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Think to Create Google Accelerated Mobile Pages Friendly for Your Website?

Since its launch Google has been heavily pushing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) but two years down the line how have things worked out?

Is it really worth creating AMP pages/sites and does AMP deliver the benefits Google said it would?

When it launched AMP in February 2016 Google said that web pages were too slow and clunky on mobile devices and we needed a new approach tailored specifically for the mobile web.

It talked about “websites and ads that are consistently fast, beautiful and high-performing across devices and distribution platforms…” and promised SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and customer experience benefits with AMP.

What is there not to like about that?

Umm…well firstly it means the not insignificant amount of work of re-writing your page/site using a new stripped down and restricted HTML/CSS/JavaScript mark up format. It really is different as well, you can’t even use your existing Google Analytics JavaScript tag.

If you accidentally write “normal” JavaScript in your AMP page Google creates a “critical issue” in the Google Search Console and implies it will stop serving your AMP page to users. Frankly we were so scared we couldn’t breathe until we had fixed it.

So…is AMP faster? Well not necessarily.

With two very similar looking pages https://interim.team/index.html (27 KB) and https://interim.team/ampindex.html (29 KB) the second AMP compliant page loads in 2 seconds compared to the normal version which loads in 1 second on 3G according to Google’s own testing tool (https://testmysite.withgoogle.com).

Drat that’s not good news.

What about the SEO benefits? Well yes a bit. Testing has shown that whilst browsing incognito on the web and phone the AMP page is currently ranking one position higher than the web page for the keyword “interim”.

There is another benefit with AMP in that Google will serve it from it’s Content Delivery Network (CDN) free of charge. Thanks Google, that should help keep download times lower around the world.

If you don’t want your AMP page being seen as a referrer by Google you’ll also need to add cdn.ampproject.org to the Referral Exclusion List in Google Analytics, though.

So is it all worth it then?

You’ll have to make your own mind up.

Google are right in that given most websites now have more than 50% of users accessing the site via their phone it really is time we built experiences tailored for their device profiles and bandwidth situations.

AMP is open source rather than proprietary and is still pretty young compared with HTML over the web (which has been around since 1991-1992) and my hunch is that it has some way to go but it is around to stay.

Written by Rorie Devine

Rorie is the only person to have featured on the cover of CIO Magazine twice, has been awarded "IT Leader Of The Year" by Computing Magazine and is featured in the book "How To Build a Billion Dollar App"? saying that the change he brought when coming in as an interim.team Interim was "truly amazing"? and "we started to feel we were firing on all cylinders".

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