How To Get Your Website Up To Speed With AMP

Google aims to speed up mobile Internet access. How AMP websites speed up the loading of web pages to reflect increased mobile use of the Internet. The factors to be aware of when creating AMP pages.

Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is, as its name suggests, designed to improve web searches conducted on mobile devices by making pages load faster. With more and more people using their mobiles to access the Internet, Google wants to make sure the ‘mobile web experience’ is a good one.

Before the unveiling of AMP in October 2015, Google released a significant algorithm update focussing on a given website’s ‘mobile friendliness’ in terms of loading and rendering; this plays a large part in determining how high it ranks in search results. AMP takes this a step further for the search giant, and competes with other mobile web options such as Apple News and Facebook’s Instant Articles.

What is AMP?

AMP isn’t simply an app or business partnership in the way that Instant Articles or Apple News are; it’s a whole new way of creating web pages and effectively changes the mobile web. In effect, it is said to be changing the way the web is constructed by marginalising some technologies and advancing others.

Some web technologies that slow page loading down, such as JavaScript, are tightly controlled with AMP pages – a ‘library’ of JavaScript available from Google is the only type that can be used to create AMP pages, for example.

The general aim is to remove the ‘slow’ parts of the overall HTML. The result (at least so far) is plainer looking web pages, and some critics say it’s like looking at web pages from over twelve years ago.

This has an implication for advertising as most ads are created from third party web tools.

Open source

AMP is open source so publishers don’t have to use it, but due to Google’s dominance in Internet search it’s likely that AMP pages will rank well (at least for mobile friendliness). Consequently, web designers creating sites where organic search is important could well find themselves compelled to create AMP versions of web pages.

Creating your AMP pages

In effect, you or your web designer will be designing two versions of many of the web pages on your sites – some of the pages will be AMP with non-AMP pages running ‘side by side’. Because of the JavaScript restrictions and other constraints, forms, on-page comments and other features commonly used on web pages will be tightly controlled.

Site templates to accommodate AMP restrictions will likely need rewriting, and multimedia will have to conform to certain criteria of height and widths amongst others using AMP specific tools. For example, when embedding a YouTube video, a specific AMP YouTube component has to be used.

You’ll also need to modify the original non-AMP version of your pages to allow Google and other technologies supporting AMP to detect the Amp version of the page.

Google have said that it won’t automatically rank AMP pages higher than non-AMP ones, but has made no secret of its policy of rewarding faster loading pages with potentially higher rankings.

Caching

Another way AMP loads pages faster is by Google caching them – they ‘serve’ the page to the searcher from their servers rather than the website host’s. This is optional; a website’s AMP pages don’t have to be cached by Google.

The effect on advertising

How will ads be affected? Since virtually all ads are created using third party web tools, then not only the ads but much of the analytics has to be put to one side with AMP pages. While no ad network provided JavaScript can be run within an AMP page, a separate frame is loaded containing the ads and the creator’s JavaScript.

So far, only five advertising networks – four of which are owned by Google, AOL and Amazon – are supported, although any network can join. Presumably, so long as certain guidelines are met.

Overall

While faster page loading for an increasing part of web search – mobile – is a good thing, it’s argued that a technology company such as Google is taking yet more power from web publishers. The idea that it may be a case of having to follow a certain way is considered by some to be a throwback to the time when Microsoft dominated the browser market with Explorer.

Is 2016 The Year Bing Takes On Google?

Bing Gains Ground As Google Loses Browser Contracts

Bing has reached a record-breaking 21% share of the search engine market. Find out what this means in relation to the current market leaders, Google.

Imagine a world where we ‘Bing it’ to get the answer to a burning question rather than ‘Googling it’. 2016 could well be the year that sees this become a reality.

The Rise Of Bing

Bing, the search engine owned by Microsoft, is rapidly gaining ground on Google, who have been the dominant search engine giant for more than a decade.

Bing hasn’t always been a success story. In recent history, the Microsoft search engine was costing the company roughly $1 billion per quarter. There were calls by many to ditch the search engine market altogether. However, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella saw something in Bing that others did not and committed to investing in the service. His instinct has paid off and Bing is now making a profit of approximately $1 billion per quarter.

It is likely that the increase in profitability has come from the mass release and rollout of Windows 10 and Surface devices, both of which use Bing as their default search engine. Similarly the Windows 10 Mobile and Windows Phone operating systems are also pre-installed to have search results powered by Bing.

The Proof Is In The Stats

The search engine market share statistics speak for themselves. Bing has now reached a 21% share of the search engine market for the first time, whilst Google hangs on to a massive 64%. Google is of course still comfortably in the lead, but the speed at which Bing is increasing their grip on the market is likely to make them uneasy given that search results are Google’s core business.

An honourable mention should also be given to Yahoo who are hanging on to a market share of approximately 12%.

Companies Ditch Google

In January of this year, an enormous ten year contract begins between AOL and Microsoft, which sees AOL introduce Bing as their default search engine. AOL, which is now owned by Verizon had previously been using Google for their search results. Unfortunately, a comparable story occurred last year when Google also lost their contract with Mozilla, who chose to use Yahoo as the default engine in its browser. This was huge news at the time as it represented Google’s largest loss in search engine market share since 2009

Safari Traffic

In addition, there are rumours that Apple Safari, who currently use Google on their iPhone devices, might also be considering going with Yahoo, Bing or even their own in-house program. This would be a significant blow to Google, as reportedly more than half of mobile traffic in the USA comes from Safari, according to data collected in December 2014.

If Google continues on this downward spiral at the same time that Bing are on the up, then it’s only a matter of time before the two shall meet in the middle. However, when it comes to Google, it’s safe to say that they like a challenge and aren’t scared to shake things up. However, the same question was asked last year, and the change was not as dramatic as expected. Watch this space to find out what developments the current search engine market share leader will come up with to hang onto the crown in 2016.