AMP in 2024: Still the Mobile Speed King?

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Introduction

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is an open-source framework introduced by Google in October 2015. Its primary goal was to enhance the mobile browsing experience by delivering rich web pages at lightning-fast speeds. However, AMP’s significance and worth in 2023 have come under discussion as modern technologies and web standards have evolved. Let’s dive into what AMP is, its pros and cons, and whether it is worth retaining on websites.

I. What is AMP?

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a web component framework built to create fast, user-friendly, and effective mobile web pages. It uses a stripped-down form of HTML, AMP HTML that allows pages to load faster than standard HTML.

AMP eliminates elements known to cause web page latency, such as JavaScript and third-party scripts. Instead, it uses a streamlined version of CSS for styling and restricts JavaScript usage to improve page loading speed. Additionally, AMP uses a content delivery network (CDN) called Google AMP Cache to serve cached versions of the web pages for faster load times.

II. Advantages of AMP

  1. Faster Page Load Times: The most significant advantage of AMP is that it delivers web pages much faster than traditional mobile pages. Since AMP pages are stripped-down versions of regular web pages, they require less data and load faster.
  2. Improved Mobile SEO Ranking: Google has long stressed the importance of mobile-first indexing. AMP can provide an SEO advantage since page speed is critical to Google’s mobile ranking. Websites using AMP will likely rank higher in Google’s mobile search results.
  3. Increased User Engagement: Fast-loading pages translate to better user experience and engagement. Users are less likely to abandon a site if the page loads quickly, leading to lower bounce rates and increased time spent.

III. Disadvantages of AMP

Despite the advantages, AMP comes with its fair share of limitations.

  1. Limited Functionality: To speed up web pages, AMP restricts the use of certain HTML tags and JavaScript, limiting their functionality. For example, forms, on-page comments, and other interactive elements can be challenging to implement on AMP pages.
  2. Loss of Branding: AMP strips away many of the unique design elements of a webpage for the sake of speed. This could potentially lead to a loss of branding, as websites may look similar and lose their distinct look and feel.
  3. Dependency on Google: Since Google is the force behind AMP, websites implementing AMP are mainly dependent on Google’s rules. Any changes to AMP standards or rules can potentially affect the AMP-enabled pages.

IV. Is AMP Worth Keeping on Websites?

The decision to keep or remove AMP from your website should depend on your specific requirements and circumstances. Here are a few factors to consider:

  1. Nature of your Website: AMP can be beneficial if your website delivers fast, simple, and text-based content like news articles or blog posts. However, if your website requires complex functionality or has intricate design elements, the limitations of AMP might outweigh its benefits.
  2. Traffic from Mobile Search: Maintaining AMP could be beneficial if most of your traffic comes from mobile searches. AMP can help improve mobile search ranking and provide a better user experience.
  3. Updates in Web Standards: With the advancement of web standards like HTML5 and CSS3 and new technologies like Progressive Web Apps (PWAs), the gap between AMP and non-AMP pages in terms of performance and speed is decreasing. As a result, you could achieve fast load times without AMP.

Conclusion

While AMP has provided significant benefits in the past, especially for mobile users, it’s worth reassessing its value as web standards evolve and improve. It might not be necessary to strip away your site’s rich, interactive elements for speed. In some cases, a well-optimized website using modern technologies could match or even surpass the performance of an AMP page. Ultimately, the decision should be guided by your website’s specific needs, the nature of your content, and your user engagement strategy.

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