Previous Google updates have rewarded websites which serve content to mobile devices in a form befitting the restrictions of such a device. These restrictions include small viewports, restricted processing power, and slow internet access. Although using responsive design addresses the first of these limitations, it still takes mobile devices considerably longer to download and render web pages compared to fully equipped computers.
In order to serve content to mobile users as quickly as possible Google announced a new open source project called Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, back in autumn 2015.
What is AMP?
AMP is a stripped down version of traditional HTML which has been highly optimised for page load speed on mobile devices. AMP is designed for static content such as news articles or blog posts and is not a replacement for traditional mobile friendly web design.
Unlike competing technologies from companies such as Facebook and Apple, AMP is an open source initiative which draws on already existing standards. Many of the world’s biggest news providers have already adopted AMP and implemented it on their websites allowing their content to load between four and ten times faster than it would if delivered via a traditional HTML page.
How Will AMP Affect Search Engine Results Pages?
AMP pages will be displayed above other search engine results on mobile devices, and will be accessible through an image carousel.
When clicked to from the search results AMP pages will load almost instantly, and users will then be able to swipe across their smartphone screens to view the next article.
With Google search holding a 65% market share and more than half of all searches coming from mobile devices there is a strong incentive for content providers to adopt the AMP initiative.
A WordPress plugin has already been launched to automatically create AMP versions of WordPress blog posts. For those using other content management systems or wishing to brand their AMP pages the process will be more complex.