The deployment of Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project has been met with much excitement. The project has attracted interest from more than 5,000 developers who have registered to the Github repository of the program. Not all of them will go on to develop something but it’s a safe bet that many organizations will go on to build.
The excitement is understandable; loading content from a mobile phone can be a frustrating process and AMP promises to remove that frustration with its lightning speed. To enable this speed, Google is using a system which involves hosting pages in numerous caches around the globe, for anything from seconds to hours. All that anyone publishing has to do is provide two separate versions of their web pages; one that can be accessed as normal from desktop and one that is for AMP access.
How popular is AMP?
It’s impossible to tell right now how popular AMP will be; certainly major players like Vox Media and New York Times have embraced the project. As the specifications of AMP continue to improve so its spread is set to increase. This in return will increase its visibility in Google search. Add to that the fact that social media channels such as Twitter and Pinterest are on board and it seems that AMP’s popularity levels are likely to be high.
Page ranking effect
Although Google is adamant that Google search is completely neutral, there is one very good reason why AMP items will attract better rankings in results pages; that reason is speed. It’s well known that the speed with which pages can be loaded is a major contributing factor to search engine rankings, and AMP provides plenty of speed.
What about advertising?
Although it’s not publically too vocal about it, Google is known for wanting to clean up the advertising space. The team at Google has always wanted to concentrate on providing an excellent user experience, cutting down on invasive advertising. This is why formats allowed in AMP are constrained, at least initially. The Google reasoning is that having faster page loads will actually enable users to see more ad content in the long run. For now, it seems like the advertising community has embraced AMP, but the future remains to be seen.
Google has had to embrace the many forms of analytics requested by publishers, but it is keen to try and encourage limits on the number of different analytics used. This problem is especially prevalent in the news media where dozens of analytics are often used; this can have a dramatic adverse effect on page loading times. It has to be said that it’s not entirely clear how Google can persuade publishers against this.
The Paywall is here
The nature of AMP, with its system of replicating pages across numerous caches, made paywall implementation a tricky business; but it has been accomplished. Already publishers can enable viewing of limited free content via the paywall. They can also limit viewing to parts of an article and customize the paywall experience. There is still more paywall development to come too.
So AMP has arrived, and it seems as though it will be popular with publishers. How it will develop over the coming months remains to be seen; we will be following its progress with interest.