Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) and Your Website

Readers of a certain age will remember a time where you’d have to bear a deafening noise just to connect to the Internet and where you could make a cup of tea before your next web page loaded. Thankfully, today things are much quicker, but there is still room for improvement.

Today we rely on the Internet more than ever. Mobile web in particular has made major strides in recent years and is expected to soon be more popular than computer browsing. However, for mobile in particular, speeds still need to be improved. Nobody wants to stare at their phone waiting for apps to download and music to stream when they are out and about.

Google’s project AMP aims to solve the problem and we’ll tell you more in the following paragraphs.

How web pages are built

Let’s start with some background. If you are a web designer, we apologise in advance if this feels like we are teaching you to suck eggs.

Web pages are built using text based code that tells a web browser what a page should look like. This code is called ‘HTML.’

HTML has been around since 1993 and throughout its life there have been various updates, however speed has never been a majorly specific purpose. Whilst the upgrades to HTML have allowed us to build more interactive pages and paved the way for ecommerce systems, Google sees one main side effect. They believe that the bloated and complex nature of modern day HTML is a major contributor to the slowdown on the mobile web.

Ensuring that your website is as fast as possible is a contributor to your rankings within search engines and the overall user experience. Structuring your HTML code is a big part of this but you also need to have a high performing server and good tech support behind you.

What is Google’s plan?

In Google’s own words, what AMP offers is a “restricted subset of the things we’d use from HTML, that’s both fast and expressive,” and entirely focused on displaying static content – as opposed to highly interactive pages, online shopping and the like.

Google AMP gets rid of author-written JavaScript, which powers most of the interactive elements on a webpage, but it is also notorious for severely increasing the size of a web page.

This feature of AMP alone can see web pages load between 15% and 18% faster on mobile devices.

AMP is designed to pre-render pages before a user clicks a link. As a result, in a cheating sort of way, web pages will load as quickly as turning the page of a magazine.

Relying on pre-rendering is a risky decision as it could use a lot of bandwidth and eat into users’ precious data allowances. However, Google insists that technology is smart enough to approach pre-rendering in a selective way without having negative implications.

Using AMP

Google has made AMP available as a open source software, so web developers can use it free of charge and begin integrating it into mobile sites immediately.

If you decide to utilise AMP, you wont be alone! Major web players like Buzzfeed and Twitter have already begun to harness the power of AMP to improve their mobile web experience.

The benefits are significant and Google expects many more sites to come on board. To get started with Google AMP, visit ampproject.org.

Are you frustrated by slow mobile web page speeds? Let us know in the comments section what you think of AMP and if you think it could be the answer to your problems.

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