How will Google AMP Affect Your Mobile Strategy?

By Jeff Kamikow

Google’s AMP project, short for Accelerated Mobile Pages, sounds great on paper for consumers of content, but for mobile advertisers and businesses it represents a tremendous shakeup.

Put simply, an AMP-enabled page uses a stripped-down version of HTML and Javascript to render text and images much faster. It one sense, it’s like Google is trying to bring back the simplicity of mid-1990s internet.

Why is Google doing this? Page speed and mobile-friendliness. It is in Google’s interests to make its search engine as friendly as possible, and people do not like to wait for pages to load. More to the point, Google wants to deliver the information people are seeking as quickly as possible. That’s why they’ve developed things like knowledge cards and quick snippets. But if someone just wants the latest info from a news story, that’s too much information for a quick snippet. ¬†Enter AMP pages.

AMP-enabled pages require less rendering time and less data to transfer, both big bonuses for consumers. AMP-enabled pages are viewed high on the search page in a swipe-carousel format. They have a special icon next to the results to show they are AMP-enabled.

The system is open to any publisher that is willing to put in the necessary work to make these pages. Does this sound too good to be true? Well, yes.

The type of content that can be displayed on AMP pages is very restricted. For instance, there can’t be any forms on AMP pages, so forget thinking about capturing emails on a snazzy-fast landing page. Another thing is UX. AMP blows most UX away in its quest for speed and simplicity. There are no external style sheets or external Javascript. If you choose to enable AMP on pages, they’re going to have to look good using Google’s version and that’s likely not going to match up with your UX plan. Inline ads are allowed with AMP content, but only for a select group of ad partners. If you’re in the group, great. But otherwise, you may be left out in the cold. Fortunately, the group of AMP-allowed advertisers is likely to grow as the new specification is embraced.

What about backlinks? AMP pages have a URL that starts with http://www.google.com/amp and then pastes the actual URL. It is unclear how Google is going to affect organic rankings when you have both AMP and normal pages. Google is promoting the use of AMP, but whether or not organic results will get pulled up for other pages on a domain remains to be seen.

AMP is also optimized for news content and blog posts. Pure information. If your content strategy doesn’t revolve around these, then AMP isn’t likely to do you much good. However, it’s certainly something to keep an eye on for the future.