Is AMP Good for SEO?
AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is Google’s framework for increasing page speed of mobile sites. Because it is Google’s framework, AMP is implemented using a proprietary HTML code to facilitate it. But, is AMP good for SEO? Are performance gains from AMP good enough for clients to benefit? We have performed several case studies to answer such questions. The majority of them have resulted in a resounding “no.” Why? Why does AMP not fit our websites’ goals as cleanly as we would like?
There are several reasons. First, if you are developing a website on WordPress, you have to add yet another plugin that will accommodate AMP. If the site is not already well-optimized, this plugin can interfere with server resources.
Second, AMP may be easier to implement on static websites. Those kinds of sites do not add another instance of processing for the database. Most of our clients are on WordPress, and in most cases, the performance hit due to the plugin is minimal. If a site already has a significant number of plugins, the added load may cause the site to break. This problem is rare but does happen.
Third: realistically speaking, AMP only makes sense for countries that are on networks with very slow speeds. In these countries, AMP will lead to a definitive and perceptible performance increase.
These are the reasons why we don’t believe AMP is good for SEO. Due to the chances of catastrophic failure, we strongly discourage constantly adding plugins on top of plugins. Such a practice can only lead to disaster. If your WordPress site includes this practice, then you may experience bottlenecks if you have no way of monitoring your plugins. They may get out of control, slowing your site down with database congestion.
At Hennessey Digital, we can optimize your site for the latest plugins without introducing irrelevant bottlenecks. By optimizing your site with our unique process, it is possible to identify weaknesses and solve these problems so they don’t happen again. The result is a future-proof site you can use as an extension of your brand to delight consumers and shift your SERP (search engine results page) performance into high gear.
What Are the Pros and Cons of AMP?
Here’s the problem with AMP: it is still too new. As AMP continues development into a modern framework, Google may decide to remove it on a whim. They have done this with other projects. Plus, without slower networks, you may not see much of a benefit using AMP. Still, there are some benefits, even though at best they are perceived benefits instead of tangible benefits.
AMP may help you land in the carousel results on the first page of Google. This is a good thing! That means increased exposure for your website. But the keyword here is may. There are still other factors that Google will examine to determine if your site is worthy of showing up in the carousel. Thanks to AMP, we now have a framework that is standardized for mobile optimization. Is it perfect? Of course not. Blindly accepting a new framework into your site without testing it is a recipe for disaster.
In spite of this standardization, there are some things we have to do. We have to assess whether the practices we use work well. Overall, you can expect an improved user experience by using AMP. The framework also removes a few elements that may not be of interest to users, judged by AMP itself. Despite the imperfections, at Hennessey Digital we have some processes in place to ensure that your AMP coding is not only a success but also less stressful.
The drawbacks of AMP include the following: it can be difficult to track if you don’t implement the right tracking. This is hugely important. It may not work well with the tracking that you already have in place. At the moment, tracking AMP pages takes some additional effort and may not be worth the productivity and opportunity cost in the end. Another issue is that there are JS and CSS limitations. Because AMP contains special branding rather than your own, it can be difficult to achieve a coherent placement of branded elements to show your visitors. These drawbacks are where AMP falls short: if you are a site not operating in the slowest countries on the web, then AMP may not be worth it compared to the performance gains you may get.
We are of the opinion that AMP is not a worthwhile endeavor, but we have processes in place should you choose to have us implement AMP. After all, that’s what makes the Hennessey Digital difference in people’s lives — and it’s why our clients love us.