AMP – accelerated mobile pages – what it is?

AMP – accelerated mobile pages – what it is?

AMP, the accelerated mobile page, is a framework developed by Google that aims to improve the loading speed and enhance the overall user experience of web pages.

What exactly are accelerated mobile pages? And what is the concept behind accelerated mobile pages (AMP)?

AMP is an engaging framework introduced by Google in 2016, specifically designed for building web pages.

Although the primary objective of AMP was to enhance loading speed and improve user experience, there have been several challenges associated with its adoption as a widely used web page model.

AMP pages coexist alongside regular mobile pages, resulting in two versions of the same content. These two pages are linked using a special header tag, which is utilized by GoogleBot and potentially other search engines for indexing purposes.

How do accelerated mobile pages (AMP) work?

AMP operates through a set of components and techniques designed to enable fast-loading mobile pages from search results. These elements optimize the page by eliminating features that contribute to slow loading times. Here are the key points:

  1. Asynchronous JavaScript (JS): AMP utilizes asynchronous JS, which differs from regular JS. It restricts the use of JS authored by the website’s webmaster, allowing only certain AMP-approved scripts.
  2. Quick determination of page layout: The AMP HTML code defines the dimensions of essential page elements, such as images and inline frames. This enables AMP to determine the size and position of these elements before the complete page loads. It achieves this with a single Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) request.
  3. Inline styles only: AMP permits only inline styles and avoids external mechanisms that can impede page rendering. It avoids using external Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and instead focuses on keeping the styles inline within the HTML.
  4. Controlled downloads: AMP prioritizes page loading by limiting the downloads to essential page resources. It strategically fetches and loads components that are crucial for immediate rendering, while delaying or optimizing the loading of other resources.
  5. Pre-rendering: AMP can pre-render web pages within search results, making them instantly viewable to users before they navigate to the actual page. This pre-rendering capability enhances the perceived speed and user experience.

By employing these techniques and components, AMP significantly improves the loading speed and performance of web pages on mobile devices, providing users with a seamless and fast browsing experience.

How Google AMP works?

Google AMP is designed to significantly reduce page loading times, with the average loading time of an AMP page being less than one second. This has led to widespread adoption, with over 900,000 domains publishing more than 2 billion AMP pages.

The core components of Google AMP are AMP HTML, Google AMP Cache, and the AMP JS library, which work together to enable fast-loading pages.

AMP HTML: AMP HTML is based on standard HTML with certain restrictions and specialized tags. It retains the structure of regular HTML but incorporates custom AMP properties. Some standard HTML tags are replaced with custom tags that are optimized to work seamlessly with other AMP components.

AMP JavaScript (JS) Library: When a web page loads, the browser creates a Document Object Model (DOM) that establishes the connection between the web page and the underlying programming language. JavaScript utilizes the DOM to access and manipulate HTML documents. However, JavaScript can sometimes block DOM construction, leading to delays in page rendering. AMP addresses this issue by prohibiting the use of author-written JavaScript, ensuring the smoother and faster rendering of AMP pages.

Google AMP Cache: Google’s AMP Cache functions as a proxy-based content delivery network (CDN). It fetches AMP HTML pages, caches them, and automatically enhances their performance. By leveraging Google’s infrastructure, AMP pages can be served quickly from the cache, further improving loading times and optimizing page delivery.

These components work together to optimize the performance of mobile websites, providing an improved user experience for visitors.

For non-coders, AMP plugins are available for WordPress, enabling the creation of AMP versions of web pages with a simple activation of these plugins. Once activated, the URLs of posts are automatically given an “/amp/” version, indicating the AMP version of the page. Additionally, the plugin adds a standard meta tag to normal pages, making AMP-activated pages recognizable to Google.

Why are accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) so important?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) hold considerable importance for content producers for two primary reasons:

  1. Enhanced user experience: AMPs significantly improve loading speeds, ensuring users’ smooth and seamless experience. In today’s fast-paced digital landscape, where slow-loading pages can result in losing potential users, AMPs significantly upgrade web pages. This is particularly beneficial for websites with complex code or those that interact with other content within their platforms.
  1. Visibility on Google: AMPs play a crucial role in improving visibility in Google search results. Setting up AMPs requires minimal investment while offering substantial benefits. Google introduced the AMP Carousel, which prioritizes news-related queries and displays them prominently on the search results pages. This special treatment is a result of AMP’s support from major industry players, excluding Facebook and Apple.

