Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages To Go Mainstream In The Coming Months

Accelerated Mobile PagesGoogle’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project, which aims to improve the performance of the mobile web, is set to become available for a wider range of search results in the coming months. Currently, mobile searchers are able to access AMPed pages via the “Top Stories” section of Google’s search results. Google are currently testing a wider roll-out, which should see more AMP pages included in regular search results.

Accelerated Mobile Pages is essentially a forked version of HTML, a set of rules about what can be included on a page, and a JavaScript library. These components, and the insistence that AMP pages not include any third-party JavaScript libraries, result in much faster page-loads than we’re used to seeing on mobile devices.

Publishers don’t control whether their site loads an AMP page — that’s handled by third parties like search engines and apps, which can choose whether or not to load the AMPed version of the page, should one be available.

AMP has not been without its detractors, in particular those who point out that websites could be just as fast if publishers exercised some discipline with regard to the assets they include on pages. Creating a parallel web that requires publishers to maintain two versions of their pages is probably not the ideal solution to bloat on the web.

Nevertheless, AMP has proven hugely popular. Many of the world’s biggest publishers have implemented AMP. Google boasts that it now has 150 million AMP documents in its index.

It’s particularly interesting to see how AMP has expanded beyond its original scope. When it was first released, AMP was clearly targeted at news publishers, but Google’s announcement mentions how it’s currently being used for eCommerce product pages, recipes, and a variety of other content types.

It should be noted that Google’s expansion of AMP pages in its search results has no impact on ranking at the moment. It’s unclear whether that will change in the future, because Google already uses page performance as a ranking signal, and AMP certainly helps with that. Google also indicates whether a page is mobile-friendly in search results, and what it considers mobile-friendly may change over time. If AMP adoption continues at its current rate, the goal posts for mobile friendliness could evolve.

For WordPress sites, implementing AMP is quite straightforward. Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, was one of Google’s early partners on the project. The WordPress AMP plugin, developed by Automattic, will give WordPress sites AMPed pages without requiring much in the way of manual intervention.

Matthew Davis is a technical writer and Linux geek for Future Hosting.

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