google’s plan to speed up the mobile web. The main purpose is to cut the load times of article pages enormously and deliver fast, uncluttered content to the user. It will mainly be used on pages with rich content such as video, graphics and smart adverts.
We can see this being used across media such as blogs and news. There have not been many discussions as to how this could be used on e-commerce websites but we can see this potentially working as this project develops.
Google showcased AMP on the the 7th October 2015, so it is still in the very early stages of development. At the moment the web is lacking in clarity, documentation and direction as to how exactly AMP can be used moving forward and Google themselves still have technical issues to overcome around it's implementation. Similar products would be Facebook’s instant articles and Apple news.
The key advantage, as always, is that Google reward websites and organisations within the search algorithm that adopt their protocols, such as mobile friendly sites and usability compliance.
One of the clear advantages of using this new technology would be the improvement in your site's speed.
Content is loaded as and when the user needs it, rather than all at once.
AMP allows you to maintain two different versions of your web pages (HTML and AMP HTML) or just convert entirely to AMP.
Google will cache a copy of your AMP webpage for you on its servers and send its copy of your page to your user rather than yours.
No third party scripts.
Certain HTML tags are also banned: iframe, embed, object, and all script.
Limitations when designing / developing for mobile.
Google will have full control over what you can and can’t use on your site.
What does this mean for our websites?
AMP is full of terrific ideas and it really will speed up the load times of websites. But that success comes with some potential trade-offs. For most sites, we’re being asked to set up two parallel versions of our stories (unless we stick to the functionality that AMP allows, which is unrealistic). That takes significant time and resources. We would also have to set aside most or all of the ad tech and analytics that we currently use. We would also not be able to use any third party scripts which is a potential issue.
We would also be trading in open web standards for something built by Google engineers who, despite having the best of intentions, have incentives that don’t line up perfectly with ours as an agency / client / end user.
What do we do next?
It’s unclear exactly how AMP will work at this stage, because it is still a work in progress (particularly around advertising and analytics). Although Google said it won’t prefer AMP pages over non-AMP pages in search, page speed is already a factor in Google results, with faster pages getting preference. So it’s important to consider using AMP in the future. At the moment, there’s too little documentation and definition about AMP for us to consider recommending this as Google themselves still have technical issues to overcome around it's implementation. However, we are following this new development closely and will be in contact when we think AMP is more fully formed and at that point look at potential applications for your business.