Whether your website requires optimization due to complicated code or you aim to enhance visibility on Google, implementing AMPs can substantially boost your overall performance and user experience. But there are more points to mention in detail.

  1. Speed optimization: One of the primary objectives of AMP is to deliver blazing-fast loading speeds for web pages. AMP achieves this by employing various optimization techniques, such as pre-rendering, lazy loading of images, and resource prioritization. The streamlined code structure and limited use of JavaScript contribute to faster rendering and improved performance.
  2. SEO benefits: Implementing AMP can have positive implications for search engine optimization (SEO). Google prioritizes mobile-friendly and fast-loading pages in search results, and AMP can provide a competitive advantage in mobile search rankings. AMP pages often appear with a lightning bolt icon, indicating their AMP status, which can attract more clicks from users.
  3. Mobile-first indexing: With the shift towards mobile devices for internet access, Google has emphasized the importance of mobile-first indexing. AMP pages are optimized for mobile, making them an attractive option for publishers looking to improve their mobile search rankings. By promoting AMP, Google encourages publishers to create mobile-friendly content and enhance the overall mobile web experience. In organic mobile search results, mobile-friendly websites are rewarded with higher rankings. Pages built with AMP are likely to receive higher rankings in mobile search results compared to non-AMP pages. The primary reason behind this is that AMP enables faster page loading, which aligns with the search engine’s preference for delivering a seamless user experience. The positive effect of AMP on page load speed not only benefits user experience but also has the potential for a greater impact on search engine results pages (SERPs) in the future. As search engines continue to prioritize fast-loading and mobile-friendly pages, AMP’s emphasis on quick loading times positions it favorably for enhanced visibility and ranking in mobile search results.
  4. Mobile user experience: With the increasing dominance of mobile devices in internet usage, providing a seamless and engaging user experience is crucial. AMP focuses on creating a responsive and mobile-first experience by ensuring that web pages adapt well to different screen sizes and orientations. AMP’s standardized components and layouts contribute to a consistent and user-friendly interface.
  5. Data usage reduction: AMP pages offer the advantage of caching content for end-users, allowing them to save on data usage by downloading content only when necessary. This reduced data consumption not only helps users conserve their data allowance but also lowers costs associated with data usage. This aspect encourages users to prefer AMP over standard mobile pages. By leveraging AMP, businesses can create websites and applications that cater to mobile users, regardless of their internet connection speed. This ensures a broader reach and improved accessibility for users, further enhancing the overall user experience.
  6. Improves server responses: Connected with the above-mentioned. In addition to delivering an enhanced user experience, the AMP web framework also contributes to improving server performance by reducing the load on servers. If your website receives significant mobile traffic, implementing AMP can help alleviate the strain on servers and boost overall performance. AMP content is pre-fetched, which means that it is retrieved in advance, reducing the workload on your servers. This pre-fetching mechanism significantly improves server responses and enables faster load times, as mentioned earlier.
  7. Content portability: AMP offers the advantage of content portability across various platforms and devices. AMP pages can be easily cached and served from different locations, including Google AMP Cache and content delivery networks (CDNs). This enables faster content delivery, particularly in areas with limited connectivity or slower network speeds.
  8. Support for interactive features: Initially, AMP was primarily focused on delivering static content efficiently. However, the framework has evolved to support interactive features while maintaining its performance benefits. AMP now provides components for forms, lightboxes, image carousels, and other interactive elements, allowing developers to create engaging experiences within the AMP framework.
  9. E-commerce applications: While initially popular in news publishing and content-driven websites, AMP has also expanded its reach to e-commerce platforms. AMP for E-commerce allows retailers to create fast-loading product pages, enabling users to quickly browse and make purchases directly from AMP-enabled search results or social media platforms.
  10. Progressive web AMPs: The concept of Progressive Web AMPs combines the benefits of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) with AMP technology. This approach allows developers to build web experiences that offer the speed and performance advantages of AMP while incorporating the offline access, push notifications, and app-like features of PWAs.
  11. Improved security: AMP pages offer enhanced security compared to standard mobile pages. One key aspect contributing to this is that AMP pages are inaccessible outside their designated online servers. Additionally, leading internet security company Cloudflare operates its own AMP caches, further bolstering the security of these pages. The utilization of AMP and Cloudflare’s AMP caches allows organizations to safeguard their content and data from potential third-party attacks. This added layer of security provides peace of mind and reassurance for businesses seeking to protect their valuable assets while delivering fast and engaging mobile experiences to users.

