Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) have been around since Google launched them in 2016, but many marketers are still unsure about using them. In this article, we address some of the benefits of AMP, as well as the drawbacks, and provide some guidance on how to assess if implementing AMP is the right choice for your business.
The History that Led to AMP
Google’s goal is to focus more on mobile search results than desktop. This was made very apparent when they announced in 2016 that they would be implementing mobile-first indexing, with the goal of indexing pages as mobile users would experience them. For more information on mobile-first indexing, and other tips for optimizing for mobile devices check out this article by MoreVisibility’s own Matt Crowley. In addition to mobile-first indexing, Google also released the AMP project, which has received a wide range of responses from positive to negative.
A simple way to think about AMP is that it is an open-source set of standards for creating web pages that load quickly on mobile devices. By standardizing certain aspects of code and eliminating others, it helps pages to render lightning fast.
So, the question becomes, should you implement AMP on your organization’s website? To help guide you on making this decision, we have outlined a few key benefits and drawbacks below.
Key AMP Benefits
- Faster page load times: Although there are many ways to improve your page load time, and we always recommend focusing on improving your existing web pages first, AMP may be a solution to help by creating new versions of certain page types that load very quickly.
- May result in your content being featured in Google’s search carousels: Certain content types, like news, must be in AMP format to be shown to mobile users in a carousel. Some other page types are more likely to be shown in a carousel if they are in AMP format. In any of these cases, having your pages returned in one of Google’s carousels can result in increased clicks (and traffic) due to how prominent carousels are when users search for content on their mobile devices (the carousels often appear at the top of all search results).
- Potential Secondary Benefits: The proper implementation of AMP, in the right case, can have great results impacting both user acquisition and user engagement, such as:
- Growth in traffic and organic visibility: As discussed earlier, AMP can (for certain content types) allow you to be featured prominently in a carousel in Google search. If this occurs, it is more likely that you’ll see increased traffic and visibility when compared to your content that is not accessible in an AMP format.
- Lower bounce rate and more time on-site: When pages are slow to load, it can be frustrating for users and cause them to leave your site. According to a past Google Study, 53 percent of website visits are abandoned if the mobile site takes longer than 3 seconds to load. With the speed benefits that AMP provides, faster loading pages will help increase the likelihood that visitors will stay on your pages longer.
Key AMP Drawbacks
Despite these benefits, many decision makers are still skeptical to adopt AMP on their site, and rightly so. Although improvements are constantly being made to the AMP project, there are still limitations:
- Analytics, measurement, and tracking can be challenging: There are unique changes that have to be made to your tracking strategy and code implementation (distinct from your regular implementation for web analytics) in order to measure the performance of your AMP pages.
- Integration and compatibility may also come with challenges: Many content management systems, such as WordPress, offer AMP-integration tools, but AMP could possibly conflict with some technologies.
- Most importantly, AMP is handing over a lot of control to Google: Although AMP is an open-source project contributed to by many organizations, Google is the largest single contributor. Moving more fully to AMP will play to Google’s strengths, and may remove some ability for you to differentiate from your competition. Therefore, it bears a strategic consideration if this is the right long term direction for your organization.
To summarize, benefits of using AMP for certain content types on your site are clear, and in some cases it can certainly have a positive impact on your SEO efforts. They have an increasingly larger role in mobile search and likely will into the future. However, at this point, we only recommend AMP for certain content types and organizations AFTER you have first focused on improving your core website. So, if you have room in your development pipeline and are open to testing new avenues to improve your SEO, AMP is something to consider.
If you have any questions, please reach out to the experts at MoreVisibility.