Transcend Marketing | The Simple Guide to Google AMP
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The Simple Guide to Google AMP

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It’s no secret that Google has been on a quest to make mobile browsing an all round better experience for users. Mobile usage has skyrocketed in the last few years (it overtook fixed internet browsing in 2014), but the technology supporting this has been lagging, with the net result being slow loading times, high bounce rates and lost revenue opportunities.

Finally, Google has answered with its latest project that hopes to provide a better and faster framework for publishers to capitalise on mobile usage, without losing any ad revenue – or speed!

What is Google AMP?

Last October, the global tech giant, announced its exciting new and completely open source, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. As Google describes it, AMP pages are designed to load instantaneously and will “improve the entire mobile content ecosystem for everyone” including publishers, content creators and end users. At the very heart of this project is the vision that publishers will be able to “create mobile optimised content once, and have it load instantly everywhere”.

How does it work?

An Accelerated Mobile Page works just like a normal HTML page and can be loaded in any modern browser or app web view. The crucial difference between an HTML page and an AMP HTML page is that the latter has much of the technical functionality stripped back to allow for the prioritisation of speed and faster load times.

“AMP files take advantage of various technical and architectural approaches that prioritise speed to provide a faster experience for users. The goal is not to homogenise how content looks and feels, but instead to build a more common technical core between pages that speeds up load times.”

Another major feature of AMPs is that they can be cached in the cloud and since Google is offering their caching service for free, there’s, even more incentive to get behind the project.

Why is Google AMP important?

The AMP project will be a much-needed step forward for tech companies, publishers and the marketing industry as a whole. Not only will it make content work better on mobile, it will also boost search rankings and create a much more user-friendly environment. Starting from this February, all AMP optimised news stories will be featured at the very top of Google’s mobile search results, which is a huge win for publishers.

The project is backed by some major publishers in the tech world with companies like Twitter, Linkedin, Adobe Analytics, Chartbeat, Parse.ly and WordPress.com all lined up to integrate AMP HTML pages.

What does it look like?

Check out this post to see a demo of AMP.

How does this compare to Facebook Instant Articles & Apple news

Google is not the first company to try and improve mobile browsing experience – last year Facebook and Apple launched their own applications that sought to do exactly that. Instant Articles and Apple News allow publishers to have their content displayed in a more mobile-friendly way – meaning they’ll load faster and look much prettier when compared to a non-optimized page. They key difference between these two offerings is that an AMP web page can be viewed on any device in a browser, whereas Apple News or Instant articles can only be viewed in their respective apps, limiting the user to either one application or in some cases a single device.

With Google’s AMP Project, all content created is optimised for the mobile usage and can be effortlessly viewed across the open web – i.e. AMP content is not restricted to an application. The project is also completely open source, meaning anyone can contribute to it and take from it.

How do you get started?

If you’re already conversant in HTML, Javascript etc. you won’t find the switch to AMP HTML difficult. If you’re a beginner we recommend you start with this basic tutorial that talks you through everything from creating your first AMP HTML page to publishing it. It’s vitally important that you validate your page i.e. check that it is AMP compliant with Google’s validator – but fear not, the tutorial covers this too.

AMP is a welcome step for publishers who want to cut out slow loading times and the resulting bounce rates and lost revenue – from ads that never were. With massive players like Twitter, WordPress.com and Linkedin all weighing in, it’s most definitely something worth spending a bit of extra time on, to get your head around around how it works. To sum it all up, for marketers the benefits are clear, you get a much better experience for your readers, your content gets ranked higher in searches and you’ll only have to optimise it once and let AMP do the rest!

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