Some See AMP as a Revolution in Mobile Technology. But is It Too Late?
Today, smartphones are smarter and internet speeds are faster than ever before. Many websites are already optimised for “mobile first.” So has AMP come too late?
Google’s much heralded “mobile first” strategy has been one of the hottest topics in web design and SEO over the past 12 months, and the Google-backed Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project lies right at the heart of it. AMP uses simplified HTML code that is designed to deliver content much faster to mobile devices.
Google has already indicated that searches from mobile devices will show results from AMP-websites in a separate listing above non-AMP results. This was followed up with the recent announcement of a separate mobile search index that will be the “primary” index. The implications are clear for webmasters and providers of SEO marketing services – get on board with AMP or get left behind.
However, if we take a step back and look at the reasons behind AMP and the realities of mobile internet technology in 2016, the rationale behind it becomes less clear.
We have all been there – using our smartphone to look something up on the internet, and finding that the website either takes ages to load or fails to render properly on a mobile device. It is frustrating, and we usually end up looking for an alternative website or leaving the task till later when we have access to a desktop.
AMP is designed to consign this problem to history by creating fast-loading pages that are specifically designed for mobiles.
The logic behind the need for AMP appears sound at first glance. 50% of searches are now performed on mobile devices with a screen size of six inches or less, and this number will rise over the coming months and years.
So surely AMP is a natural step in the evolution of the internet?
Solving a problem that no longer exists
The scenario above sounds familiar because it is something we have all experienced over the years. But think again – browsing the web via a smartphone is actually a much easier experience than it used to be.
Compare the situation today with that five years ago, and you might well conclude that the problem has already been solved, all without the use of AMP.
Today’s smartphones use better and faster technology, which is still developing at a much faster rate than that of desktops – it is, after all, a newer technology and is evolving with a similar rapidity to that seen in desktop computers in the late 90s.
Web designers also latched on to this problem long before AMP was thought of and took their own steps to design pages that are either “mobile first” in their inherent design, such as health and fitness website Motley Health, or that already have simplified mobile versions in place, such as internet auction site ebay.
Stopping the steamroller
When Google decides that something is going to happen in the online world, then it usually happens, so it might be the case that the steamroller is already in motion.
However, one has to wonder whether AMP actually brings more complications than it solves, by putting the onus on web designers to create yet another version of their site and SEO Managers to rethink entire strategies.
All to solve a problem that has largely gone away.