The AMP debate: Are Accelerated Mobile Pages right for your business?
One of the biggest changes in the world of SEO in 2016 was the February launch of Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). Nearly one year on, we look at whether your business should have AMP.
What is AMP?
Accelerated Mobile Pages is a project instigated by Google in an attempt to increase load times and improve usability of websites on mobile devices.
It’s a standardised code available to developers around the world to implement on their own websites. It works by cutting out much of the ‘clunky’ HTML and mark-up used in websites today and also storing the publisher’s page on Google’s own network, allowing them to serve it much quicker to users when requested.
For users browsing on mobile devices, AMP stories will load at the top of Google search ahead of all other results. It’s especially effective when users are searching Google for news stories, as AMP will rapidly load the page and allow the user to swipe from story-to-story from different outlets around the world.
Currently, it’s estimated around 10% of the world’s mobile content is now on AMP, with more than 600 million pages across 700,000 domains now running AMP. While news and blog websites are the main adopters of AMP to date, large ecommerce websites such as eBay have also implemented it. Some of the world’s biggest media outlets have reported an increase in user engagement with both content and – perhaps, most crucially – ads.
Some industry experts also expect to see websites with AMP installed get further ranking benefits over the coming months.
So why is there a debate?
From the point of view of end-users, AMP is great as it offers quicker browsing in a cleaner page. It is the great revolution of mobile publishing. However, some publishers around the world have a different view, claiming that pages and articles served in AMPs are displayed as though they are authored by Google.
There is also a concern that it makes navigation to other areas of the publisher’s website less likely due to the stripped back links and menus, and a minority of smaller media outlets that initially implemented AMP have done a U-turn and removed the functionality.
However, many of the biggest publishers in the world are sticking with AMP, and Google themselves claim AMP will help publishers to increase traffic on mobile and even expand revenue from ads.
Should I have AMP for my business?
At this moment in time, it makes sense for the vast majority of websites to embrace AMP and ensure their website is in a position to take advantage. At this moment in time, the advantages of having AMP out-weight the disadvantages, and if you’re website is serving articles, news or blogs, then AMP should help more users find your content on mobile.
Along with the suggestion that a rankings boost may be in the offing for those sites with AMP, Google has also listened to some of the publishers’ concerns and stated it will be making changes to AMP in 2017. These changes will be focussed on giving developers the capability of making links on websites more visible through AMP, allowing users easier navigation to other pages on the site.