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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs): Should Pharma Companies Take Advantage?

Jess Carson Headshot (2)Late 2015, Google announced the Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) project within search to encourage improving website user experience on mobile. AMP is a Google-backed, open source project designed for publishers to take advantage of accelerated page loading speed (pages are meant to load instantly) on mobile devices.  40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Google created the AMP project to combat this statistic. According to Adam Greenberg of Google, the ultimate goals of AMP are as follows:

  • Make pages load faster
  • Be easy to implement
  • Enable monetization
  • Embrace the open web

AMP listings were officially integrated into Google’s mobile search on February 24, 2016.

What is AMP and How Does it Work?

The AMP HTML framework allows for faster delivery by “piggybacking” off existing technologies, and relying heavily on “caching” temporary files. Rudy Galfi, Google’s lead project manager for AMP, explained that the AMP cache functions similarly to a content delivery network (CDN). This service free for anyone to use and workable on a “stale-while-revalidate” mode, making sure the content is always up-to-date in the cache. When a request is made, the cached version is delivered to the client. Simultaneously, the document is requested again from the original server to be updated in the cache.

AMPs are different from a mobile site. They are annotated separate from the mobile site as an alternative to the preferred (desktop) site and are the listings featured in the “carousel” results in the Google example below:

Google example below:

AMP results in carousel – positioned above search listingsgraphic-jess

 

What Does This Mean for Pharma?

As of now, pharmaceutical sites will typically not employ AMPs due to a general lack of article-type content (such as news articles or blog posts) or product listings (with price points, etc.). The time and resources necessary to implement AMP on the backend are not worth the site load time savings.  Sites heavy with the below content are more suitable for AMP:

  • News Articles
  • Blog Posts
  • Recipes
  • Product Listing
  • Travel Guide

 

Additional considerations for AMP:

  • High degree of difficulty in implementing and ensuring legally approved content does not change in appearance
  • Custom site styles do not carry over; it’s a default format from Google
  • Widgets/sidebar items do not carry over
  • Not all content works with AMP (Ex.: If there is video content, there will be no load time savings)
  • Possibility of a Google penalty if not canonicalized correctly
  • Inability to use third party JavaScript
  • No external CSS
  • Domain authority could suffer

 

When Should a Pharma Company Consider AMPs?

The risks related to AMP greatly outweigh the possible website load-time improvements However, depending on the type of site your company maintains, or the plans for the expansion and development of it, AMPs may be something to work in to potential financial investments in the future. Consider AMPs when some (or all) of the following happen:

  • You ensure your site is mobile-optimized according to best practices
  • You decide to incorporate more “news-type” articles such as regular blog postings, company announcements, etc. schedule to your site
  • You have the resources to properly code and canonicalize your AMP content in order to avoid a counterproductive Google penalty

 

To learn more, visit the AMP project’s official site.

 

 

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