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Heard of Accelerated Mobile Pages? It’s Time to Sit up and Start Paying Attention

January 31, 2017

Last year, Google unleashed the latest trend in search engine optimisation: Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs). The AMP Project is more or less a response to the continual surge in mobile usage across the globe, providing a framework that outlines super mobile-friendly web pages.

Though less than a year old, the project has already skyrocketed in popularity, with news search results across several countries now being dominated by AMPs. In fact, as of today, 100% of results in India’s Google mobile News Box are AMPs – this is compared to just 0% at the start of the month.

Back on home soil, the results are almost as staggering. While Australia was initially a little behind the ball game (we waited five months after AMPs first made an appearance to climb aboard the bandwagon), we’ve well and truly solidified our position in the game. Since adopting the new trend in August last year, 62% of Australian search engine news results now show articles that are AMP-optimised.

Evidently, the latest Google trend is snowballing at a spectacular pace, and for good reason.

2017 is the year of the mobile device

We’ve already reported on last year’s forecasts predicting mobile devices to drive three-quarters of total internet traffic in 2017; now, within just the first month of this year, we’ve seen a further focus on mobile-compatibility as more and more AMPs dominate news sites.

In fact, the following countries already show more than 50% AMP search results in Google’s mobile News Box:

  1. India
  2. Italy
  3. France
  4. Turkey
  5. Spain
  6. Canada
  7. United States
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Germany
  10. Australia
  11. Netherlands

Given the exponential rate at which AMPs have already soared globally, we expect this trend to continue hammering home for not just news sites, but ordinary websites as well.

How might this affect you?

From a user’s perspective: Essentially, AMPs should make browsing a lot easier from your mobile devices. Because these pages have been specifically designed for mobile, they are extremely quick to load and much more user-friendly when displayed on smaller screens. To enable you to easily recognise which pages are AMP-optimised, Google has taken the liberty to denote these pages with ‘AMP’-titled tags on SERPs.

From a publisher’s perspective: If you haven’t already, you’ll want to start considering implementing an AMP strategy. Although the trend has largely been contained to news sites thus far, we likely won’t be waiting too long until it starts taking over all kinds of websites. This inevitably leads us to our next question…

What makes a site AMP compatible?

There are a few different ingredients you’ll need, but in a nutshell, AMPs deviate quite significantly from standard websites. To begin with, they don’t allow form elements or third-party JavaScript, which means you may have to surrender any lead forms and on-page comment enablers that feature on your original website.

Furthermore, AMPs must be in-line and less than 50KB in size. They also require a special AMP-font extension for loading, and images must employ a custom AMP element while adhering to pre-defined height and width dimensions.

In terms of video content, a custom tag is required for embedding locally hosted videos. YouTube videos, on the other hand, will need a separate extended component in order to be embedded.

So does this mean I will have to rewrite my site template?

Yes. Essentially, you will end up with two versions of any article page: the original version and the AMP version.

To help make life a little easier, Google has introduced an AMP compatible testing tool. While you can already test whether your site is mobile-friendly or not here, an AMP-optimised website takes things that one step further when accommodating for a mobile-saturated society, thus it’s a good idea to check whether your site meets the requirements.

By taking the right initiative now, you can secure a strong foothold against your competition when Google starts to penalise pages that aren’t AMP compatible (and knowing Google, there is a strong likelihood that this will happen). As the mobile web grows increasingly dense in usership, the need to prepare your website for our favourite pocket-sized devices becomes vital. Failing to optimise your site for AMPs may result in you losing your current Google ranking and disappearing into the dark abyss of forgotten websites.