What are the limitations of accelerated mobile pages (AMPs)?

Since their introduction a few years ago, AMPs have faced criticism from both the web and publisher communities, primarily focusing on two main areas:

  1. “Stolen” brand traffic: One limitation of AMPs is that they don’t allow users to click on the publisher’s content directly from the AMP itself. Instead, users are redirected back to the Google search results, which can be seen as “stealing” the brand’s traffic. This makes it challenging to measure website performance accurately and retain control over user engagement.
  2. Poor monetization capabilities: AMPs present difficulties in monetization. As mentioned earlier, the redirection of traffic from the AMP to Google search results can result in lower traffic and revenue rates for publishers. Many publishers who initially adopted AMPs due to their visibility in Google searches soon realized the implications and challenges associated with monetizing their content effectively.
  3. External content and coordination problems: Although AMP pages load quickly, there is a significant issue when it comes to external content, especially hosting advertisements. The delayed loading of ads on AMP pages can lead to missed opportunities for conversion as visitors may scroll past the ad before it fully loads. Google acknowledges this problem and states that it is actively working on resolving it. However, until a solution is implemented, publishers need to be aware of this variable and consider its impact on ad performance. Taking this into account will help publishers make informed decisions regarding AMP implementation and optimize their ad placement strategies accordingly. The main problem with external sources of data is connected with slow-loading video content – as simply not all types of content experience the same lightning-fast loading speed with AMPs. If your website heavily relies on video content, AMP may not deliver it as quickly as other types of content. Videos typically render at their own pace, which is often slow compared to other elements on AMP pages.
  4. Challenges for non-developers: Implementing AMP can be challenging, particularly for individuals without coding knowledge. For non-coders, AMP implementation is typically reliant on WordPress plugins that simplify the process. Unfortunately, this means that AMP usage may be limited to WordPress websites, as other content management systems (CMS) may not provide straightforward AMP plugins for non-developers. On non-WordPress CMS platforms, implementing AMP requires learning coding skills since there are no readily available plugins designed for non-developers. Take also into account, that the development costs for AMP can range from 5 000 USD (for smaller websites) up to 70 000 USD (for bigger websites).  Implementing AMP can be challenging due to its restrictive nature and the effort required for implementation. While the benefits can be significant, it’s important to carefully consider whether prioritizing the performance improvement of HTML web pages might be a more suitable approach for your specific needs. Following Google’s guidelines is crucial when implementing AMP pages. However, the process can become confusing due to conflicting information and frequent updates to the AMP template. And to be honest – even WP implementation of AMP can be quite tricky. Why? Even with available tools and plugins for AMP integration in certain content management systems (CMSs) like WordPress, conflicts may arise with other SEO tools such as Yoast or any other plugin you use. As a result, implementing AMP can be a complex task that requires careful consideration and attention to avoid potential conflicts and challenges.
  5. Limited analytics support: AMP has a restricted range of analytics support, primarily focusing on Google Analytics integration for WordPress users. However, it lacks flexibility in accommodating other popular analytics platforms such as Adobe Analytics, Heatmap Analytics, Crazy Egg Analytics, and Kissmetrics Analytics. And even in GA – it is hard to analyze this traffic. It’s crucial to understand that your AMP page differs from your original page. Implementing Google Analytics for AMP requires specific tags and can be time-consuming and cumbersome. Setting up these tags to collect and analyze data requires dedicated resources and efforts, which may take time and may not be immediately accessible for tracking purposes.
