The Importance of Google AMP for Online News Publishers
March 15, 2019

Google has been on a mission, almost since the day it launched, to do things on the internet quickly. This means ensuring its own products are fast, but its recent mission has also included making the whole internet faster, including your website. This is the goal of Google AMP.

In particular, Google AMP is about speeding up page load times for users on mobile devices.

What Is Google AMP?

AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It is a web page publishing technology that also uses Google’s infrastructure rather than the news publisher’s server.

From a technical point of view, Google AMP is a subset of standard HTML. It also only includes certain JavaScript elements.

Google designed the AMP project for content on the web that people read rather than content that people interact with. In other words, one of the primary markets Google targets with Google AMP is news publishers.

How Does It Work?

Designing a website page using Google AMP involves using AMP HTML, the AMP JavaScript library, and Google AMP Cache.

In practical terms, the process is not that much different from creating a standard website page. For example:

  • AMP HTML is standard HTML but with some restrictions. The restrictions are to speed up page load times.
  • AMP JavaScript is probably the most restrictive part of Google AMP as you can only use JavaScript that is in the AMP library, i.e. some third-party scripts that don’t comply won’t work. It is important, however, to remember the objective of AMP JavaScript. That purpose is to ensure pages render as quickly as possible. This means ensuring everything on the page is synchronised so that nothing, particularly the text the visitor wants to read, gets blocked.
  • AMP Cache, or AMP CDN, is a content delivery network that is an optional element of Google AMP. However, it can speed up page load times as it utilises much of the functionality of other CDNs in addition to Google then optimising the cached content.

What’s the Impact on Google Search?

Google AMP impacts Google search in a number of different ways. It is important to point out, however, that this impact only applies to mobile searches.

The first and most visible impact is that Google puts a lightning bolt icon next to any pages on a search results page that use Google AMP. This indicates to the user that these pages load fast.

The other main impact Google AMP has on search comes from improved user experience. Users like fast loading websites and will engage with pages that load quickly more than they will engage with slower loading pages.

For news publishers, this means they will stay on the page to read the content and may then take another action – sharing the content, clicking to another page, linking back to the content.

What Are the Other Benefits of Google AMP

Another main benefit of Google AMP is it can reduce load times on your server as pages load from AMP Cache.

What About Your Ads?

Google AMP supports ads, but there are two important points to remember:

  1. Ads render on the page after the main text
  2. The ads you can display on the page are more limited

As a result of the above, some news publishers have reported reduced revenues from Google AMP pages and vice-versa based on the main source of ads (programmatic vs. premium) they depend on.

Check out how Magnet for Publishers can be integrated on AMP pages.

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