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AMP: A Mobile Revolution?

What is AMP? Is it necessary? Is it going to help/hurt SEO? Will it be good for users? These are the most commons questions that I see about AMP. So first things first, AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and its goal is just that, to make mobile pages load very quickly.

This is important because the widespread availability of high bandwidth internet connections has lead to something we call “code bloat”— web devs and business owners have tended to include more and more bells & whistles as part of their sites as time goes on— because, why not? When everyone has access to high speed internet, you might as well include all the high-res images, videos, and widgets you can if it means people stay on your site longer.

It has not happened yet, but we are beginning to see this trend come to a head. In short, there is only so much bandwidth to go around and the effects have particularly been felt in the mobile sphere where bandwidth and computing power are at a premium. So in response to code bloat and slow mobile response times, Google announced the AMP project in October of last year, saying “This is the start of an exciting collaboration with publishers and technology companies, who have all come together to make the mobile web work better for everyone. Twitter,Pinterest, WordPress.com, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn are among the first group of technology partners planning to integrate AMP HTML pages.”(source: http://bit.ly/1PizX1c)

The project consists of a simple framework that can be incorporated into existing code, very similar to Google’s markup schema (reference: http://bit.ly/1UjXtMX) but for images and video, not just raw data. It’s an open source project, which means that the source code for projects under the AMP umbrella is publicly available and editable. It is the desire of Google and their partners that AMP will be voluntarily adopted (and it has been to a certain extent) by devs from around the web.

Particularly salient is how AMP addresses the problems it seeks to solve. Some people in the industry are calling for devs to “trim the fat” to develop lighter and more responsive web pages, but AMP is taking a different approach. AMP changes how mobile devices access heavy data in order to speed up loading times. According to the project FAQ (source: http://bit.ly/2998mDW) anyone using AMP in their code is allowing their content to be cached by third parties, including Google but certainly not limited to the G.

Traditionally, all the data included as part of a website is stored on the host server, including videos, images, everything, but with AMP certain data are stored off-site, in the cloud. This just means that you’re allowing parts of your site to be stored on somebody else’s server. This has the possibility to greatly increase load times, particularly for small businesses who host their site on their own servers. Basically, you’re allowing somebody else’s server to handle some of the traffic to your site by having bits of your information cached on their servers. There is a lot else that AMP does, including limiting the functionality of javascript and imposing certain style restrictions that seek to standardize HTML structure for quick retrieval.

To continue answering the questions I posed at the beginning, AMP has no visible effect on SEO and page rankings, but since it is a Google project, it’s likely that the big G will incorporate AMP into their indexing algorithm in some ways. Still it is unlikely that the use of AMP will be make-or-break for search engine rankings.

In terms of user experience, however, AMP is spectacular. On my site, for instance, just over half of our traffic comes from mobile, so the AMP framework has the potential to greatly increase usability and user satisfaction with our mobile pages. People don’t like to wait for a web page to load, one or two seconds’ delay is all it takes to make users bounce. So the prospect of instantaneous mobile load times (which is what Google hopes to accomplish here) is a juicy one indeed.

Despite this, AMP is not yet necessary. Certainly, it’s a good idea to adopt AMP into your existing code if you have the time, but it won’t be what makes or breaks your online marketing efforts. However, in the near future AMP (or a similar framework) is going to be necessary for your mobile pages to be competitive. The quick response times and the decreased server load mean that you can include more eye catching and interactive elements that will load instantly, and almost no drawbacks.

The only potential drawback being that using AMP allows third parties access to your data, so if you don’t want Google or WordPress or Amazon to have a copy of your photos somewhere on their servers, then you’d be better off not using it. It’s already a truism that nothing published on the internet ever really disappears, but AMP makes this doubly true. Incorporating this framework will mean that some significant percentage of your data will always be out of your hands. But this is hardly a problem for businesses and online marketers who are trying to be seen. Still, if you’d like certain things to remain private (as much as is possible on the internet anyway) I would check to see if whatever platform you’re using has incorporated the AMP framework, and to what extent it’s been applied, before posting anything too personal.

Ultimately, for most users, and particularly for businesses, the benefits far outweigh the costs.




This post first appeared on Writer Blogger Perfect Human, please read the originial post: here

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AMP: A Mobile Revolution?

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