Does AMP Help Website Pagespeed And How Does It Apply In Singapore

Does AMP Help Website Pagespeed in Singapore

Let’s begin by observing the key trends of internet usage in Singapore:

First and foremost, well over three-quarter of the population in Singapore is now online. That’s a whopping 84% of the total population – 4.83 million of the total 5.7 million. As per the latest Hootsuite report, that’s a 2% increase from the previous year count, with the number expected to go even higher come next year.

From this, about 3.68 million people (64% of the total population) access the internet using their mobile devices, with the figure projected to shoot to 4.21 million come 2022. Goes on to show that the bulk of internet users in Singapore browse with their mobile devices.

Perhaps more interesting is the fact that Singapore has the highest penetration of smartphones globally, with 9 out of the 10 people you meet owning one.

On user patterns, a great majority of smartphone owners use their mobile phones for surfing the internet and checking their emails – as opposed to using it for surfing social networks, as with the people in Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia.

For a Singapore marketer making calculated moves, this sets the not-so-surprising premise – smartphones are the most dominant mean of internet access in Singapore.

So, as a web owner in Singapore, if you haven’t optimised your site for mobile view, then there’s a whole lot you’re missing in terms of traffic.

Granted, smartphones have changed the way Singapore people receive information. A great amount of information is consumed every single day via a handheld device, and this could just be the beginning of a trend that’s about to take over.

Confirming this account is Google’s recent report which went on to show that mobile searches have already overtaken desktop searches, by far.

That puts more weight on the need to have a responsive website. If your site doesn’t adjust to different screen sizes, then you’re losing too much of your traffic juice.

Google has advanced to a point that it now ranks sites differently on mobile devices. A high ranking site on a desktop search will drop further down on a mobile search for the same keyword if the level of user experience fails to match up.

Unresponsive websites are straining at best and too-jumbled to read and navigate through at worst. They, therefore, tend to register a higher bounce rate. Users visit your site, but since they can’t read or navigate the site to get to what they want, they immediately hit the back button to move to something else (read: one of your competitors, and whose site is more responsive or Accelerated Mobile Pages-enabled).

In response to this, Google launched Accelerated Mobile Pages.early this year. Essentially, this new release is all about making web pages less bulky and more stripped-down so they can instantaneously load from mobile devices.

So what exactly is Accelerated Mobile Pages?

AMP is a new initiative launched by Google and backed up with more than 30 other web publishers including Twitter, and which essentially focuses on ensuring web content is delivered on mobile devices as quickly as it’s electronically possible.

What happens is that Accelerated Mobile Pages takes your bulky but pretty site and strips down all that bulkiness for a bare bone structure that’s both easier and faster to load on mobile devices. That way, the impatient lot of your online visitors don’t have to wait for stretched out periods of time for your web content to finish loading.

Accelerated Mobile Pages is only focused on content and speed – nothing else. So it strips down all the unnecessary codes and elements on your site with the sole aim of ensuring your web content gets delivered on mobile devices in the fastest way possible.

What Difference Does it Have with a Responsive Website?

AMP isn’t the same as mobile responsiveness, and shouldn’t as such be used interchangeably.

For mobile responsiveness, necessary changes and tweaks are made to your website codes so that the site can adjust accordingly and accommodate all screen sizes.

AMP, on the other hand, is an actual code that will be stripping down any extraneous code that’s bulky enough to increase your site’s load time. Consequently, only the most needed code and content will load up, thus accelerating how your site loads on a mobile device.

How it’s Done

To cash in on this update, web developers are encouraged to style their websites with streamlined CSS versions, while refraining from using certain HTML tags. By doing these, web developers are left with little space to bulk up their websites, thus allowing their websites to load even faster.

The pages loaded are usually static, but come with the option to embed rich media objects such as social media posts, ads, and videos.

Google also expedites the process by caching the bulk of your web content. With the AMP format, it’s even possible for web owners to allow third-party platforms to cache their web content for speedy loading.

That way, publishers get to enjoy full control over the posts they make, while other platforms can mirror or cache their content for quick delivery to online readers. Even more important, Google made it clear that it will also be caching all AMPs gratis.

The most common usage of AMP so far has been with the publisher that want to deliver their content to their users as quickly as possible by giving them direct access that doesn’t require them to load the actual webpage. Once enabled, the content on their website will be made available on mobile results in the form of a carousel and above the rest of the content in the result snippet.

Advantages of AMP

AMP allows for speedy access of your web content, which works to ensure your site has a lower bounce rate particularly that which is attributed to slow loading of your web pages.

AMP is also better for a wider distribution of your web content. Your content becomes accessible to virtually any devise, across all platforms and web applications.

Who’s allowed to use AMP?

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Any web owner is allowed to use AMP. As long as you’re interested in increasing your site’s visibility, you can enable AMP on your site for Google and a whole lot of other platforms to cache it up for an accelerated loading.

Getting Your Content into AMP HTML

The AMP project was developed using existing technologies, which happens to be the same technology used by the majority of the websites making up the World Wide Web.

For those running their websites on WordPress, there are numerous plugins that will automatically generate AMP content for your website. A good example is the “WordPress AMP” plugin.

With this plugin, you can automatically generate AMP-compatible version of every post you publish on your site. That way, you get to enjoy all the features of AMP without shelling out your hard-earned cash to a web developer.

How Google detects AMP-HTML

Planning on creating a new website or recreating an old one, but for some reason, you’re stuck on which AMP version to use?

Well, start by first understanding how Google determines your AMP version.

Think of AMP as the framework that will essentially be helping you create mobile web pages. This framework is made up of three essential parts:  

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AMP HTML

This is basically a more restrained version of HTML, fine-tuned with custom properties and tags. Understanding AMP HTML shouldn’t be any hard if you’re already familiar with the standard HTML. With a few guidelines, you can easily get your existing webpages in sync with AMP HTML.

AMP JS

This is basically a JavaScript framework for creating a mobile-friendly web page. The framework works by managing resource handling and asynchronous loading. Keep in mind that the regular JavaScript won’t work with AMP. 

AMP CDN

This is optional. It’s essentially a Content Delivery Network that will go through your AMP-enabled web pages, caching them up and performing the required AMP optimization.

How to AMP Your Site

There have to be two versions of every web page you create – the original and the AMP version.

Keep in mind that AMP prohibits third-party JavaScript and form elements. So you won’t be able to use on-page comments, lead forms, and a whole lot of other elements used in the standard implementation.

Start by rewriting your template codes, while paying attention to the restrictions put in place. For instance, make sure all your CSS codes are in-line and that it’s way less than 50KB.

Use a special AMP-font-extension instead of a custom font to keep everything lightweight and to ensure a speedy loading.

There’s a special way of handling multi-media content. For instance, you’ll be required to use a custom AMP-IMG element on images, with which you’ll have to explicitly specify the image’s width and height.

It’s a Wrap

AMP serves to improve the speed at which webpages load on mobile devices. So for any publisher based in Singapore, you have no option but to start working on enabling AMP on your site.

For more information about this rollout and lots of other exciting news on the subject, kindly consider contacting MediaOne for a free consultation or any kind of help with regards to AMP and SEO in general.  

Author Bio

Tom Koh is widely recognised as a leading SEO consultant in Asia who has worked to transform the online visibility of the leading organisations such as SingTel, Capitaland, Maybank, P&G, WWF, etc. Recently he was instrumental in consulting for a New York-based US$30B fund in an US$4Bn acquisition. Tom is a Computational Science graduate of the National University of Singapore. In his free time he performs pro-bono community work and traveling.
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