  6. Limited widgets and features: AMP employs a restricted range of CSS, HTML, and JavaScript, resulting in a limited selection of available widgets. In simpler terms, you cannot incorporate additional widgets and features into your AMP mobile pages, such as a Facebook “like” box or forms for email opt-ins.
  7. Google cache server: One of the reasons behind the fast loading speed of AMP pages is that Google serves users with a cached version of the AMP-enabled page. When a page appears in search results, Google retains the information and stores a copy of the content in its cache server. To access the information, users are directed to the AMP cache server rather than their own server. While Google maintains that AMP was developed as a collaborative effort, some publishers and industry analysts have expressed concerns regarding Google’s position and intentions. The main worry is that Google could potentially use AMP to shape the mobile web landscape according to its own interests. Publishers fear that relying solely on Google’s cache could result in a loss of control over content distribution, potentially impacting their advertising revenue. Therefore, it is essential to consider the implications and dependency on Google’s cache before fully committing to AMP.
  8. No leads and subscribers: AMP pages may not support certain elements such as email popups, opt-in forms, sidebar widgets, strategically placed social share buttons, and other components that are commonly used for lead generation and subscriber acquisition. As a result, there is a possibility of losing potential email subscribers and leads during the AMP conversion process. It’s important to carefully evaluate the impact of these limitations on your specific goals and consider alternative strategies to maintain lead generation and subscriber engagement.
  9. Risk of the decrease in ad revenue: Last but not least – AMP can decrease your income/revenue. How is this even possible, when you implement it because of possible revenue increase? Well… The official support for ads in the AMP Project does not guarantee the easy installation of ads on AMP pages. This limited potential to generate revenue is due to the streamlined nature of AMP, which removes unnecessary elements from the website, including certain types of advertising. As a result, the visibility of the products or services you offer to buyers or viewers may be reduced. Consequently, the potential to generate revenue becomes limited, and the advertisements from the agencies or platforms you partner with may not reach your viewers effectively. It’s worth noting that Google has made efforts to address these challenges faced by publishers using AMP. The recent introduction of AMP Advertising aims to improve the integration of content and advertising, providing a more robust platform for ad presentation. However, it is important to acknowledge that the HTML codes and structure of AMP are designed to prioritize the applicability of ads to your website, which can impact additional revenue opportunities.
  10. Limited impact on site traffic: While implementing AMP markups in pages can potentially improve visibility, it does not guarantee a significant increase in site traffic. Users may still choose to visit other pages for various reasons, and factors like content relevance and quality remain crucial in attracting traffic and driving conversions.
  11. Potential impact on webpage loading time: Webpages that combine both AMP and non-AMP content may experience slower loading times. Improper insertion of AMP HTML can also lead to issues with page performance. It is important for webmasters to carefully create and optimize content specifically for AMP to achieve the best results in terms of loading speed and overall performance.

