Accelerated Mobile Pages or How to Optimize the Loading of a Website

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google project launched in October 2015. They’re just web pages, but they’re based on AMP HTML, a format for maximizing loading times on phones and any mobile device with a slow internet connection. AMP HTML is stripped-down HTML with a special set of tags and a JS library. AMP pages are stored in the Google cache and, on a slow connection, are downloaded directly from the user’s device.

That is, Google acts as a huge CDN network for website pages. AMP page elements are loaded sequentially as the page is scrolled, improving loading speed. Banner ads from AdSense, Google Ad Manager, and several other ad networks will be cached with the page and shown to the visitor.

The largest search engines support the AMP format. AMP pages appear in Google, Bing, Yahoo! Japan, and Baidu.

The average AMP page load time is 0.7 seconds. So says Rudy Galfi, AMP Product Manager at Google. The user who visits such a page will not have time to think: leave the page or wait for the download. With the maximum probability, it will continue to work on the resource even in a bad connection. The average load time for all other pages is 22 seconds – feel the difference.

AMP pages can be shown in the top image carousel. A prerequisite for displaying an AMP page in the full image carousel is the presence of a special data structure. This structure, represented in JSON-LD or another metadata format supported by Google, should contain the elements to display in the carousel: preview image, short description, and page modification date.

However, even if Google and cached have correctly indexed your AMP page, it may need to be corrected in the JSON-LD data structure. Google’s AMP validator will ignore this, and your page, despite being properly positioned in the search results, will not get into the carousel at the top of the page.

Structural data of an AMP page is validated separately – this should be considered when developing and maintaining them.

Media were the first to try out AMP pages. No wonder: speed for news sites is the main competitive advantage. The pioneers of the format in 2016 were The New York Times and The Washington Post. Now AMP pages are used by many media, including lenta.ru, and for some, like gazetadaily.ru and flamenews.ru, accelerated mobile pages replace the mobile version of the site.

However, AMP is already being actively implemented by online stores. An increase in the share of mobile traffic turns this technology not into a “cool feature” but into a real solution to the usability issue.

How to create Accelerated Mobile Pages

Here are the basic steps to create Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):

  1. Choose an AMP-compatible platform: AMP is compatible with several popular web platforms, including WordPress, Drupal, and Magento. Choose a platform that supports AMP or install an AMP plugin on your current website.
  2. Please familiarize yourself with AMP HTML: AMP uses a subset of HTML, so it’s important to understand the differences between regular HTML and AMP HTML. The official AMP documentation provides a detailed guide to AMP HTML.
  3. Use AMP components: AMP components are pre-built, optimized HTML, JavaScript, and CSS components that can be used to create AMP pages quickly and easily. They include things like carousels, forms, and social media sharing buttons.
  4. Test your AMP pages: Use the AMP validator tool to test your pages and ensure they comply with AMP standards. This is important to ensure your pages load quickly and provide a good user experience.
  5. Optimize your AMP pages: Optimize your AMP pages for speed and performance by following best practices, such as minimizing the use of custom CSS and JavaScript, optimizing images, and minimizing external resources.
  6. Publish your AMP pages: Once you have created and optimized your AMP pages, publish them to your website. You can also submit them to the Google AMP cache, which can help improve performance and visibility.
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Following these steps, you can create Accelerated Mobile Pages that provide a fast, optimized user experience.

The top-used technologies for AMP

The top technologies used for Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) development include:

  1. HTML: AMP uses HTML, the markup language for creating web pages. However, AMP has its own set of HTML tags designed to optimize performance.
  2. JavaScript: AMP uses a restricted version of JavaScript, called AMP JavaScript, which is optimized for performance. AMP JavaScript provides several features, including lazy loading of images and videos and pre-rendering of pages.
  3. CSS: AMP pages use CSS for styling, but they have limited CSS rules to optimize performance. AMP CSS includes features like inlining and size restrictions.
  4. CDNs: Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) often deliver AMP pages to users. CDNs can help improve performance by providing content from the server closest to the user, reducing latency, and improving page load times.
  5. AMP Cache: The AMP Cache is a system that caches AMP pages and delivers them to users from a fast, reliable server. This helps improve performance by reducing latency and improving page load times.
  6. AMP Analytics: AMP Analytics is a tool that provides insights into how users interact with your AMP pages. It can help you track page views, user behavior, and other metrics, allowing you to optimize your AMP pages for better performance.

Overall, HTML, JavaScript, CSS, CDNs, AMP Cache, and AMP Analytics are the leading technologies used for Accelerated Mobile Pages development.

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages for?

It’s no secret that mobile traffic now prevails: 54% of users use smartphones to search for information, and this indicator continues to increase.

In addition, Google prefers mobile devices:

  • Site indexing has long begun with mobile versions.
  • Mobile version indicators determine the Core Web Vitals score.
  • Mobile-friendliness reports have been added to the Search Console.

All these actions are aimed at improving the UX for smartphone users.

In addition to the impact on positions in the issue, users simply do not like slow pages. Pages that load slowly have a significantly higher bounce rate – users don’t want to wait for the page to finish loading and leave the site.

