Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Your Guide to Accelerated Mobile Pages

I think we can all agree that nothing makes a work day more frustrating than a slow internet connection. Here at Lumavate, we would almost rather have no connection than connection that is painfully slow…because at least with no internet we can play the downasaur game to keep us entertained (our office high score is in the four thousands, and yes, we’re proud of that). But the worst time for a slow connection? When you’re on-the-go and needing to do a quick search on your phone. Google says that the average time it takes to fully load a mobile page is a whopping 15 seconds! So in order to engage on-the-go mobile browsers, we’ve got to provide lightning fast mobile pages. Google’s answer to this problem? Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs).

What are AMPs
We’ll give it to you straight from the source. Google says that AMP is “an open-source library that provides a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.” The goal of AMP is to optimize mobile content, which leads to a drastic reduction in load times and bounce rates on mobile devices. The way it does this is through three core components: AMP HTML, AMP JS, and AMP Cache. And, it’s supported by numerous platforms and also compatible with all major browsers. For more in depth information about AMP from the people who made it, you can watch this short six minute video.

So when it comes down to it, AMP pages are really just amplified web pages–you can link to them and they’re completely controlled by you, just like any other web page, but they’ve got some added UX benefits that really can’t be beat. Here are a few of our favorite benefits:

Benefits of Using AMP
Speed: I know it’s obvious that speed is going to be one of the benefits since Google created AMP specifically to boost mobile speed. But what I wasn’t expecting to find was how fast AMPs are! AMP reduces the average load time to just 0.7 seconds! It’s able to do this because the web page is stripped down to its most basic form. Check out this article, then take a look at the AMP version of the same article to see the difference for yourself!

Improved SEO ranking: AMP is not yet meant to be an independent ranking factor, but page load speed and mobile friendliness are both well-known SEO ranking factors. And since AMP drastically improves page load times and mobile friendliness, there’s a greater chance that mobile sites developed with AMP will be rewarded with higher rankings.

Increased Visibility for Publishers: The mobile sites that are built using AMP will proudly display the AMP lighting bolt symbol. The pages that have these symbols could see increased click through rates, since the search results will not only stand out more, but users will eventually start to look for AMP pages as they are looking for quicker load times.

Who is Currently Using AMP: Google made an announcement back in May of last year that there were more than two billion AMP pages, covering nine hundred thousand domains. Some bigger names that are using AMP include–but definitely aren’t limited to–BBC, Sankei, New York Times, CNN, News Corp, Washington Post, WordPress, and the Guardian.

Whether you’re using your phone to shop for a new pair of shoes, researching a band you heard on the radio, or finding a new restaurant to dine at, you want your mobile experience to be as fast as possible. Thanks to AMP, the amount of time we waste waiting on mobile sites to load is drastically decreasing, allowing us to spend our time on the more important things like work, or just slightly less important: the downasaur game.