These limitations have contributed to a slower adoption rate of AMPs compared to other emerging technologies. While AMPs offer benefits in terms of user experience and page visibility, addressing these challenges is crucial for AMPs to gain prominence on the mobile web.

While AMPs offer significant benefits to news publishers, businesses that maintain a blog and regularly publish timely content on popular topics can also potentially leverage this technology. This is particularly advantageous if there is a skilled individual on the team who can learn to build web pages using the AMP code.

However, for businesses that primarily publish evergreen content or do not have a blog at all, the investment of time and resources required to duplicate parts of their website in the AMP format may not be worthwhile. In such cases, the benefits of AMP may not outweigh the costs, making it less practical to implement AMP for their specific website needs.

Who does use AMP and why?

AMP has transformed how leading search engines and social media platforms present web content, prompting professionals in the technology sector to adopt AMP markups in their web content. Here are some roles commonly associated with AMP usage:

  • Software engineers: Software engineers utilize the AMP framework to develop mobile applications, optimizing speed and functionality by refining HTML and JS code to enhance efficiency and reduce file sizes.
  • Web developers: Web developers strategically implement AMP in homepage markup, leveraging AMP code segments to improve search engine visibility and rankings.
  • Bloggers: Bloggers can integrate AMP scripts into their blog posts, enhancing accessibility on social media platforms and search engines. AMP-coded posts may enjoy increased prominence and visibility, benefiting affiliate marketers and improving conversion rates.
  • SEO professionals: SEO experts utilize AMP markup to optimize clients’ websites, enhancing visibility on major search engines by guaranteeing a certain level of performance and service quality.
  • E-commerce managers: E-commerce websites prioritize fast speeds for high sales volumes. AMP provides a practical solution to improve page speed, enabling e-commerce managers to structure pages based on the AMP framework, increasing mobile accessibility and performance to boost click-through rates (CTR) and conversions.
  • User experience (UX) designers: UX designers employ AMP HTML and JS in mobile-focused projects to deliver optimal user experiences, enhancing functionality and interactions on websites.
  • Digital marketers: Digital marketers leverage AMP pages to present well-structured content, benefiting from improved loading times and the ability to cache feature-rich content such as videos and PDFs, ensuring wider accessibility and greater reach.
  • Small business owners: Small business owners utilize AMP to enhance online visibility, generate leads, and increase sales. AMP pages are particularly effective for local search engine results pages (SERPs), as they are indexed quickly, leading to improved visibility and higher click-through rates (CTR) on mobile devices.

By embracing AMP, professionals in various fields can improve website performance, user experience, and search engine visibility, and ultimately drive business growth.

Why Google promotes AMP and why do other companies use it?

However, Google promotes AMP as the main reason are:

  • Ad performance and viewability: AMP allows for better ad performance and viewability, which benefits both publishers and advertisers. AMP provides a controlled environment with strict guidelines for ad placements, ensuring that ads are displayed in a user-friendly manner. This leads to higher ad engagement, improved viewability, and potentially higher revenue for publishers. Google has invested in developing ad formats and solutions specifically designed for AMP. This includes AMP Ads and AMP for Ads, which enable publishers to monetize their AMP pages effectively. By supporting AMP, Google expands its ad revenue opportunities by providing a framework that encourages publishers to adopt AMP and utilize Google’s ad products. If the implementation of AMP will help to all publishers increase their revenue – honestly – I don’t think so. Everything that Google does is simply big rubbish and the same thing is AMP (and the same as well those AI recommendations for Google Ads/Adsense accounts – I would avoid that as well :-)) if you are a normal small publisher or small media company. The only reason why Google promotes AMP is – the better view rate of their ads = bigger income. And the last what they care about is publishers. Although of course Google always claims in all its materials that it cares about publishers, it constantly does everything against the interests of publishers. Unclear terms and conditions, basically no customer support, unclear changes of the algorithm, charges for invalid clicks and rules which are not clear even to people in Google, chargebacks for anything (even for valid clicks because the AI decided so…) and the inability to appeal are just some of the many reasons why hundreds of ad networks have been created in the last few years, which have no problem making a living, because Google is just really doing it wrong and there is a high probability that some publishers will start going elsewhere.
  • Promoting web standards: Google encourages the adoption of web standards and best practices. AMP’s structured and streamlined codebase follows these principles, promoting a more efficient and reliable web ecosystem. By pushing AMP, Google encourages publishers to prioritize performance, user experience, and adherence to web standards. And for sure = Google does not need to invest so much money in its hardware infrastructure to make its ad system and search engines run.

So what possible benefits can AMP have on your business?

