AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages
The Problem AMP and FIA Fix
Behind the scenes a browser sorts through a whole bunch of code that tells it how to present the content. This code is an agreed upon standard. Unfortunately, it is not really designed for easy mobile access to information such as news stories or blog articles.
Standard html and the associated scripts, styles and other bits of code take a lot to process. We don’t notice it too much on desktops and laptops because our computers have become extremely powerful and can easily handle all that code and present the web pages to the users.
The complexity allows web developers to create very elaborate websites with a great deal of functionality. But when we are simply looking for information, all this elaborate foundation just gets in the way. This is particularly true on mobile devices that are not powerful enough nor do they have the screen real estate needed to process and present the pages well. Responsive design only addresses part of the problem, arranging elements or hiding them for mobile presentation- but they are still there taking bandwidth and time. Often mobile users will simply back out of the page rather than wait for it to load.
The AMP and FIA solution(s)
The answer to this issue is to streamline the content and the code that is used to present the content, and eliminate the unnecessary functionality.
AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages – is the Open Source project (backed by Google) designed to help companies make their website content more accessible for mobile devices.
Facebook’s approach to this is Facebook Instant Articles which does the same thing, but for now is focused on the Facebook ecosystem.
The focus is on the unique article content. By using the amp method, you process and display just the information unique to that article and do so in a simplified way. Below is the regular page next to the amp version of one of our posts..
Using this method lets the content be streamlined for faster processing and makes it easier for the information to be cached on the different servers. This has two great benefits. When the content is indexed it is stored on the servers (in this case Google, but any server can do this because it is an open source effort) so the server does not have to always come back to the site every time a person wants to see the information. The trip to get the information is shorter. Secondly, the format is something that mobile devices can process very quickly, eliminating a great deal of the wait time.
AMP and SEO
If executed properly, this is not an issue. On the amp page, standard canonical ref will tell the engines the original page sources (standard practice).
<link rel=”canonical” href=”http://fanaticallydigital.com/blog/2016/02/google-compare-shutting-down/” />
While the original page provides a reference to the amp page so the indexing site can pick up the mobile friendly (amp) version.
<link rel=”amphtml” href=”http://fanaticallydigital.com/blog/2016/02/google-compare-shutting-down/amp/” />
As Google pushes further down the mobile friendly path, more weight will be placed on content that delivers quickly and easily to mobile devices. For those companies that rely on their blog and news content to attract more people, this will have a significant impact. AMP was initiated in October of 2015 and you can see in GWT / Search Console what pages on the site are being ‘flagged’ for not being AMP friendly. While we have not yet seen a degradation in the results directly tied to this, it is just a matter of time.
At the moment the SEO landscape does not have a lot of competition with AMP pages. That will change and when it does, the search engines will have a choice between your content and content that is “AMPlified”. Guess who wins.