Google’s Need for Speed – the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project

To engage users on mobile devices it’s essential that content loads fast – mobile users are increasingly intolerant of slow loading pages and abandonment rates are correspondingly high.

This has been recognised by Facebook which in May introduced Instant Articles while Apple released Apple News with iOS9. Instant Articles makes news articles from some news publishers seem to load instantly within Facebook; whilst Apple News is similar to Flipboard, but currently only available in a handful of markets – NZ not being one unfortunately.

These initiatives from Facebook and Apple both threaten to increasingly divert users away from Google. In response, last week Google announced a new open-source initiative that will result in pages loading significantly faster on mobile phones and tablets. The Accelerated Mobile Pages project or AMP is being driven by Google in conjunction with about 30 publishers including Twitter, Vox, BuzzFeed, The Verge and The Washington Post.

AMP HTML is a new open framework using existing web technologies that allows light-weight fast loading web pages to be built. Google demonstrates just how quickly Google search pages will load using AMP here. As you can see – page loads are stunningly fast.

google AMP search

Whilst some of the publishers already have AMP pages we understand this will be fully rolled out in 2016 and extend to other Google services, such as Google News.

Why should you care?

As consumers we’re all increasingly using mobile devices to access the web, so the faster pages load on our mobile devices the better.

And if you’re a website publishers it will be important not to get left behind. Should your competitors start using AMP but you don’t, then it’s likely you’ll start to see a drop in website traffic as users abandon your website for competitors.

If you want to start using AMP pages you’ll find details here.

The great news is that this technology won’t be limited just to big publishers because WordPress has announced it will be launching a plugin that will allow WordPress website owners to easily create AMP versions of webpages and posts with a single click. Given that one in four websites are published on WordPress this should result in the rapid widespread adoption of AMP.

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About the Author Mark Sceats

Mark is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire which he founded back in 2002. Prior to establishing SureFire he worked for KPMG Consulting. Today Mark heads up SEO, embracing the challenges that can come with complex website implementations. Outside of work, his interests beyond his family are running, snowsports, diving and fishing (badly).

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