Mobile Internet traffic has increased considerably in recent years. Indeed, in 2018, this traffic represents more than 50% of the total traffic online and is still increasing. Mobile page loading speed is becoming a major issue for websites. To meet this growing demand, websites must adapt to the mobile format to offer an increasingly higher quality service to mobile users.
AMP format, a revolutionary new web tool
Improved user experience
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. This format speeds up the display of web pages on smartphones or tablets. Launched by Google at the beginning of 2016, it reduces page loading time on mobile phones by 15 to 85%, making it possible to load pages almost instantly. Indeed, this technology will very quickly load content and images in order to provide the page information to the user in record time.
This format therefore improves the user experience by saving mobile users time and ensuring that they don’t lose their attention by maximizing the speed of the loading time.
A new way of understanding information
This format also offers media sites a new way of understanding information with the creation of carousels. Google offers news carousels that can be automatically scrolled through the search engine, allowing you to offer diversified content to mobile users and at the same time to better refer sites benefiting from this optimization, especially news sites.
Google AMP works by optimizing web page loading by allowing Google’s servers to host content directly while leaving the benefit of advertising revenue to the hosting site, and therefore not financially penalizing sites with this system.
AMP impacts on SEO
Google’s SEO algorithm is complex and takes into account a wide range of criteria. However, in order to provide the most valuable service possible to its users, Google considers site loading speed as a primary criterion for natural referencing. So, for two sites with the same information, Google’s algorithm will favour the site in AMP format, which should take much less time to load than a traditional web page.
In addition, sites with access to this technology have a logo on the browser that allows them to stand out from other sites and attract user attention, which is a significant advantage in terms of organic SEO.
Online trends are strongly in favour of mobile-friendly sites. As a result, responsive sites, i.e. sites adapted to the mobile format, have developed steadily in recent years. Today, the AMP format tends to further improve the user experience on smartphones.
But Google doesn’t plan to stop there. Since 2018, the American giant has launched AMP stories. This concept allows sites to offer a new content format. AMP stories are automatic dynamic animations offered by websites. Based on the concept of Snapchat, Facebook or Instagram stories, the idea is to develop a playful format to convey information that engages the user and gives him access to a wide range of content very quickly. This new concept is expected to grow considerably and become widely available on mobile web networks.
Limitations of the AMP format
However, the AMP format has some limitations. First, the weight of web pages with AMP technology is limited to 50 KB. This constraint limits the content that can be offered by web stakeholders with this improvement, the possibilities of leveraging brand image and differentiating from competitors. Also, the dynamic elements are disabled to reduce the page size as much as possible and optimize loading. Finally, the CSS style of the pages is greatly simplified in order to load web pages more quickly.
All these constraints are acceptable but tend to simplify the structure of the web pages as much as possible, which limits the quality and diversity of the content offered to users.
In addition, the use of AMP format requires Google to support web page hosting using a caching system. From then on, the search engine becomes the owner of the content. The control of the content’s author therefore becomes limited and this tends to restrict the sites from which the content originates.
In addition, by minimizing the weight of web pages and displays, the AMP format considerably limits advertising revenues, which can be a primary source of funding for many sites.
Also, the system still has some flaws, and it may be difficult for some sites in AMP format to interpret their analytical data. Indeed, when a user browsing an AMP page switches to a link redirecting to the content hosting site, this user is considered an external user. Note that Google is supposed to have fixed this problem, so you should no longer see this difference if you have made the leap to AMP technology.
However, this approach is much more effective and rapid than the responsive one and could completely supplant this practice. While mobile-friendly has become par for the course online, AMP technology is currently the most advanced format for delivering the best user experience to mobile users.
Can you do without the AMP format to optimize your SEO?
AMP format is a very efficient and fast technology that provides a quality user experience by significantly reducing or even eliminating the time it takes to load web pages on mobile phones. However, it is possible to have a mobile-friendly site without going through AMP. Many SEO experts agree that a site whose loading time is correctly optimized will have nothing to envy in AMP format.
1. Identify your website’s heavy images
Images weigh the most on web pages and affect the length of loading time. Identifying the size of the web page elements is necessary to optimize the loading process.
2. Optimize them without losing quality
Secondly, reducing the size of heavy images reduces the weight of the page and therefore reduces loading times. Several free tools on the Internet allow you to reduce the size of these images without compromising their quality, such as www.tinypng.com or www.tinyjpg.com.
3. Optimize plugins
In addition, you can also optimize plugins, large files that slow down the loading of web pages, by reducing them to a minimum or optimizing them to make them less heavy and reduce loading time.
4. Lighten the WordPress theme
We can also consider lightening the WordPress theme, by allowing the script to be loaded secondarily, giving you faster access to the content.
These tips improve the user experience by reducing loading times and directly optimizing SEO. However, Google strongly encourages people to switch to the AMP format to benefit from the best possible natural referencing with an unbeatable loading speed but requires them to accept the constraints imposed by this optimization. As a result, this technology may not be suitable for all types of websites.
News sites and blogs in particular are likely to increase the use of the AMP format. However, the switch to AMP format is not at all an obligation for sites that are already optimized to be mobile-friendly and does not necessarily guarantee a top position in the SERPs. A number of constraints discourage some site owners, the most important being the loss of ownership of content that is now hosted on Google’s servers.
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