Over the past few months, Google has gradually rolled out its newest project, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP). This month, the search giant will make a concerted effort to increase traffic to AMP pages, leaving many people, including small business owners, wondering how they will be affected. Read on to learn what AMP is, what it means for mobile and how it will impact small business owners.
Announced in early October 2015, AMP likely came as Google’s response to similar projects by fellow tech leaders. Facebook unveiled its in-app publishing platform, Instant Articles, in May of last year. Soon after, Apple replaced its Newsstand experience with a brand-new news-aggregation and discovery platform, Apple News.
Google’s AMP, a joint project with Twitter, is a way to make mobile webpages load remarkably fast. This mobile-only project uses a new lightweight, open source HTML framework to build fast loading pages. The goal is to create a faster mobile web by urging other websites to become increasingly user-centric on mobile:
“We want [mobile] webpages with rich content like video, animations and graphics to work alongside smart ads, and to load instantaneously. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant—no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device you’re using.” (Google, 2015)
This project is aimed largely at content-rich publishers, like blogs and news organizations, such as The New York Times, Huffington Post and The Guardian. These websites publish large amount of Internet content often including text, images and video. Focused on monetization, advertising is also a large component of these sites. With such a heavy content load, the mobile user experience can be frustrating and much slower. AMP intends to help these websites facilitate a better, faster user experience.
Because small business websites differ greatly in content and generally provide a better user experience, AMP is not essential for small business owners at this time. Using the limited HTML framework of AMP, these websites would lose much of the mobile-only content necessary to their success, like eCommerce, Click-to-Call and maps.
Another important factor to note is that AMP, unlike page speed, is not yet an SEO indicator. This means that whether or not a webpage is a valid AMP page has no influence on its search ranking. While AMP will help large publishers improve page speed, thus improving search rank, if a small business’s website is already mobile-optimized, load time should already be sufficient, according to Google and other search engine standards. Page speed, along with content, backlinks and metadata, should be of greater concern to small business owners focused on search rankings, both on desktop and mobile.
In the coming months, it will be important to continue monitoring AMP and its progression. While the project is not currently required for small businesses to be successful on mobile and in SEO, it could become beneficial in the future. Advice Mobile will continue to provide updates on the project and, should the time arrive for small businesses to take action for mobile, be a partner to clients in the future. Currently, Advice Mobile is adding AMP to all client desktop websites.
If you believe you need to formulate your website for AMP, find out what steps you can take to prepare. Otherwise, please feel free to contact us with questions or for more resources. You may also visit Google’s AMP Project FAQs.