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20 March 2020

Do we really need Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Do we really need Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?
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By Sandeep Sharma

Accelerated Mobile Pages

The dilemma on whether you really need the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) technology for your website is normal as such puzzles arise quite often especially when one is in the deciding phase of implementation of a new technology.

You might consider it an easy affair when it comes to taking such decisions. Just weigh the pros against the cons, and if the pros outweigh the cons implement the technology else discard it. But, the decision is not that simple, you need to consider a host of other aspects as well before you can arrive at a solid decision.

But before discussing whether to use AMP or not, let us first understand what it is along with the pros and cons.

What is AMP?

AMP is an open-source framework that bears the capability of accelerating the loading speed of mobile web pages even if the pages contain heavy content, like infographics, PDFs, audio or video files. AMP disables all the elements that retard the speed and performance of your website. The framework was developed by Google as a competitor to Facebook Instant Articles and Apple News in response to the growing usage of mobiles in internet search.

The underlying rationale is pretty clear—to accelerate loading speeds of web pages in mobiles, as users hate slow loading websites. And users often tend to abandon a page if it takes more than 53 seconds to load, research shows.

Technically speaking, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is built with three major components for speeding up loading mobile web pages. The components are:

AMP HTML

It is an extension of HTML with some custom AMP properties for better as well as reliable properties. The custom elements enable easy implementation of the common tags and speed up site performance. The AMP library can be called upon as it is linked within the code itself.

With the traditionally designed pages, browsers might not be able to detect in what way the content has to be laid out until the entire code is loaded. Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) takes care of this aspect by ensuring that the position and the size of each element are determined within the HTML prior to the loading of the actual resources.

AMP JS

It is a library in which scripts are interlinked to allow only good and clean code to be used instead of bloated code to prevent slow loading times. The library enables asynchronous (parallel) loading JavaScript instead of sequentially and that imparts speed to web page loading times.

AMP Cache

It improves the page performances by extracting and caching AMP HTML automatically and thus accelerates page load times. As preferred by Google search results, it allows the web pages to be discoverable by search engines quickly.

AMP Characteristics

AMP has a few characteristics:

  • Its focus is to limit the slow parts of web technologies. Although the major focus is on the virtual elimination of JavaScript, it also curtails some HTML and CSS portions
  • Adding custom <amp> tags to substitute parts of the functionality lost due to the
  • above restrictions for limited, predefined, performant, web components
  • Ads are supported in a limited way using custom <amp> tags
  • Works mainly for static web pages, such as news, blogs and so on. However, feature-rich web applications will not work. And these are often the pages that struggle the most on mobile

AMP Benefits

AMP entails the remarkable benefit of providing users a smooth and engaging browsing experience by speeding up loading times for web pages. It also delivers successful SEO campaigns by helping the corresponding websites to rank higher in search engine results.

So, with AMP, you can:

  • Speed up loading times of web pages
  • Engage you audience
  • Maintain control as well as flexibility
  • Reduce complexity
  • Run better SEO campaigns

AMP Downsides

You have now understood the advantages of AMP, but do not get carried away and finalize your decision to implement the technology straight away. Wait a while as there are some drawbacks too. Let us then understand the downsides, so that figuring out whether to implement or not will become relatively easy.

The following are the main drawbacks:

  • No doubt, AMP increases the loading times of web pages, but it does so depending on the cache. That means you have to depend on the cache to speed up the loading times
  • Google Analytics becomes a time-consuming affair. You need to implement a different tag at all the AMP pages
  • Despite the AMP pages are mobile-friendly, their limited capacity to support ads is likely to reduce your revenue from ads

Is AMP Really a Need?

Now comes the moot point: do we really need AMP? Weighing the pros against the cons, you might not be able to arrive at a concrete answer. You need to take into consideration other factors as well. And our straight forward suggestion is: skip AMP for the time being if your website is already mobile-friendly and let the technology withstand the test of time.

If AMP cannot prove its worth, then there is also a chance of Google eventually declaring it as a failed technology. However, if you really find the technology worth implementing, then restrict from using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) in all pages of your website. Use AMP is pages like, blogs and critical information.

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