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More specifically, the bounce rate after 3 seconds is skyrocketing – approximately 40% of users will not wait 5 seconds for a page to load. Thus, with a low download speed, you get less traffic.

Traffic is one of many metrics that depend on download time. The conversion rate per transaction is also significantly higher at page load speeds of up to 2 seconds.

In other words, even if the user waited 5 seconds for the download to complete, the chance that he would make a purchase is 2-3 times less than a page loaded in 1-2 seconds.

The exact numbers may vary from study to study, but they all come to the same conclusion: page load speed matters a lot to users.

Pros of Accelerated Mobile Pages

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) offer several advantages, including:

  1. Faster page load times: AMP pages load much faster than standard web pages, which improves the user experience and reduces bounce rates. This is because AMP pages are optimized for performance and load only essential content, reducing the amount of data that needs to be transferred.
  2. Improved search engine rankings: AMP pages are preferred by search engines like Google because they provide a better user experience. As a result, AMP pages are more likely to appear at the top of search engine results pages, which can lead to increased traffic and visibility.
  3. Increased mobile engagement: With more people using mobile devices to access the internet, AMP pages are designed to provide a better experience on mobile devices. This leads to increased engagement and a better user experience.
  4. Improved ad performance: AMP pages are optimized for faster loading times, which can lead to improved ad performance. Speedier load times can lead to increased ad viewability and click-through rates.
  5. Implementing AMP pages is relatively easy, even for non-technical users. There are several tools and plugins available that can help you create AMP pages quickly and easily.

Overall, the benefits of Accelerated Mobile Pages include faster load times, improved search engine rankings, increased engagement, better ad performance, and easy implementation.

Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages

  1. Tracking issues. The effectiveness of an AMP page is difficult to track in analytics services – the data set needs to be improved. It will take a lot of time and resources to set up tags and codes that will track important indicators.
  2. Since Google caches content on AMP pages and stores it on its server, it assigns its domain name.
  3. Since most of the additional elements on AMP pages are cut, including banner ads, this can decrease advertising revenue on the site.
  4. Web admins have to control the main site, AMP, and mobile versions. This is often challenging.
  5. Difficulty in implementing technology on self-written sites.
  6. It isn’t easy to implement the ability to add products to the cart when it comes to commercial sites.

How to optimize the loading of a website with accelerated mobile pages 

Low speed leads to the fact that the percentage of failures increases. A person enters the site, looks at a white screen or a bunch of loading elements for a few seconds – and closes the tab. A high bounce rate spoils behavioral factors. And bad behavioral factors negatively affect the ranking of the site in the search.

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Loading speed is important not only for search engines. Facebook considers it when displaying ads – the faster the mobile site, the more ads are scrolled.

The faster the load, the higher the likelihood that the site will rank well in the search results.

With AMP technology, you can create extremely simplified website pages. Only the main content remains on them without widgets, dynamic blocks, ads, and even commenting forms.

Such pages have a very high loading speed – usually at most 2-3 seconds. But there are also disadvantages: truncated functionality and faded appearance. AMP could be better for e-commerce. Blogs, news portals, and information sites use this technology.

Here are some tips to optimize the loading of a website with Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP):

  1. Use a CDN (Content Delivery Network): A CDN can help improve the performance of your AMP pages by delivering content from the server closest to the user, reducing latency, and improving page load times.
  2. Minimize the use of custom CSS and JavaScript: AMP pages work best when they use the default styles provided by the framework. If you must use custom CSS and JavaScript, ensure they are optimized for performance and use the smallest possible file sizes.
  3. Optimize images: Large images can significantly slow down your AMP pages. Use an image optimization tool to compress images and reduce their file size without sacrificing quality.
  4. Use inline CSS and JavaScript: Inline CSS and JavaScript can improve performance by reducing the requests needed to load your page. However, make sure to use the smallest possible file sizes.
  5. Minimize external resources: External resources, such as fonts, videos, and widgets, can significantly slow down your AMP pages. Minimize their use and only include them if they are necessary.
  6. Use the AMP validator: The AMP validator can help identify issues with your AMP pages and provide suggestions for optimization. Use it regularly to ensure your pages are compliant with AMP standards.
  7. Monitor page speed: Regularly monitor your page speed using tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or GTmetrix. These tools can help you identify issues with your AMP pages and provide suggestions for optimization.

Conclusion 

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a technology designed to improve the speed and performance of mobile web pages. AMP achieves this by using a restricted version of HTML, JavaScript, and CSS that is optimized for mobile devices, as well as by minimizing the use of external resources and optimizing images. AMP also relies on CDNs and the AMP cache to deliver content quickly to users.

AMP has several benefits, including improved page load times, reduced bounce rates, and improved search engine visibility. However, AMP has some limitations, including restrictions on HTML, JavaScript, and CSS and limited support for advertising and analytics.

Overall, AMP is useful for creating fast, mobile-optimized web pages. It is particularly useful for publishers who rely on ad revenue and want to improve their visibility in search engine results. By following best practices and optimizing your AMP pages, you can provide a better user experience and improve the performance of your mobile web pages.