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What is Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)?
Written: 2019-09-24 00:08:15 Last update: 2019-09-25 14:08:59

What is Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP)? it is a Google initiative to create faster web browsing experience for internet users, it is a web component framework which trying to simplify web technology by reducing the complexity of a web page design and features so the resulted file size is smaller, safer and helps Google to store it as an AMP cached copy in cdn.ampproject.org.

Even though the name use 'mobile page' but I can see AMP content in my Ubuntu desktop browsers (Firefox and Chrome), when I do a search in Google then SERP (Search Engine Results Page) will show AMP cached URL links and others non AMP list as well, Google promised to put AMP cached links on top which has 2 benefits to help increase SEO for the content and help serving the content faster to users (comparing when loading the webpage in each private owned or shared hosting server).

As a web developer, I am one of those people who also concern about the content deliverance issue, most of the webs that I’ve created are hosted in a cheap shared hosting, the first issue is always with the loading speed, I always try to optimize everything step by step such as database architecture, data query, API parameter, image file sizes, etc.

For web loading performance test, other than Chrome’s developer console, personally I use Google PageSpeed to test a web server speed and optimize the static resources files (css, js, jpg, etc.), PageSpeed provides invaluable insight for all web developers, many kinds of suggestions from tag issues, total network requests, image size problems, etc. one of the first things I check when I am developing a website is to check for web loading issue, this should be one of the first things all web developers need to check as well, at least once after the web is finished.

Assuming web loading issue is solved and already as fast as it can get then there are 2 major issues web developers need to solve, these are the availability (100% always viewable) and SEO (or page rank) issues, these 2 matters are always being monitored by webmaster (administrator) to make sure webserver is running without problem and SEO is always high.

There are many shared hosting companies nowadays promising 99% availability (up-time), but sometimes I found the server is under maintenance which can be very irritating at times, using Cloud storage is good but depends on the content and computing, it may not free and the cost could be a deal-breaker.

Google does not promote AMP to increase web content availability, but because of Google stores a separate AMP content cache in another server (cdn.ampproject.org) so then even if our server is down then the AMP content is still available for people to read, so in a way, AMP indirectly increases web content availability. Also creating AMP content as static html can reduce our web server load which is very important in my case because using a shared hosting provider.

Google always promote AMP to increase SEO and page rank, Google put AMP content as a priority and showing AMP content on top in Google SERP, increasing SEO and page rank in Google search is the one most important value for all web owners, at the end of the day no matter how beautiful the web page or how good is the web content but if visitors can not find it then it is just useless, last week I have finished the development of AMP content for my Bible website which has several languages, so I still have to confirm about this Google promise to increase SEO, at this moment I can see Google already put my AMP content as cache in ampproject.org but currently, I can find my AMP content only if I use very specific keywords and I have used a common meta description and keywords to hope users can find the content easily with common keywords that I want it, so I still have to wait and see the SEO status maybe in a couple of weeks more or a month, I will update this article again later.

Developing a solution using PHP to automatically generate AMP content into many html files is not an easy task, especially for multiple Bible translations (English, Indonesian and Korean), 2 main reasons I did it is to learn about AMP components (side menu, accordion, events and actions, etc.), and finding out how AMP can help me to reach more visitors, I must say it is very interesting to learn some of the AMP components and also very challenging because there is no JavaScript is supported. For anyone who is curious about my auto-generated Bible AMP content looks-and-feels then please see these sample links below which include the Google cached AMP links, please compare the URLs by clicking both canonical URL links and AMP cached URL links.

I can elaborate and write many good things about using AMP for my use case, Bible content is mainly text without images and the text is fixed, not changeable, so instead of hosting it in my website, it is better cached in Google, there is no disadvantage or negative impact that I can think of.

Advantages of AMP.

  1. AMP content is rendered fast because it is simpler and no heavy computing caused by third party JavaScript.
  2. Fast delivery by using Google own’s CDN server.
  3. Increase SEO (if users search content using Google search engine).
  4. Increase content availability.

Is AMP good for all website? unfortunately, the answer is no, the main issue with AMP is the limitation that AMP does not support third-party JavaScript, this limitation make my web https://quick.work is not okay for AMP because quick.work use heavy JavaScript, but AMP is a community collaboration and there are already many components created to fulfill many use-cases such as Facebook component and some simple UI components.

Disadvantages of AMP (and specific web content which can not use AMP and not appropriate for AMP).

  • Very important and frequent content update, AMP cached as a separate copy by Google may have different content, so some visitors may see different content then the real updated current content, Google will update its AMP cache every other service (load) from the cache, after Google serve the AMP cached content to a visitor then Google will fetch new content from the real link and save it for the next visitor.
  • Web content which must be retrieved from the server in real-time, such as eCommerce's payment, but eCommerce product detail may use AMP if product description (including price info) is not frequently updated or may not have big update.
  • Depend on third party JavaScript library to handle client-side rendering such as JQuery, React, Angular, Vue, etc.
  • Web pages which need JavaScript logic for computing task such as looping and parsing data, etc. these types of web pages are normally online JavaScript game or online tool (image manipulation or converting data).
  • Websites which need click (visitor) count should not use AMP because visitors may not be able to visit it directly.
  • Websites which promote their own brand and content, AMP content stored as cached in Google server may seem like Google owned it.

If the above disadvantages are not applicable for your web page then I recommend to create a separate AMP content link, another good example is a personal blog to write articles for travel journey or product review, these kind of sites are mostly only used text and images which is the major candidate/target for AMP.

2 things need to be reminded after creating new AMP content or after updating it, first must check AMP tags validation with AMP Test then check with Structured Data to make sure our AMP content has high discoverability (increase SEO) .. happy AMP-ing .. ^.^

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