Google has always prided itself on creating a great search experience for it’s users. One of the primary measurements users have for their experience with Google is site speed. Think about it, nobody wants to click on a Google link and wait a long time for the page to load. So site speed, or “Page Load” speed, has become a big factor in Google’s search algorithm.
Actually, Google has been advising Webmasters to speed up their sites since the beginning of time (well, at least the beginning of search). First, Google added “Crawl Stats” in their Webmaster Tools toolkit so that Webmasters could see how long it takes the Googlebot to download/render pages on the site. In 2010, Google included Page Load speed as a ranking factor into the search algorithm, which determines the rankings of webpages on the SERPs (search engine results pages).
Fast-forward to 2015 and we see the majority of Google search traffic now coming from mobile devices, and even more emphasis on site speed. The Page Load speed issue is really coming center stage, and is one of the most pressing issues on Google’s radar. On February 25, 2015, Google even tested a red warning symbol next to search results where Google felt the webpages rendered too slowly. Luckily for Webmasters, Google only tested this feature for a few hours, and it never fully rolled out in their SERPs.
Now comes Google’s latest crusade to provide users with faster loading content. It’s called the AMP Project (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It’s an open standard any publisher can use to build the code of their pages, and have content load at hyper-speed on mobile devices. Not only is Google onboard, but AMP also has the backing of Twitter, WordPress, Adobe Analytics and comScore, as well as over 30 publishers, including Hearst Corporation and the New York Times. They will all be adopting the new AMP standard.
What this means for you, the mobile user, is a much faster and more consistent experience when searching for and consuming content on mobile devices. AMP exclusively works on mobile pages, so don’t expect to see too much impact on your desktop computer, though.
The AMP standard will be a game-changer for websites in the ever-increasing competitive mobile space. Plus, it may even help reduce some smartphone user’s dependence on ADD drugs. Well, it’s a nice thought anyway.
What do you think? Is this a welcomed change? Do you want to see faster loading webpages on your mobile devices? Or are you a web developer dreading the work impact of having to learn a whole new way to code?