Here at degal we are working hard to bring our new website in to full operation – it is still in an embryonic state and evolving as time allows. However, March 2016 has seen us move hosting providers and as any of our existing clients will know we have been banging on about the impact of page speed for SEO for some years now. It is only logical as the web expands, something needs to be done to deal with the increased levels of users and content to ensure a fast performing and popular, enriching experience for all. Search engines will only work all the while they save us time by delivering the relevant sites, articles and information we are searching for.

What exactly is AMP and why should a website worry about it?

The latest speed based development to catch our eye is AMP – Accelerated Mobile Pages Project. This an open source project designed to provide (mainly news articles and blogging posts) instantly and everywhere. Its development has been supported by Google (see the quote from David Besbris below) and it is easy to see why when statistics such as x4 faster load speeds and a tenth of the data normally required are mentioned as the advantages of providing an AMP version of your web page.

This makes AMP perfect for situations where you want to get information or news quickly. When travelling to work or quickly looking for info you do not need all bells and whistles, you need quick, useful information you can quickly and easily digest. This is exactly where AMP can excel, and as such it will soon be the case search engines are not only rewarding news and blogging sites that provide AMP pages for news feed searches, but possibly even penalising those who don’t…

“Speed has always been a cornerstone of Google Search and we’re thrilled to be working alongside others in the tech industry and publishers around the world to bring the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to life. An open content ecosystem will give publishers maximum reach and allow users to get the best content no matter which app they are using. AMP HTML will make it all blazing fast, so we can’t wait to use it!”

David Besbris
VP Engineering, Google Search

See this page in AMP mode and learn why accelerated mobile pages are great for page speed!

If you are on a mobile device you will only be seeing this page in its AMP version. If you are on a desktop you can add /AMP to the end of the page url to see the mobile speed optimised version of this content. As you will see the display and content has been drastically “stripped down” to the bare essentials. This is perfect for that shared wifi hotspot, or less than great 3G phone signal – even with faster 4G connection wouldn’t it be great if you could reduce your monthly bandwidth usage or to put it another way look at 4 times as much content as you do now at the same cost?

Our server configuration is still in the development stage, and we expect to see some even faster page load times for our base site once NGINX for Varnish over SSL is set up, however based on Pingdom page speed tests of our existing set up you can see the considerable difference in size and speed of the HTML being delivered to the end user! The AMP optimised version is cutting over 1 second off the load time, and most crucially cutting out the number of server requests being made. Once our server is tweaked still further we are hopeful of under 1 second page load times!

The AMP effect on page speed via pingdom speed tests of this page.

The AMP effect on page speed via pingdom speed tests of this page.


 

Our recommended process for installing AMP on a wordpress site to optimise for speed of page loading

After years of recommending our clients avoid CMS based websites, including the wordpress platform, it has now got to the stage with the correct caching set-up that you can deliver great database driven sites at page speed times that if not beat static HTML & CSS sites, at least matches or gets very close to them. Couple in the added benefits of the webs best blogging platform and 2015 was possibly the year WordPress became the platform of choice for all new client projects.

Our own recommendation for an AMP wordpress plug in is https://wordpress.org/plugins/amp/ – We have found this to be a lightweight and great base plug in to start with. Luckily the guys at Yoast have also recommended this route and gone one better by releasing a specific plug in called Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP . Over the next few months we will be writing more on our interpretation of how much weight you place on Yoast SEO when creating your content – but the one thing we will say now is it is a staple plug in on all our sites, even if we are less concerned with all of the recommendations…

You can read more from Yoast here on their thoughts for setting up wordpress for AMP accelerated mobile pages: https://yoast.com/setting-up-wordpress-for-amp-accelerated-mobile-pages/