• Emily Malone

What is Google AMP and how do I get it?

What is AMP?

AMP (Accelerated mobile pages) is a google-backed project with the aim of speeding up pages using stripped back code known as AMP HTML. It’s pretty much a way to build web pages for static content that allows the pages to load and pre-render in Google search much faster than regular HTML. This is especially needed at a time where 55% of visitors spend fewer than 15 seconds on your website before giving up.

It’s also a response to projects like Facebook Instant Articles, where Facebook can host and render content directly within our news feeds. This makes it much quicker to view a piece of content, rather than opening the equivalent web page in a mobile browser.

How does AMP work?

AMP content is published in the carousel that appears at the top of Google search results, and the little lightning bolt symbol tells us which results are AMP-formatted. This helps the page stand out in the sea of results for loading fastest on our smart phones.

Here’s an example of that:


But to get their seemingly instant loading times, AMP pages are entirely stripped-back internally using ingredients like asynchronous JavaScript, AMP HTML, web font optimisation, and resource sizing. Even certain elements like pictures will only appear when you scroll to them, so it’s just the parts you’re looking at which load first. Essentially, these pages are fast because the HTML is significantly cut down.

But hey, suavely-dressed AMP Engineering Lead, Malte Ubl, explains it so much better than me:

The rules of AMP:

  1. Only asynchronous JavaScript can be used, so it doesn’t delay page rendering.

  2. Images will only load when you scroll down to them.

  3. A streamlined (inline and size-bound) version of your CSS will be required.

How does AMP affect SEO?

The first position in Google search results achieved an average clickthrough rate of 31% internationally (according to Advanced Web Ranking data), but the second position only gets a 19.5% clickthrough rate. So ranking first really does have its benefits, and AMP can help with that.

In fact, Google’s senior director of news and social products, Richard Gingras, said that AMP is one of the many features and signals that Google looks at when determining rankings. He told AdAge:

“Yes, we will give emphasis on the one [result] with speed because that’s what users find compelling.”

So that’s why the lightning-fast links in the carousels appear at the very top of your search results.

But even though it’s clear speed is a signal which impacts search rankings, that doesn’t mean AMP formatting alone will get you on the first page of Google. However, it could still help towards higher rankings in combination with other strong SEO elements. For example, if an article loads quickly and is relevant to a search query, Google will increase the ranking in search because users will find it most helpful.

How do you get AMP-formatted pages?

To use AMP on your own web pages, you need to implement AMP HTML. But don’t fret, the AMP project has loaaads of helpful tutorials and guides to get you started, including specific bits of code to use and some AMP design inspiration.

Don’t forget, it’s designed to improve user experience for mobile pages; you can’t simply build one web page with AMP for desktop and mobile search. This is because it gets rid of third-party Javascript to speed up the page’s load time for mobile users. So, that means if you used this strippeId-back coding for both desktop and mobile pages, the desktop page would look pretty dull.  In this case, however, it’s recommended that you use rel= “canonical” tags so Google doesn’t penalise your content for duplication.

But with HubSpot, it’s a bit simpler…

During HubSpSot’s product launch at Inbound 16, they introduced lightning bolt links as a standard HubSpot feature. And the best thing about that is, in HubSpot, Google AMP just works. With this setting, you won’t have to hire a developer or learn to code. Instead, to create AMP-formatted posts and get discovered in mobile search, all you’ll have to do is check a box.

Easy peasy.