In October, Google announced Accelerated Mobile Pages, a new open source project, which is basically its answer to Facebook’s Instant Articles. Like Instant Articles, the purpose of the project is to enable web pages to load more quickly on mobile devices.
Do you think Accelerated Mobile Pages are the best way forward for mobile search results? Share your thoughts in the comments.
The project utilizes a new open framework called AMP HTML, which is built on existing web technologies, and is aimed at letting websites build light-weight pages.
Last month, the company announced that it would begin sending traffic to AMP pages in Google search beginning early next year. In a new update, Google says this will begin happening as early as late February. There was still no specific date given, but that's a little more definite than what we got before.
The project was always bigger than Google itself. Others on board from the beginning include Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, WordPress.com, ChartBeat, Parse.ly, and Adobe Analytics, which will all integrate AMP HTML Pages.
According to the project's website, Twitter will begin experimenting with linking to AMP content provided by publishers early next year, as will LinkedIn. Pinterest is already testing pages in their iOS and Android apps. Pinterest, by the way, found that the pages load four times faster and use eight times less data than traditional mobile-optimized pages.
Messaging apps LINE, Viber, and Tango have also joined the effort, and will link to AMP content early next year.
"CMS and analytics providers are critical players in the AMP ecosystem and have stepped up with fantastic support for the initiative," says Richard Gingras, Head of News at Google. "WordPress will support all publishers that wish to enable AMP pages beginning in January. From the world of analytics, comScore, Chartbeat, Google Analytics, and Parse.ly will have AMP support in their tools by late February."
"The initial roadmap for ads includes faster ads, ads that can resize, and support for viewability; as well as integration with certain data management providers, and sponsored content providers," he says. "While these new capabilities are being implemented in AMP, publishers and ad tech partners are working in parallel to implement and test them. Buyers have also been engaged: Annalect (Omnicom Media Group) is currently reviewing the project and excited about what AMP is trying to accomplish for users and advertising. Advertising companies that have expressed their intention to support AMP include: Outbrain, AOL, Taboola, OpenX, DoubleClick, AdSense, Pubmatic, Integral Ad Science, Moat, Smart AdServer, Krux, Polar, Nativo and Teads.tv."
They are also in the process of implementing a richer analytics framework. The initial functionality for this will be available this month. Preliminary end-to-end testing for publishers and analytics providers will also begin this month. Full testing, Gingras says, will happen next month.
He had this to say about content format innovation:
New components and enhancements to existing ones continue to be designed and added to AMP. Highlights include amp-iframe, which now has resizing capability, and amp-click-to-play to enable a rich experience within an iframe once a user interaction has occurred. We now havetemplates to dynamically fetch fresh content, inspired by the need to support onward journey experiences. What’s more, several technology partners have contributed new code to AMP: Brightcove has submitted the amp-brightcovecomponent to enable a Brightcove Video Cloud or Perform player to be displayed and Vine has built an amp-vine component to display a Vine embed. Several more initial format components have been prioritized and are being tracked on Github.
As far as search engine ranking goes, Danny Sullivan said in a tweet last month that AMP pages won’t rank better because they’re AMP, but noted that Google already rewards speedy pages, so they can still benefit.
However, a new report from Sullivan's Search Engine Land site (this one from Greg Sterling) says:
From the event, two important tidbits: AMP pages may get a ranking boost and perhaps a “fast” label designation, similar to how Google shows labels for mobile-friendly pages. Both points are speculative however.
Google discussed mobile page speed as an existing ranking factor (there’s debate about how much of a factor). Since AMP improves load time and page speed, publishers that have AMP pages will likely be prioritized in search results. Google didn’t confirm this explicitly but reiterated the importance of page speed. AMP is likely to be the most accessible way to improve page load times.
Google has already made mobile-friendliness a ranking signal, and the whole point of AMPs is to make for a better mobile experience. It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which AMPs aren’t benefiting in rankings.
What do you think about the AMP initiative? Share your thoughts in the comments.