According to some experts, if you’re not using accelerated mobile pages (AMP) on your website, you definitely need to implement them right away. And yet, according to other experts, if you are using them, then you need to stop immediately!
Confusing, huh? We think so, too.
There are so many strong opinions out there about whether or not you should implement AMP, but the real answer is a familiar refrain: It depends. We’re sharing the pros and cons of AMP from an unbiased viewpoint, and letting you decide whether it’s right for you.
History of AMP
Google introduced AMP in 2015 with the goal of improving load times and speed on the mobile web, which creates a better experience for users and enhances opportunities for sites to earn revenue through advertising and subscriptions.
Reactions to the announcement were varied. Some applauded a standard for improving performance by creating efficiencies and removing unnecessary code and functionality, while others derided the unintended consequences of losing control over your mobile website by abiding by AMP rules.
Exact AMP adoption rates are unavailable, but some estimates suggest 20% of all Google search results are AMP pages. So is it time for your website to join the crowd?
Pros of AMP
Simply put, AMP is fast. Unless your mobile site is already blazingly fast, the chances are good that AMP will improve your page speed. Aside from being important to the user experience, page speed is also an acknowledged ranking factor for Google.
In other words, the promise of AMP is that you’ll generate more traffic through improved search engine results page (SERP) rankings, and you’ll convert more users due to the faster page load.
If your site relies on AdSense for revenue, not only is AMP compatible, but it may generate a larger payday for you. Faster page speeds should lead to an increase in the number of ads a website visitor will see and engage with.
For those concerned about server resources, you can expect relief from AMP. Mobile content from AMP loads via Google’s servers through their Content Delivery Network (CDN) instead of your servers, meaning your resources can be reduced or reallocated to desktop traffic.
Because AMP is a free, open source technology that can lead to an increase in traffic, conversions, and ad revenue, many people consider it a no brainer to implement. However, AMP technology is far from widespread across the web, so what is holding people back?
Cons of AMP
Two big arguments against implementing AMP are a lack of available resources and a loss of control over your mobile web pages.
It’s not too often that we meet with a company that says its website is fully up-to-date and its web developers have nothing to do. Many companies struggle to keep up with ever-changing content updates, and AMP implementation is an added task that might end up prioritized below the addition of new products, services, features, promotions, and more. AMP is also separate from your responsive mobile pages, meaning there’s more to maintain as your content needs updating.
In addition to design resources, you’ll need extra resources for analytics. Your cached AMP content is not technically part of your website, therefore you’ll need to spend additional time configuring Google Analytics to track your AMP content.
When using a platform like WordPress for your site, there are plugins available that can simplify this process, however it still requires plenty of effort afterward to make the pages look similar to the established aesthetics of your website. Some may argue that the effort spent tweaking your AMP pages is better spent up-front developing highly optimized mobile pages that are fast without AMP. To review some of AMP’s requirements and development restrictions, AMP’s official website explains how AMP works.
If you do have the available resources to implement AMP, you have to decide whether giving up control of your mobile pages is worth it. Google’s search rankings algorithm looks favorably upon AMP due to their speed, but because the page is cached on Google’s servers instead of your server, the visitor reaches Google when clicking on your site instead of your original page. This creates challenges with user experience and SEO.
Website visitors use your URL and SSL certificates to verify the authenticity of your content. When a customer notices Google’s domain in the URL bar instead of your website’s URL, this may erode trust and make them less likely to complete a purchase or submit contact information. It’s possible to have AMP display your page’s real URL, however it currently takes additional time and resources, which is why many companies are stuck with google.com in the URL bar.
Furthermore, if you haven’t invested time into ensuring your URL is correctly displayed in AMP, people that share your content may end up sharing a google.com address rather than your URL, meaning lost opportunities for branding and building backlinks for SEO.
Whether or not AMP is right for your website depends on a variety of factors, including the goals and priorities of your website, the needs of your users, and your available resources. The benefits and drawbacks are not universal to every website, so blanket categorizations of AMP as good or bad should be taken with a grain of salt. Be sure to openly discuss the pros and cons with your web developers or agency before making a decision, and if a decision can’t be reached or there’s not enough expertise on your team to make a strong decision, don’t be afraid to seek a consultant to help you decide. One way or another, your future growth depends on it.