These are times when one of the most precious commodities is ‘time’. Everyone is hard pressed for time and looks towards technology in aiding them for time management. The internet has provided a lot of convenience to its users by bringing many items of need at their fingertips. Today, we can buy/sell anything by just a click of a button.
Rising convenience has also made people demand more time. With advancements in technology, people have switched from desktops and laptops to mobiles, tablets, etc. to fulfill various needs.
Hence, it has become mandatory for marketers to develop websites that are mobile-friendly. It is not enough if the site is mobile-friendly. People now want pages that load quickly on their device. The direct result of a page that takes too long to load is that the reader switches to a website with better loading speed. Hence, you end up losing visitors to your site. This results in lowering your ranking on SERPs.
Let us see some of the problems encountered by users while browsing using a mobile/tablet, etc:
1. Loading speed of the websites
2. Websites crashing, freezing or giving error.
3. Formatting in websites that made their usage difficult.
4. Websites not being available
All these problems lead to the reader leaving the site and looking elsewhere for information.
What is the solution for these problems?
All these user problems can be addressed by one solution AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages.
What is AMP?
To help you in enhancing the loading speed of your website, Google has launched Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP. It is an open-source coding standard for publishers. AMP instantly loads pages since it is a streamlined version of CSS. It eliminates many constituents of a desktop website which are clunky and slow for a mobile. This encourages readers to visit your site and it directly boosts your ranking. It is built on existing web technologies using a new open framework called AMP HTML. It enables websites to build lightweight pages that are quick to load. It has helped solve many difficulties faced by users. AMP’s are web pages which are optimized for quick loading. They are comprised of light HTML codes which improve the user’s mobile experience. They also focus on the primary content.
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This leads us to the question, “How Accelerated Mobile Pages boost the ranking of a website?”
If mobile Google SERP is analyzed, it can be observed that the top ranking pages are those that are aligned as per AMP format. Let us now see why Google treats these pages as special and gives them a better ranking.
Pages as per AMP format are quick loading:
One of the basic criteria for Google ranking is the time taken for loading the page. AMP load faster because they have a light HTML code and it eliminates unwanted CSS and JS files.
AMP provide better user experience:
AMP pages provide the users a better user experience. This is because they restrict the display of unwanted elements such as images, sidebars, etc. These elements also reduce the loading speed of pages.
AMP helps you feature in Google’s top stories:
AMP provides you the advantage that your content gets an opportunity to feature on Google’s top stories. This attracts more attention and clicks to your website. If you are in the publishing industry, you stand to gain tremendously by opting for AMP version.
Reduced Bounce Rates:
Accelerated mobile pages load fast and also provide a better user experience. This reduces the bounce rate. On the contrary, it increases the number of page visits and the time spent on the page. This is not only beneficial to the business but also boosts the ranking.
Mobile First Index:
Google made an announcement regarding Mobile First Index. As per this if you want to achieve top position in mobile SERPs, it is mandatory to implement AMP.
What is AMP Plugin?
An AMP plugin provides the feature of fast loading of pages on the mobile by stripping it down to the basics. It is results in better speed and readability of the content.
Let us see how AMP Plugin works:
AMP plugin consists of three parts:
AMP HTML: It is basically a subset of HTML. This markup language has certain custom tags and properties and several restrictions. But if you are conversant with HTML, then adapting the existing pages to AMP HTML is not difficult.
AMP JS: It is a Java script framework for mobile pages. It manages resource handling and asynchronous loading. However, third party Java script is not permitted with AMP.
AMP CDN: It is an optional content delivery network, that takes AMP enabled pages caches them and makes performance optimizations automatically.
How to use AMP plugin for your site?
1. Use a streamlined version of CSS.
2. You can use the Java script library provided by AMP only.
3. For proper functioning of AMP sites, they need proper validation.
4. Forms are not allowed on AMP plugin pages.
5. User experience can be enhanced by loading custom fonts.
6. For better images specify the height and width of the images.
7. For having videos on your pages use AMP-approved extensions.
Demerits of AMP:
1. Revenue from ads is reduced:
AMP run pages do support ads but the potential to bring in revenue is limited.
2. Limitation on Google Analytics:
Although AMP supports Google Analytics, a different tag is needed to implement it on all AMP pages. Overall time taken increases. This is because the number of activities such as placing the tag, collection, and analysis of data increase.
3. The speed achieved is dependent on cache:
The high loading speeds are achieved due to the fact that Google saves cached versions of AMP tagged pages. When a visitor tries to access them, Google just serves them from the cache.
4. Compatibility issues:
Installation of AMP is not easy. Although it is installed in WordPress sites, it does not work smoothly. Installation for proper functioning can be done by placing necessary tags and codes manually which is a time-consuming process.
5. Shareability adversely affected:
Since AMP contains basic HTML code, it does not allow third party Java script. This inhibits the shareability of your content. Even the social share buttons may not function properly because they are developed using Java script.
6. AMP does not support building an e-mail list:
For effective marketing, preparing an email list is essential. However, AMP restricts the building of an email list.
As of now, AMP has a few unresolved issues, so its implementation should rushed into. If these are not resolved, there are chances that it might be abandoned as a failed technology. But, if Google makes mobile first index a Web standard, you could consider implementing it.
AMP strips down a product or services page to its first impressions. Hence, it is not suitable for many landing pages. It would defeat the basic purpose of your original design. AMP is most beneficial for sites that produce content. So, the best way to use AMP for your client is by transitioning the blog and news and updates section to AMP while retaining the rest of the site as is. AMP is also good for info pages, contact us page, etc.