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All You Need to Know about AMP: What, How, and, Why?

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In case you’re wondering about what’s been up with Google lately as it has started showing some quick links, branded as AMP, with the sign that our dear flash uses?

Hate to break it to you this way, but Google tricked us into believing that it’s the work of some mythological Gods being in play to make our mobile web browsing experience faster and better. Why else would it have copied the ‘divine symbol of flash’ mixed with some nine year old’s painting skills and presented it as a new beginning in the world of mobile?

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Well, Google, others might not have noticed it, but I’ve got my superhero game right, and I hate it when even you have started playing cons with the people’s emotions. But, since your logo uses two twined rays whereas, mine uses 3 ‘heavenly embodiment of lightning rays’,

(I think Google needs to read the guidelines to design a great logo)

So ha! You need to step up your game Google if you want to match my standards, and also, yours doesn’t even look like real lightning, some might confuse it with the one that marks its presence while Mickey mouse drives a sea vessel in the Walt Disney logo (Don’t remember, why not Google it bro?).

Ugh, see Google you’re bae, and I can’t keep myself mad over you even for mere 15 minutes!

So, these days Google search results (or SERPs, as we don’t talk about any other search engines anymore) have got slightly changed i.e. Instead of a bunch of blue links crowded hand in hand with ads in its search related queries, Google has also worked on something called Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) to make browsing easier for mobile users.

This feature is rolled out by Google while working in collaboration with the likes of Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress, etc. It is termed as the Google’s official response to the monopoly of Apple news and Facebook articles over the world of fast browsing on mobile.

These accelerated media pages use a diet Html code(stripped html code, as you might call it, but I like the former one and will use it according to my liking in the remaining part of the article, coz hey, at least someone is dieting, and we should support it, right?)

A diet html code is nothing but a restricted form of the original where you are barred from using certain tags to keep the web page simple, neat and optimized.

In this quick guide, you’ll get to learn all about what is AMP and why does it appear in your search related queries and, also about why is it so fast?

So, hold my crown while I take you through the times that has turned out to be too good to be true for a person who likes to cut his budget on such stupid things, often called as high-speed internet!

So, why waste time? Let’s get on with it already!

What is AMP and what makes it so, Um Fast?

Being not too technical, it’s an open source project by the likes of Google, Twitter, etc. who were wise enough to know that these days users have superficially transformed themselves into spiders, a spider who keeps on looking for something interesting to cling on to, all the while making its net wider and wider.

In layman terms, they are always hungry for quality content, but they do not like to wait for it as there is always another link available with probably some more images and gifs because hey gifs look cool, don’t they? Some might call it a failure of good quality content, but that’s not always the case!

(Also read website speed and its impact on SEO)

So, to fetch for the need of its users, Google has introduced something called lazy loading with its AMP feature. It forces the images and other graphical files to be loaded only when they have been scrolled through, whereas, initially the web pages used to load all the images at once, thus making it a whole lot of faster than the original.

According to an article on MOZ, AMP is basically of two types, one what Google does to you and the other what you do to yourself!

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Don’t worry; I’ll give you an example! The people of news agency named The Telegraph were planning to make their website content faster than the usual, so, what did they do?

They made an AMP version of their content and designated it with the rel AMP html link! With this done, now you can look for any of their news stories by pasting (/amp) at the end of the link. It is known as hosted AMP page, and this one is categorized under what you do to yourself!

(According to Google’s official blog, it has made a special plugin available in its developer tools that can tell you about which site is following the tags and guidelines provided by AMP and which one is not! Also many CMSs such as WordPress, Joomla, etc. have also provided their separate plugins to validate your AMP pages!)

(Also read 8 ways to improve your content marketing strategies for CMS)

Now, let’s talk about what Google does for you? It has provided a free hosting cached platform known as Gstatic; this is the version of AMP that you’ll see on the internet most of these days.

There are two reasons to that! First one says that as it is provided by Google so why to bother making your own and the next one forces you to believe that this is the version that gets cached around by most of the people on the internet! (Can you remember yourself using an amp at the end of an URL, you simply don’t!)

