As Google prepares for the official launch of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) sometime over the next few weeks, the company has some fresh tips for content publishers on how to prep their Web pages for the new framework.
The company on Jan. 20 unveiled a preview of an error report function in the Search Console that lets publishers get a quick overview of the general preparedness of their site for AMP. The AMP error report lets content publishers find common issues and drill down to specific types of errors and the URLs that contain them.
"This process helps you quickly find the most common issues, so that you can systematically address them in your site's AMP implementation (potentially just requiring tweaks in the templates or plugin used for these pages)," John Mueller, Google's Webmaster trends analyst in Zurich, wrote in a blog post.
AMP is an open-source project that is designed to give publishers a way to speed up content delivery on mobile platforms. Accelerated Mobile Pages are designed to function just like standard HTML pages but with features that are optimized for smartphones and tablets. According to Google, AMP files leverage new technology and design approaches that prioritize speed for delivering video, photos and other multimedia-rich content on mobile devices.
The company said that AMP is not designed to homogenize the look and feel of mobile content but to provide a standard way to format content for speedier delivery on smartphones and tablets. Mobile users often tend to abandon pages that take too long to load, depriving publishers of potential readers and the opportunity to earn revenue from subscriptions and advertisements, Google has noted previously.
Google's commitment to AMP is by no means purely altruistic. As a company that derives a sizeable chunk of its revenues from advertising, Google has a lot to gain from helping optimize content delivery on mobile platforms. The more users that read content on these platforms, the greater the potential that Google has for targeted ad delivery.
Content publishers are not required to AMP-enable their content. However Google has said it will prioritize AMP-enabled Websites and Web pages in its search engine results going forward. Web pages that are validated as being AMP-enabled will be crawled, stored and served from caches at the network edge to enable fast content delivery. When a mobile user searches for content on his or her device, Google Search will first search for and direct the user to cached AMP content relevant to the search when available, the company has noted.
That means publishers will essentially need to create two versions of their Web pages—one for standard desktop delivery and one based on AMP HTML—if they want to maintain their visibility in mobile search results. Google said more than two-dozen major publishers have expressed support for AMP while Pinterest, Twitter, WordPress and LinkedIn plan to integrate the format on their Websites as well.
Hinting that the formal launch of AMP is close at hand, Google has released more information and guidelines on how publishers can integrate AMP into their sites. Google's search guidelines for AMP provide recommendations on the measures that content publishers can take to create Web pages based on the AMP specification and to make them discoverable on Google Search.
Google also has recommendations on how content providers can test and validate their pages to make sure they are written properly in AMP HTML and how to use the appropriate data markups so the content is displayed more prominently in search results. Google has provided a status report capability that organizations can use to see a list of AMP pages on their site that have been successfully indexed.