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What Is Google AMP and What Does It Mean to Users?

Google Amp
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Jason Bott
ByPor Jason Bott

Jason has been working as a consultant and project manager with enterprises of all sizes for over 20 years. His expertise lies in utilizing technology to solve problems that reduce costs and increase profits. He has been instrumental in implementing successful software projects for Shell, NOV, C&J, Nabors, Total, Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Noble, American Tower, AIG, NASA, Nike as well as many smaller firms.

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Are you or your developers using AMP yet? You certainly might want to consider it, as Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) can speed up your coding and boost your page views, particularly now that Google has integrated AMP listings into its mobile search hits (February 24, 2016). Hopefully, if you’re not using AMP yet, this article will change your mind.

What Is Google AMP?

The AMP Project is a service offered by Google to help you build fast-rendering web pages for static content. Essentially, it is a set of HTML rules that lighten pages by doing away with more demanding scripts and thus offering lightning-fast rendering. AMP is made up of three parts:

  1. AMP HTML is HTML with some added restrictions to stabilize performance, in conjunction with some extensions that help you build richer content than what basic HTML allows for. Most pages in AMP HTML are regular HTML tags, with some tags replaced by custom AMP-specific tags, which make it far easier to implement common performance patterns.
  2. AMP JS helps boost rendering speeds by serving as a readily accessible library for the aforementioned custom AMP tags. What’s more, it prevents pages from blocking content by asynchronizing anything coming from external sources. Further performance boosters include the fact that AMP JS disables slow CSS selectors; pre-calculates the entire page layout, element by element, before loading resources; and sandboxes all iframes.
  3. AMP Cache is a proxy-based network that delivers all valid AMP documents by fetching pages written in AMP HTML, caching them, and automatically boosting their performance. To boost efficiency, all documents in AMP Cache, as well as all JS files and images associated with them, are uploaded from the same HTTP 2.0 origin. In addition, AMP Cache automatically validates the functionality of your page by running a series of assertions to confirm it meets the requisite AMP HTML specifications.

What Can AMP Do for Me?

Now that we’ve seen some of the key features of Google AMP, the question remains of what it can do for you. Obviously, to answer that question, we’ll want to take a look at results. We’ve already looked at several ways that AMP can lighten your pages and make them render faster. But how fast is fast? Thanks to AMP’s lightweight design and the AMP Cache to back it up, we’re talking instantaneous – a second or two for most pages, even those containing video.

While faster rendering is a good thing in and of itself, AMP can translate not only into speed but dollars, as well, as it can significantly boost your SEO rankings. This is because, with Google favoring faster-rendering pages, pages using AMP coding will appear in special places within search results, and/or get marked with a special “AMP” designation, which in turn can direct more traffic to those pages, meaning more business for you.