Both of these versions of AMP use rel=canonical back to the not-dieting html i.e. the original one.

These AMP versions can be cached by anyone as it only is a matter of bits (not a matter of time, this time!), and also, you wouldn’t have to worry about the original pointing its nose back towards you!

A blog on SearchEngineLand says that along with limited tags and lazy loading, AMP also uses streamlined CSS and standardized JS components (simply put, no JS at all!)

Now, what are these? These are basically the synonyms for diet code with fancy names. Honestly, Google has cut down on some parts of CSS and added a cool name to it, streamlined and that’s not even half as bad as to what happened with JS!

What happened with the poor little thing (i.e. JS) is that they have practically taken it off the hooks, and now, only some small stupid off-the-shelf library of it is available to show your creativity! (All the graphical geeks (GGs, sounds like geez really!) who have devoted their entire lifetime towards learning JavaScript and its awesomeness, sorry, but you guys got no business down here!)

With the heaviness that JS imparts to a page being gone extinct or wiped out clearly, the pages finally have found some time to breathe and chill out!

AMP’s impact on SERPs

Well, as we are talking about mobile browsing only, and that too in the content oriented fields only such as online news related agencies! AMP pages have shown some initial jump over the regular blue links!

Coming to the ads as they also have a tendency to appear in our SERPs and affect a company’s strategy of marketing, the adverts can be embedded from Google AdSense, and it might be possible that Google develops a standalone platform for them as well.

Also, you can use Google Analytics to track the page traffic as well, which is pretty brilliant if you ask me since you are using both AdSense and everything even while being served a cached version of the page!

A leading content oriented site such as WSJ couldn’t have explained the need of AMP in a better way when they said, “if our site takes a long time to load, our journalism would just be the second thing we need to worry about, as of now”! (And, you thought I would just tell you what they said, wouldn’t that be a plagiarised content, and as I have already told you, I’m not a news agency!)

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Google is also planning to employ free cache servers across the globe. So that the publishers of a certain country can make their content or stories available to the whole world! How cool is that? (Ok Google, I love you again!)

So, let’s move on to know about how to exploit this feature of Google in the best possible way, i.e. the guidelines.

The Guidelines
  1. Design your webpage according to Google’s AMP specification. You can look for the same in the Chrome’s or any other CMS software’s developer tools.
  2. Host your AMP page at a URL which is related to your main site e.g. If your original URL is artattackk.com/awesomeness, then I suggest you should choose artattackk.com/amp/awesomeness.
  3. Make your AMP page discoverable by using rel=amphtml on the non-AMP pages and rel= canonical on the other ones.
  4. Get the AMP page validation done by Google’s AMP tester, where you can paste a link to a website and check if it fits in the criteria of AMP or not.
  5. Lastly, keep your data structured and updated according to the ever changing guidelines of AMP.
    1. The Conclusion

      With the idea of revolutionizing and keeping it light and simple for its users, Google or at least Chrome has come a long way from being easily replaced by UC and Opera mini to becoming the favorite mobile internet browser as it is today. (Although opera has started supporting AMP codes, and as we are talking, more and more browsers are following the same trend including the likes of Firefox, Dolphin, etc. (for mobiles only))

      But as soon as the AMP gains some popularity in the mobile world, the chances are that its desktop version can also visit us soon, who knows anyway since anyone hasn’t been much successful lately, in predicting the exact methodologies that Google works upon!

      But for now, AMP is a gift from the search engine giant that has changed the way people used to read stories or content on the internet, and you might as well accept it if you want to survive in this brutal speed loving world. (Where do you suppose that need for speed or fast and furious franchise get their money from, their stories, hell no! their speedometer and a little bit of actionometer maybe, if that’s a term!)

      Also, there is GitHub with its repository of codes which can help you with all the kinds of validators and guidelines to craft a faster AMP page.

      More of it is available on the official website of this project i.e. AMP project

      Meanwhile, make sure to check out Art Attackk Blog to know more about such talks of the town.

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