AMP Conference 2017 Take-Aways
This is the second of two AMP blog entries. The first, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) 101", went over the basics of what AMP is. This current entry, will go over the main take-aways from the conference.
Just moments after the conference began, I sensed an overall feeling of apprehension; and no, my feeling wasn't a result of airline food. As skilled stakeholders, many attendees brought these concerns up throughout the conference, concerns such as:
- potentially privileged rankings in search results for AMP pages,
- perceived, centralized ownership by Google (e.g. AMP Cache, AMP Viewer),
- lack of democratized governance for AMP
Fortunately, these worries were indeed addressed. Nevertheless, the doubting atmosphere maintained a presence in the room. I would, however, venture to say that this is expected due to the newness of AMP and its elusive definition and usefulness in the grand scheme of mobile web.
In spite of the uncertainty in the air during the conference, I made sure to focus on the high energy of the yea-sayers and most important, those that had data-backed, fully implemented, production AMP pages out there already. Bottom line, it seems that AMP is full of life right now. Its longevity remains to be seen, but it is wise of us, at HomeAway.com, to go beyond just delving into AMP.
AMP != Search Ranking
One of the foremost concerns at the conference was the fear that AMP pages would automatically get higher search rankings just for being AMP pages. Google denied this accusation, reiterating the genesis of the AMP Project. There is, however, the argument of how current (as of Spring 2017) AMP pages are positioned above the fold, in the AMP carousel, listed with their AMP Badges. My guess is that this above-the-fold, AMP carousel won't always be the case, but the fact is, there is an obvious SEO effect. Want proof? Grab your mobile device, launch a browser, go to google.com, search for "Fox News". You should get something similar to my snapshot below.
Incidentally, tap on one of the carousel cards and first-hand experience the blazing speed of AMP pages!
AMP != Google
Luckily, one of the presenters at the conference was Cloudflare, who alleviated some of the above by spreading the word about their non-Google, AMP cache. This was a huge step forward for the AMP community, especially in terms of the democratization of AMP. Even more, one of the cool things that Cloudflare presented was their AMP validator that you can cURL, lending itself to build pipelines. Again, this is a huge step toward democratizing AMP and making it != Google.
Following are some other take-aways from the conference. These, in and of themselves, warrant a separate blog entry for each. In here, however, I will only mention them in brief and leave the door open for external discussion.
- Dynamic AMP
There was a general concern about AMP pages only being static content. This was addressed during presentation that used amp-bind to create a mobile chat app–albeit impractical–used to illustrate that AMP pages can, within reason, host dynamic content with forms, fields, etc.
- Ads in AMP
The overarching misgiving about using advertising in AMP pages was the fact that prior to the (then) new amp-ad tag. Before then, AMP developers had to use i-frames to embed non-AMP ads in their pages. This, of course, defeated much of the purpose of AMP. But, again, the relatively new, amp-ad tag rectified this problem–albeit, still a work in progress. Suggest viewing the "Better Advertising on a Faster Web" presentation at the conference.
AMP used in conjunction with PWA is a powerful combination. This was a recurring side note throughout the conference; and the "Progressive Web AMPs..." presentation was a good primer on the concept.
- AMP as W3C Standard
There was a strong desire for having the AMP philosophy and specifications become W3C standards.
- AMP Governance
Basically, attendees brought up the point that we, the community, might seriously consider having some governance around AMP.
AMP 101 Blog Post
Hero Image photo (at top) credit goes to Ksenia Coulter, which she posted in her Medium blog post, Takeaways from the First Google AMP Conference.
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