The Pros and Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)

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Pros And Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages AMPs - Eminent SEO

First announced to the public in late 2015, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project, has reshaped the way we surf the internet and consume content via our mobile devices. Because webpages running on the AMP format load directly from Google’s servers and are built with a stripped-down version of HTML, they consume up to 10 times less data than non-AMP pages. This means that AMPs load incredibly fast compared to traditional mobile pages.

In today’s tech-based culture, users value speed and efficiency above all else. Google knows this and hopes that with its open-source AMP platform, it can provide users with information at record-breaking speeds.

We’ve written on this topic before, but it’s time for an update. In recent months, Google has announced some major changes to the AMP platform – changes that have left many publishers wondering, “Is adding AMPs a smart move for my website?”

Recent Changes to the AMP Platform

AMP is an ever-evolving project that aims to reshape consumer behavior. Here are some recent changes to the platform that publishers should be aware of:

AMP Is Rolling Out More Customization Options

From day one, the AMP project has prioritized speed over style. AMPs may load with lightning speed, but the lack of design capabilities and interactive features often discourage visitors from actively engaging with the content.

Recently, however, there have been some much-needed improvements in functionality and customization options. Today, AMP pages are beginning to look much more like their non-AMP counterparts. Now we’re seeing webpages that load quickly and still look stylish; what more could you ask for?

New URL Displays Are on the Horizon

As it stands, AMP pages display a Google-based URL instead of the actual website’s URL. Obviously, this can be rather frustrating for publishers hoping to build brand recognition.

Fortunately, Google has announced that by late 2018 they plan to display the publisher’s domain in search results sourced from their AMP cache. This is encouraging news for brand marketers, but we’re going to wait until the full plan is unveiled before we get too excited.

AMPs for All Devices

Once exclusive to mobile search results, AMPs have made their way to desktop search results as well. If you want your site to remain competitive, you’ll need to make sure that any AMPs you build are functional across all web-browsing devices. If they’re not, you risk subjecting much of your audience to a clunky, frustrating experience.

Crackdown on Teaser Pages

Some publishers have found a way to work around the AMP project’s disadvantages. So-called “teaser pages” are stored in the AMP cache and benefit from increased speed and priority placement on Google’s carousel.

These teaser pages then link to the publisher’s native non-AMP page through a call to action, such as a “Continue Reading Here” button. Publishers had effectively found a way to have their cake and eat it too.

Google is putting a stop to this workaround by requiring that both the AMP and non-AMP versions of a webpage contain the same content. If Google believes a publisher is using their AMP page as a teaser, it will simply stop directing traffic there.

The Benefits of AMPs

Here are the pros of using AMPs in your digital marketing strategy:

Increased Speed

AMPs have a major speed advantage over traditional mobile pages. The increased loading speed of AMP content comes with a host of benefits, including:

  1. Visitors are more likely to engage with content and make purchases on pages when they know the process will be quick and hassle free.
  2. Shorter load times also mean that visitors are less likely to lose patience and navigate away from your content.

Increased Visibility

At the moment, using AMPs won’t automatically increase your page or domain authority. However, AMPs are eligible to be displayed in Google’s “Top Stories” carousel, which sits at or near the top of search results pages, depending on what you search. While Google’s carousel mostly features news articles, if you create an AMP on a frequently searched or hot topic, your content can potentially “skip the line” and jump all the way to page one of a Google search.

Also, Google’s carousel is no longer the only spot while you will find AMP content. Since 2016, Google has featured AMP pages in the organic search results as well. The AMP logo (a white or gray lightning bolt in a blue circle) can be seen just beneath the meta title of all AMP entries. For certain searches, you may see AMP-only results throughout page one.

Increased Visitor Engagement

The evidence is beginning to show that visitors are more likely to engage with the content on AMPs compared to traditional mobile pages. The minimalist design of AMPs makes it easier for visitors to navigate through the content on your page.

Visitors will be more likely to leave comments, watch embedded videos and follow links when they aren’t distracted by the clutter typically found on non-AMP pages.

 

The Drawbacks of AMPs

Unfortunately, there are a few cons of AMPs that we must mention:

AMPs May Not Increase Site Traffic

Because AMP content has a Google URL and resides in Google’s servers, AMPs won’t directly increase traffic to your website. While Google has announced plans to remedy this problem in the future, clever publishers have already developed effective workarounds.

For example, AMP publishers can add a comment button to the end of an article, but when the visitor clicks it, they arrive on an equivalent page on the publisher’s own site, which is where they’ll actually leave the comment.

Keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if users don’t click through an AMP page to the publisher’s website. After all, just having your content reach the front page of a Google search result will go a long way in building brand recognition, especially if users keep seeing your content again and again.

Coordination Problem

While the AMPs themselves may load quickly, any external content on the page is likely to lag behind. This is a big problem when it comes to hosting advertisements. Visitors are likely to scroll past an ad before it has loaded, killing any chance at conversion.

Google claims to be in the process of addressing this problem, but until it does, publishers need to take this variable into account.

Analytics Leave Much to Be Desired

Google usually sets the standard for quality analytics, but the analytics available for AMPs are pretty unsatisfying at the moment. While you can keep track of basic metrics like visitors and engagement, you won’t have much data to work with to improve your visitor’s experience.
 
For an easy reminder of the pros and cons of accelerated mobile pages, feel free to download or share this image:
Accelerated Mobile Pages AMPs Speed Visibility Analytics - Eminent SEO

The Pros and Cons of Accelerated Mobile Pages for YOUR Website

Even though AMPs are most beneficial for news publishers, any business that maintains a blog and publishes timely content on popular topics can potentially benefit from this technology. This is especially true if there is a techie on staff who can learn to build webpages using the AMP code.

On the other hand, businesses that publish evergreen content (or don’t have a blog at all) may find that the time and money it takes to duplicate parts of their website in the AMP format is just not worth it.

Still unsure whether your business should try it out? Contact us today, and our team of expert designers and SEO analysts will help you determine if AMPs are a wise choice for your website.

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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