Internet revolutionized the modern world by providing quick access to endless information. Mobile devices have changed the means by which we retrieve that data. The sheer force of the number of people in the USA and in the world accessing the internet from a mobile device has been a game changer in the industry. According to the Pew Research Center in 2015, nearly 2/3 of all Americans owned a smartphone. For many of these people it is the key entry point to the online world. 15% have limited alternatives to connecting to the internet besides their smartphone. The decreasing cost of mobile devices in the Pacific Rim has made the internet even more accessible than before. According to Smart Insights, the number of mobile users has already exceeded the number of desktop users.
Search Engines: Google
According to comScore the number of searches on Google far outweigh the competing search engines. Google’s relentless pursuit to find better ways to quickly and accurately serve the results to queries that users enter into their search box means that they are constantly updating their algorithm. The online business community is obliged to keep up with their changes in order to optimize the results for individual sites and pages.
Naturally, with the rise in smart phone use, Google has altered search results to give preference to responsive web sites that look good on a mobile device. The criteria include more focused, less cluttered content. An important issue that needed to be addressed with mobile use is the quality of the service, and specifically the time taken for the information to be appear. The problem is so dire that according to Exposure Ninja the number of people who click on a link to a website and immediately leave it is 75%. When on a mobile device the user gets a mini version of the website and the time that it takes for elements like video animations and graphics to load can spell the downfall of our conversion rate.
Enter AMP! (Accelerated Mobile Pages Project.)
AMP is a Google and Twitter backed project that revs up the time it takes to build web pages. It serves a stripped down, or ‘diet’ version of the page optimized for speed on mobile. Amp’s vison is to have mobile optimized content built once and load instantly anywhere. This will be enabled by hosting a cached version of the site on gstatic.com (moz.com, 2016), a free hosted Google cache server. Additional technology companies that have adopted AMP are Pinterest, WordPress.com, Chartbeat, Parse.ly, Adobe Analytics and LinkedIn .
This effort is also in response to Facebook’s instant articles where Facebook can host and render publishers content directly within their news feed, making the process of viewing it almost instantaneous. Whilst Facebook’s platform is closed source, AMP is open source.
Google will be serving AMP content directly from the AMP friendly websites and eliminate the process of having to click through the site in order to mine the data in the search string. Since the AMP search results will be served as a carousel above the other results on mobile devices, valid AMP pages will easily outrank those pages that have been slow to adopt AMP.
What does it look like:
In order to view the AMP friendly pages it is possible to add the term ‘/amp’ at the end of the url.
Regular Web version – 22wwlp.com
How to AMP
On WordPress there is an AMP plugin that dynamically generates an AMP version of the posts, but not pages. The plug-in strips the unique identifying features of the site out leaving a minimalistic theme.
If you are using another Content Management System (CMS), your developer can learn how to optimize pages for AMP from their website (https://www.ampproject.org/). This might take considerable development time.
Search Engine Heaven
If you are blogging from your website, this is your opportunity to get ahead in the organic mobile search results. If under normal circumstances 20 results would be served for your post, you could take priority by being AMP friendly.
The downside is that not everyone enjoys diet fare. Becoming AMP friendly will take some considerable effort that is likely to push up development costs. If you are a small business and don’t have access to a plugin, you might forego the advantages.