Dec 21, 2023

What is AMP? Your Ultimate Guide

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
What is AMP? Your Ultimate Guide
Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Dec 21, 2023

What is AMP? Your Ultimate Guide

Get the inside scoop on what is AMP and how it can revolutionize your website's user experience. Explore more on this blog.
What is AMP? Your Ultimate Guide

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What is AMP? Your Ultimate Guide

In a world where every second counts, web page loading speed plays a crucial role in creating a positive user experience. 

As more users shift towards mobile browsing, the demand for faster, seamless online experiences continues to rise. 

To address this need, Google spearheaded an open-source project known as Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), designed primarily to enhance the mobile Google search experience and improve web performance. 

Let's dig into the details of this AMP in this article. 

What are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

AMP is an open-source HTML framework dedicated to creating fast-loading, mobile-optimized web pages. Essentially, an AMP page is a stripped-down version of a regular webpage that delivers content rapidly without compromising user engagement. Google first introduced AMP pages in 2016, which were initially restricted to a "Top Stories" section at the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Core Components of AMP

The AMP framework is built on three basic components: AMP HTML, AMP JavaScript (JS), and AMP Cache. AMP HTML is a variant of HTML designed for speed, AMP JS is an efficient JavaScript library for mobile pages, and AMP Cache, a content delivery network (CDN), enables quicker page fetch and load.

AMP HTML

A subset of HTML, AMP HTML incorporates some modifications and restrictions to standard HTML to ensure rapid page loading. Certain elements and attributes that slow down web pages are either removed or altered, thereby contributing to an improved mobile browsing experience. As such, AMP documents must adhere to specific structural guidelines to preserve their speed-oriented design.

AMP JavaScript (JS)

Contributing to the speed of AMP pages, AMP JS provides a library of efficient frameworks and components that expedite page building without requiring additional JS or third-party libraries. Where excessive JavaScript could make pages unresponsive and slow, AMP's JavaScript allows for quick construction and maintenance of page speed.

AMP Cache

In terms of page load times, AMP Cache is a game-changer. It is a proxy-based CDN that pre-fetches and pre-renders AMP pages even before users request them. There are two main providers of AMP Cache:

  • Google AMP Cache: stores your pages when using the AMP format.
  • Bing AMP Cache: similar to Google, Bing also supports AMP cache function.

How AMP Improves Web Performance?

By prioritizing asynchronous execution of JavaScript, static sizing of resources, extension mechanisms, font triggering, style recalculation, and animation triggering, AMP optimizes web performance significantly. This diligent strategy ensures a swift, seamless mobile browsing experience, encouraging users to engage more with the website and consume more content.

Asynchronous Execution of JavaScript

AMP employs asynchronous execution of JavaScript to prevent any element from obstructing page rendering. All custom JavaScript, designated as AMP components, are designed to ensure zero performance degradation. In this way, the script doesn’t block or delay page rendering, offering faster and more effective performance.

Static Resource Sizing

One of the unique features of AMP HTML is the requirement for explicit dimensions for all resources. By calculating each element's size and position before resources are loaded, AMP renders a quick page layout. 

Extension Mechanisms and Rendering

With AMP's efficient extension mechanisms, even the additional HTTP requests do not block page rendering. This feature enhances the overall rendering speed and performance of the webpage. Allowing for dynamic content, AMP implements these extensions without compromising speed by indicating a custom tag for predictable loading.

Efficient Font Triggering and Style Recalculation

One of AMP's power lies in its efficient font-triggering mechanism. By prioritizing font downloading with zero HTTP requests it speeds up the rendering process. Plus, AMP also minimizes style recalculations. It achieves this by ensuring all Document Object Model (DOM) reads are executed before DOM writes, thereby reducing time-consuming style recalculations for each frame.

Advantages of using AMP

The primary benefits of implementing AMP on your mobile webpages include:

  • Fast Loading: AMP optimizes pages to load virtually instantly, improving user engagement.
  • Simple Build Process: Building an AMP page is straightforward, making it accessible even to non-technical users.
  • Mobile User Experience: AMP was designed with a mobile-first approach, enhancing mobile user experience.
  • Support From Platforms: Major platforms, including Google and Bing, support the AMP format, increasing reach.
  • Enhanced SEO: Fast-loading AMP pages can potentially improve search engine ranking, hence driving more traffic to the site.

Limitations and Restrictions of AMP

While AMP offers numerous advantages, it's important to be aware of its limitations:

  • Design Restrictions: AMP implements certain design restrictions to maintain its speed, which may limit its visual appeal.
  • JavaScript Limitations: Custom JavaScript is not allowed on AMP pages.
  • Limited Ad Tags: AMP pages only permit one advertisement tag per page, potentially restricting advertising reach.
  • Limited Analytics Tracking: The lack of support for third-party JavaScript can impact certain analytic tracking abilities.

How to Implement AMP?

Implementing AMP involves creating and validating AMP pages and monitoring their performance. It requires adherence to specific HTML and JavaScript guidelines, as well as utilizing the AMP cache for faster loading times. 

Creating and Validating AMP Pages

Creating and validating AMP pages ensures they meet the required standards for optimal performance. AMP pages are created using HTML with specific tags for various functionalities like images, videos, and iframes. 

You must ensure that the AMP page is validated to confirm its adherence to the AMP Project guidelines. Validation is essential to identify and rectify any errors, ensuring that the page loads seamlessly on mobile devices, contributing to improved user experience. 

Implementing structured data can also enhance the appearance of AMP content in search engine results

Mobile search results favor AMP-optimized pages, boosting visibility and potentially improving search ranking. Embracing AMP for your web content can significantly impact mobile search results and user experience.

Monitoring and Improving AMP Performance

Monitoring and improving AMP performance entails leveraging advanced techniques to enhance the user experience. 

Analyzing the median load time and resource loading is crucial, as it directly impacts the mobile search results and search ranking. 

Implementing web font optimization and good CSS hygiene contributes to faster page load times, positively impacting the overall mobile experience. 

Additionally, optimizing the functionality of the AMP cache and minimizing HTTP requests are essential for improved performance. By ensuring efficient resource loading and implementing responsive design, the mobile website can achieve a high level of user experience, aligning with Google's standards for mobile search results. 

Furthermore, regular monitoring of analytics provides insights into the performance of AMP pages, facilitating continuous improvement in functionality and speed.

Conclusion

For businesses operating in the mobile-first era, AMP provides an essential tool in the arsenal for enhancing user experience and improving web performance. 

By implementing AMP on your mobile webpages, not only can you offer a faster, more seamless browser experience to your users, but also capitalize on the benefits it offers in terms of SEO and multi-platform support. However, as with any platform, it comes with its set of challenges. Despite that, with careful planning and implementation, the benefits of AMP far outweigh its drawbacks. 

Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer
ABout the AUTHOR
Vaishnavi Ramkumar
Content Marketer

Vaishnavi Ramkumar is a content marketer specializing in creating BOFU content for SaaS brands. She believes reader-centric content is the sure-shot way to generate high-quality leads through content marketing. As part of the Scalenut team, Vaishnavi curates content that drives brand awareness and boosts signups. When she's not crafting content, you can find her immersed in the pages of a good book or a course.

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