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AMP HTML vs Standard HTML

by Becky Cable ON Jul 15, 2019

Starndard HTML

We compare standard HTML pages, vs those built with AMP and will demonstrate why you should be keeping ahead of the curve with AMP HTML.

HTML is the primary language used to write web pages. Every web page you see on the Internet is written using one version/standard of HTML code or another such as AMP.

AMP - which stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages - is a powerful framework that encourages best practice HTML to improve performance with a primary focus on mobile devices.

Before we get to the benefits of AMP, let's look at standard HTML...

Whats good about HTML

  • Extremely flexible
  • Wide browser support
  • You can use JavaScript
  • Large number of tutorials, resources and help available

But with great power comes great responsibility.....

Extreme flexibility can be dangerous. Responsive design problems are common - a site that looks good in a desktop browser might provide a terrible experience on a mobile device, because the content is too small to read, or perhaps flashy animations are making the site super slow.

The Bad

  • Standard HTML is so flexible, that so many websites end up with a lot of bloated code, and therefore, a slower website. Not to mention how open it can be to security risks, a lack of browser support and poor performance.

Within Google AMP there are certain restrictions on HTML tags and code to ensure best practices. AMP has created it’s own set of HTML tags called AMP HTML that replaces some of the limitations of HTML.

Introducting AMP HTML

AMP HTML is HTML with some restrictions for reliable performance, and some extensions for building rich content beyond basic HTML.

Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP, for short) is a project from Google, designed to make really fast mobile pages. At it's essence, it's basically a stripped-down form of HTML, a diet HTML, if you will.

AMPs often load in under 800 milliseconds. Compare that to a staggering 19 seconds and 2.5MB for a typical mobile web page!

What makes AMP fast?

1. Limited tags
2. Streamlined CSS
3. Heavily cached
4. Lazy loading and rendering
5. AMP loads the layout of the page without waiting for any resources to download

6. And so much more...

Whats good about AMP HTML

  • Ensures best practice
  • Extremely ‘close to instant’ loading times
  • Mobile first
  • Responsive on all devices
  • Achieve the lightening symbol on Google Mobile results
  • Much higher chance of appearing on Google News Carousels
  • Higher conversion rates
  • Fewer resources on your server
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Promotes secure practices
  • Limits use of unnecessary JavaScript
  • Promotes accessible code
  •  Reduces bloated code

The Bad(ish) things about AMP HTML

  • Primarily it's a restriction on the slow parts of web technologies. However, these restrictions are put in place to ensure best practice
  • The implementation of AMP is quite difficult if you don't have coding knowledge
  • If your website has a large portion of video content, AMP might not deliver it as quickly as other content

The Ridiculously Fast

  • AMP pages load roughly four times faster than standard webpages, plus users engage 35% more with AMP pages than with standard mobile web pages

One of the side effects of the AMP project is that it sets a standard. "Is Company X abiding by Google guidelines"? If they serve AMP pages, they do. Guaranteed. If they don't, the AMP page wouldn't even render...

You could almost say it's a sort of quality label for speedy pages.

So the idea is that the whole platform is designed just for pure readability, pure speed. Things such as images don't load until they're scrolled into view, and the JavaScript does all that for you. And then all of this is designed to be really heavily cached so that Google can host these pages, host your actual content right there, and so they don't even need to fetch it from you anymore.

A big misconception is that AMP forces a stripped-down content experience. This simply is not true. JavaScript won’t work on AMPs, but most common display elements - such as site navigation and other header elements - can be replicated with AMP components, which are built with JavaScript efficiently. Some publishers do end up with stripped-down AMPs as a result of poor or incomplete implementation, or reliance on rudimentary converters.

Extra treats from AMP

Google has introduced special experiences, such as the “Top Stories” carousel in mobile search results, which only display AMP content. These experiences dominate the first mobile viewport, pushing down other results. In those situations, AMP content is clearly advantaged while non-AMP content is effectively demoted.

Google’s algorithm takes page speed and mobile responsiveness into account. The faster your page loads on mobile, the higher it will be ranked on search engine results pages.

You can read more about AMP guidelines here.

The future is AMP

AMP is truly powerful. As an upgrade to mobile-friendly pages, it helps you meet Google’s expectations that you optimise your site for speed.

As SEO continues to move away from computer towers and onto mobile screens and other devices, the rate of adoption for AMP and other similar technologies will greatly accelerate.

Google announced that there are now over 2 billion AMP pages covering some 900,000 domains. These pages are also loading twice as fast as before via Google Search.

If you're looking to level up your website, to gain more conversions, contact your dedicated AMP website developers that can do this for you (that's us, by the way). There's even a handy free downloadable guide down below to get you started.

Have you accelerated your mobile pages for speed and readability? If not, what’s stopping you?