Google AMP – Should You Convert Your Whole Website?

2019/03/15 08:00

amp seo

While Google AMP does offer several benefits, should you really be converting your website?

Google’s AMP (accelerated mobile pages) feature has become a hot talking point in recent months, with many marketers and website owners wondering if they should make the move.

AMP was designed to speed up website load times on mobile devices, which is obviously beneficial for SEO, however, Google is asking website owners to hand over more control of their sites in order to maintain strong rankings and stay competitive.

In early 2018, Google began rolling out mobile-first indexing, ensuring that websites that are mobile-ready were given priority during indexing. With that, AMP really stepped into the spotlight and left marketing wonders whether they should consider converting their sites.

The AMP project is not without its faults though and is not currently the best fit for all businesses.

To AMP or Not to AMP?

Let’s take a closer look at some of the pros and cons of converting your website to Google AMP.

Google AMP Pros

Let’s start with some of the positive benefits that Google AMP offers website owners.

  • Mobile Optimisation Made Easy

AMP standards do make it slightly easier to know what’s mobile-ready and what isn’t. At the moment, marketers have to guess what to change or update in order to make their sites more mobile friendly. With that being said, it’s still entirely possible to optimise your site for mobile without Google needing to hold your hand that tightly.

  • Rank Better in SERPS

Naturally, AMP makes it more likely that you will rank well in Google SERPS by improving mobile load times and creating a more user-friendly experience for website visitors.

  • Boost Website Speed

AMP-ready sites will load much faster than ever before, which means there’s a good chance you will see an increase in page views and time on site. Faster load times will naturally have an impact on your engagement and conversion rates too.

  • Carousel Placement

Every brand wants to be at the top of page one and since AMPs tend to show up in the carousel that appears just above the rest of the search results, it makes converting your website all the more appealing. This carousel allows users to horizontally scroll through AMPs and is generally the first choice for most searchers. With this being said, some believe that the carousel won’t be a permanent feature.

Google AMP Cons

Now, let’s look at some of the negative aspects associated with Google AMP.

  • Branding and Styling Takes a Back Seat

While JavaScript and CSS allow you to create a site that stands out, AMP takes away a lot of the flashy extras that tend to affect website speed. AMP may be great for speed but it does make it more difficult to provide users with a memorable experience.

  • Tracking Takes Extra Effort

Unfortunately, AMPs will not work with your current tracking because the pages are stored and tracked differently. Until more solutions are available, tracking AMPs may require you to find additional resources who can assist you with the setup.

  • Cache Pages are Served

AMPs are able to load so quickly because Google is serving a cached version of the page. This means that visitors won’t be seeing the original content that you created but a copy that is stored elsewhere.

  • You May Generate Less Revenue

According to an article by The Wall Street Journal, a number of publishers who have adopted AMP have noticed a decline in their advertising revenue. This is concerning because AMP is meant to increase traffic, so shouldn’t that be resulting in increased revenue? Unfortunately, what’s happening is that Google AMP restricts the ads that can be displayed on these mobile pages. Google has admitted that they are still working on making improvements to the AMP project in order to help brands increase revenue but there have been no further discussions around this.

  • Implementation is Tricky

While AMP is designed to make sites more user-friendly, converting your website is slightly trickier. There is a lot of conflicting information available on how to do this and even though CMSs like WordPress do have AMP-integration tools available, it seems that they are not working very well with other popular plugins such as Yoast.

  • The Positive Reviews are Not All That Convincing

There are quite a few positive AMP reviews out there but many professionals are not convinced, particularly because Google is so hesitant to comment on the program’s flaws. The Wall Street Journal even reported that some publishers didn’t want to comment on the situation in case Google decided to target their sites.

The Final Decision

The bottom line is that organizations shouldn’t be pressured into converting their sites to AMP – not anytime soon anyway. The majority of organizations are choosing to play the waiting game, especially since Google hasn’t been overly vocal about how AMP will affect rankings. However, it won’t hurt to start familiarising yourself with the program and what will need to be done to convert your website if you do need to take that route in the future.