  • Increase AMP traffic: because AMP pages rank higher, provide a better UX, and have faster loading times, they generally receive more traffic than other web pages. In fact, AMP leads to a 10% increase in website traffic overall. With more AMP traffic, many companies see growth in sales. Studies have shown that e-commerce sites with AMP pages have a 20% increase in sales compared to sites without AMP pages.
  • Decreased bounce rates: The bounce rate represents the percentage of people who visit one of your web pages and then leave the website without clicking anywhere else. Mobile users bounce from websites the most compared to users of other devices. One of the main culprits of the high mobile bounce rate is slow-loading pages. AMP pages substantially reduce bounce rates by rendering the website quickly, therefore improving the website rank. Industry mavens like Gizmodo and Wired saw a significant increase in traffic and engagement after using AMP.
  • Enhanced return on investment (ROI) for advertisements: AMP offers a favorable environment for various ad networks, aiming to deliver faster-loading ad experiences. The swift loading of ads increases the likelihood of users viewing them, maximizing the effectiveness of ad messaging and ultimately leading to improved ROI. AMPHTML ads, specifically designed for AMP pages, provide exceptional ad experiences. These ads are optimized to be fast, lightweight, and secure, ensuring a seamless and engaging user experience while driving higher ad efficiency and revenue.

Native Apps vs. PWAs vs. AMPs

This is more topic for tech guys, so in case you are not a developer, you can skip this part. 🙂

Let’s compare all three technologies to gain a better understanding of which one is most suitable for your business. But firstly – let’s start with an explanation of what each of these terms means.

  • Native apps: Native apps are applications developed specifically for a particular platform or operating system, such as iOS or Android. They are typically downloaded and installed from app stores and offer high performance, access to device features, and offline capabilities. Native apps are developed using platform-specific programming languages and tools.
  • PWAs (Progressive Web Apps): PWAs are web applications that leverage modern web technologies to deliver an app-like experience to users. They are built using web technologies such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript and can be accessed through web browsers without the need for installation. PWAs offer features like offline functionality, push notifications, and access to device features, providing a seamless user experience across different platforms.
  • AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages): AMPs are a framework introduced by Google to optimize the performance of mobile web pages. They prioritize fast loading speeds and improved user experience by utilizing a streamlined version of HTML, limited JavaScript, and specific caching techniques. AMPs are primarily designed for delivering content-focused web pages, such as news articles, with an emphasis on speed and mobile optimization.

In summary, native apps are platform-specific applications installed on devices, PWAs are web applications that offer an app-like experience, and AMPs are a framework for creating fast-loading mobile web pages. The choice between these technologies depends on factors such as your target audience, desired functionality, and development resources.

Native PWA Google AMP
Development Language Swift, Objective C, Java, C# HTML5, CSS, JavaScript HTML5
Development Cost (approx.) $25,000-$70,000 $8,000-$25,000 Free
Means of Discoverability Play Store, ASO, referral advertising Search engine optimization Search engine optimization
Device Access Completely Partially Not possible
Offline Functionality Yes Yes No
Linking & Sharing Not possible Possible via URL Possible via URL
Push Notifications Available Available Not available

Choosing the right technology for your business depends on various factors. Based on my knowledge and experience in the application development industry, here are some considerations for each technology:

Why choose native apps?

Native apps are ideal for startups or businesses that already have a website and want to expand their reach by offering a mobile application. They are well-suited for media-rich content and mobile gaming. Native apps are in high demand in industries such as hotels, insurance, flight booking, e-commerce, and digital payments. Examples of popular native apps include Pokemon Go, Skype, and Twitter.

Why choose PWAs?

PWAs are suitable for businesses that aim to attract users to visit their platform on a weekly or monthly basis, rather than every day. PWAs create an engaging web experience that encourages users to consider downloading the mobile app in the future. Industries such as travel, retail, banking, media, and e-commerce commonly benefit from PWAs. Notable brands like Forbes, Santa Tracker,, and Flipkart have seen increased conversions and tangible results through PWAs.

Why choose AMPs?

AMP is a good choice for businesses with content that is not heavily focused on media elements. It is well-suited for static content and is commonly used in news publishing, e-commerce, and advertising industries. AMP is particularly effective for sharing blogs, articles, and recipes, and it is also used for lead-generation landing pages due to its speed. Some companies that benefit from AMP include GIZMODO, The Washington Post, WIRED, Fast Commerce, and U.S. Xpress.

Ultimately, the decision on which technology to choose depends on your specific business requirements, target audience, and objectives. Consider the nature of your content, desired functionality, and user engagement goals to determine the most suitable technology for your business.

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