What is AMP?
With mobile traffic share continuing to rise it is increasingly a concern that websites are just not loading fast enough over mobile connections. AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is an attempt to solve this issue and though still a proof of concept, already Google is involved.
So what is AMP? Using existing technologies, AMP is a framework used to build webpages that are lightweight and more importantly, blisteringly fast. By restricting valid AMP pages to using AMP HTML, a shared library of scripts and restrictions on the use of CSS, the project hopes to make mobile browsing a far more pleasant experience and with Google's increasing interest in mobile devices this can only be seen as a good thing from an SEO standpoint can't it?
The trade-off though is that a second version of the page must be created and maintained. While this may be an issue for a bespoke CMS which would have to be updated to create the required page, one of the most popular platforms, Wordpress, are already developing a plugin to support AMP and we expect, should it be a success, others to follow.
Some developers are not entirely happy about certain aspects of AMP however. Load speed is not a mobile only issue and where do you draw the line between mobile and desktop? The answer is that it is still early days. As I mentioned, AMP is a proof of concept but Google seem enthusiastic about it and the demo, available if you are on a mobile device, seems convincing.
So is it a good thing? Media rich sites are never going to load instantly and hand tuning can only do so much. As a developer I have mixed feelings, I can see the benefits of certain websites utilising this technology to deliver news and information quickly but at the same time I don't want to go back to the era of the mobile friendly version of a site. At the end of the day though it's the users and customers that determine the success of a website and I'm a user as well, I too want information to be available instantly.