Last week Google began rolling out its latest push for a better mobile web experience for all, the AMP project.
AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source initiative between high-profile technology companies like Twitter and Wordpress.com, and content publishers like the New York Times and Buzzfeed. Its primary goal is to give all websites a way to build light-weight web pages in order to load faster on mobile devices.
Many view this as Google’s response to Apple’s News and Facebook’s Instant Articles, which are able to offer mobile users a much faster experience when browsing the news. With AMP, news stories and blog posts will be able to load much quicker on mobile browsers.
A web page built with the AMP format is designed for speed and readability. It uses existing web languages and technologies on the backend to strip out all but the crucial elements. Documentation for the format, found on ampproject.org, says it this way:
Accelerated Mobile Pages are just like any other HTML page, but with a limited set of allowed technical functionality that is defined and governed by the open source AMP spec.
In layman’s terms, developers will need to build a separate version of a web page using HTML, but with a limited and defined amount of functionality in order for it to work. If you’re using WordPress as a Content Management System (CMS), there’s already a plugin built to help developers quickly set up an AMP version for current or new pages.
The result of using AMP in web pages is a stripped-down version of a page that Google is claiming can load up to 85% faster than normal (that’s a big boost).
Of course, an 85% faster load time is great for the user, but the real benefit and opportunity for websites is Google’s preferential treatment of pages that are built with the AMP format, especially if they contain newsy items (news stories, blog posts, etc.).
With the roll out, new stories now appear at the top of Google’s mobile search results. The implication is that early adopters will have a unique opportunity to possibly get their latest content at the top of Google’s mobile search results.
While still early in the roll-out, many marketers and SEO experts agree that this has the ability to bring a large boost in traffic for websites that regularly publish articles in their industries. Long-term SEO benefits are still unknown, but as Google continues to push for a more mobile-friendly web experience, it’s not much of a speculation that websites that align themselves with that vision will only increase their value in search results (especially on mobile).
Content Strategist and Copywriter at Station Four