What brands need to know about Google’s AMP Project.

Google launched their AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project in 2015 with the aim of making the mobile web faster.

The concept is a pretty simple one. AMP strips out all unnecessary elements, removes most of a website’s design and makes everything load lightning quick. The result of this is better user experience and pages that load instantly regardless of connection speed.

If you use Google to search on your mobile, chances are you’ll have seen Accelerated Mobile Pages. They appear in a carousel towards the top of the search results. Most of the time they’ll be news or opinion pieces with a lightning bolt icon next to them.

The difference between AMP and normal webpages

An Accelerated Media Page is essentially just a stripped back webpage. A slimmed down version of HTML with some restrictions. It’s possible to use some CSS but you can’t use your own Javascipt.

You can see an example here of a standard post in our journal and the Accelerated Mobile Page version of it.

The downside

Whilst your content will load instantly, your visitors will not receive the full ‘experience’ of your website. Having a consistent identity across all mediums is critical to the success of a brand and you could argue that AMP dilutes this.

The biggest downside for brands (and the biggest upside for Google) is that when a user reads an AMP article, they are technically still browsing Google.

The result of this is severe limitations on your ability to channel visitors through to other areas of your website.

Should brands implement Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP is very similar to Facebook’s Instant Articles and Apple News but it’s open source. Both Google and Twitter have already rolled it out so the potential is huge.

From a user’s point of view it makes things quicker and delivers content instantly.

What about from site owner’s point of view?

The main benefit to implementing AMP is their prominent appearance in search results. Most big news and media organisations are already using them. Any brand that delivers time-specific content to its audience should absolutely be using them too.

How we do it

We’ve implemented AMP on this website specifically for journal and opinion articles (like this one). For the majority of our website we want users to get the full website experience. Particularly when viewing our work. That means our full website.

For articles where visitors will land on the page because they’ve searched for a specific subject they’ll be served an Accelerated Mobile Page.

How can brands implement it?

We do most of our web development with WordPress and, luckily, implementing AMP in WordPress is pretty easy.

There’s an official WordPress plugin which will get you up and running straight away. Once set up an AMP version of your posts is available by appending an /amp/ at the end of post URLs. So http://www.tac-design.co.uk/better-web-forms becomes http://www.tac-design.co.uk/better-web-forms/amp/.

Alongside this we also use Glue for Yoast SEO which acts as a connection between the Yoast SEO plugin and AMP. The Glue plugin also provides a quick and easy way to change the few styling options that are available.

Want to know more?

If you’d like to know more about how we build websites at TAC or if you have a project you’d like to talk to us about, why not find out how to get in touch with us?

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