Google Boosts AMP News Pages – Are You Ready For Stage 2?

AMP Is Now Live For News Stories

Accelerated mobile pages have now been launched in Google mobile search results for news items. Prepare for stage 2 by creating AMP pages for your own site.

Google has surprised the industry by launching AMP in its search results a day earlier than expected. Accelerated Mobile Pages are now visible in some of the news listings when conducting a mobile search. This means that if you go to Google Mobile and type in a popular news story that you’re searching for, then you will see a handful of headline suggestions and some will have AMP written next to them. This is the indicator for a page that is written in AMP.

Impatient Mobile Users

Google reports that 40% of mobile users will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. As the average mobile page takes 8 seconds, this is clearly a problem for the impatient mobile user of today and for site owners who are trying to attract their attention.

What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages?

The open source AMP project was designed by Google to counteract this problem. So far the search engine has gained backing from platforms such as Twitter and Pinterest, analytics tools providers and advertising networks. The purpose of AMP is to provide users with incredibly fast-loading mobile pages to enhance usability. The pages are designed using AMP which is a stripped down form of HTML.

Only certain elements of basic coding can be featured on an AMP page – anything too sophisticated such as forms or Javascript are not allowed as they will force the page load speed to lag. AMP pages are also heavily cached which removes the need for Google to fetch them. This is to provide the reader with a better user experience which is based on pure readability and speed of information delivery.

AMP and Social Networks

Google has been working with social networks such as Twitter and Pinterest as it acknowledges the shift in the way users rely on these types of platforms to point them to interesting links. By conducting trials on social platforms Google has been able to see the benefit of how AMP will work in the user’s real world. The platforms have reported incredible success with Pinterest seeing AMP pages loading four times faster than a standard mobile page.

AMP Rollout

The rollout so far has been focussed on news related stories, as they are primarily pages which are for reading rather than using interactively. However, stage 2 of the AMP rollout is likely to be upon us soon, so it is best that businesses prepare themselves by creating some AMP pages for their site.

Ideally, a company should create an AMP version of every page on their existing site, although this may not always be workable. The best way to do this largely depends on the type of site that is running. Those with a CMS system such as WordPress would be advised to download a plugin to do the hard work for them. Others can consult the official AMP site which provides plenty of information on how to write the strict but lightweight AMP code and then validate it using Google Chrome. Essentially you can write a page and the tool will highlight any errors on the page which will prevent it from working correctly. 

Business owners would be wise to start making the transition to AMP immediately. When Google does launch stage 2 of its rollout programme for AMP, those sites who are prepared will see the benefits from the outset.

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