The Google AMP Truth
February 15th 2018
Is your website performing too slow on mobile devices?
Website experience and loading speed is important to us here at SilverServers Inc. Our Paradigm content management system supports a technically correct website to base your marketing efforts on without sacrificing load time and file size. Of course, load times are also important to Google and to all of your potential clients. To that end, Google has been pushing their AMP project initiative since Feb 2016. Does your website need AMP versions of all your pages? Google and large e-commerce/media sites seem to think so. With mobile page speed quickly becoming a ranking signal, is the AMP Project your way forward? We aren’t convinced!
A Band-aid Solution to Slow Webites
AMP is meant to be a solution to bloated, large and slow websites on mobile devices. The numbers don’t lie! When you compare a large desktop site with its corresponding AMP version, it certainly looks attractive. Many search engine optimization experts are touting AMP as a great solution to user experience problems on your website. Your pages are delivered in a stripped down, very fast format to make sure that mobile visitors receive a good experience on your site. Many converts claim that their quality stats like bounce rate and visit duration have seen a great boost since providing AMP versions of their pages.
Well of course they would! When your website takes 10 seconds and requires 200+ resources to load, it is going to be very easy to outperform the original! The real problem here is the original site. AMP is a band-aid solution for unskilled developers, content managment systems and industry techniques that don’t inherently support fast, responsive websites and it comes with its own giant list of caveats.
A Website Solution That Starts To Sound Fishy
For AMP to really work properly, your pages end up hosted on a cached Google AMP server to be delivered to visitors later. Sound a bit fishy already? Now your content is being served by Google directly, cutting out visits to your site and important demographic/visitor information that you can use to enhance your business. What good are your search rankings if visitors never actually come to your version of your website because they can get Google's version instead? Google gave them everything they looked for right there in the search results, so now you’re out a click that you should have otherwise had! Somehow that doesn’t sound positive to us.
All that work you’ve done designing and minifying your site’s CSS and other design elements, well you can’t really apply it to your AMP pages at the moment. AMP pages require their own markup and in-line CSS. A site wide change to your AMP design needs to be implemented on each page you serve? What a waste of time! The design and feel of the pages are disconnected and remove the ability to brand your site like a proper responsive design provides.
AMP Creates Extra Work
Oh and you use an Analytics service of some sort right? At least using Google Analytics or other basic stat tracking options is a must for any SEO campaign or actions. Informed, data driven decisions are key to making any real headway in your organic rankings. So are you ready to add an entire new Analytics property just for your AMP site? A whole new set of filters and segments to manage? Separate AdWords connections and management? Who wants to sign up for all that extra work?
AMP has been born out of a lack of skill by website developers and hosts. The software they use and run doesn’t support a fast, lightweight responsive website so they need another solution to make sure that all their visitors are taken care of. Google has provided this solution so that these websites can continue to provide content to mobile users without actually fixing the source issues that cause a bad mobile experience in the first place. Have you gotten or asked for an estimate from your developer on the time and cost it would take to add AMP support to your website? It’s often not a small job! SilverServers rejects this concept.
Why Pay For a Band-aid When You Can Do It Properly?
On average, the fully responsive websites built on our CMS take about 1.5 seconds and 35 resources to load. On all devices, right out of the gate. All your content, CSS and platforms are taken care of in one site and one source. In our recent experiments, our CMS beat out test AMP versions of the very same pages we serve in load time and resource footprint. You only need one Analytics property and one set of data to look at. Why would you want to pay for a band-aid to fix a wound that shouldn’t exist? Go to the source and stop the damage in the first place.
Until AMP pages actually factor into rankings (hint, they don’t!), there is absolutely no reason to spend hours and hours converting your site into AMP. Unless you’re a media giant or a large corporation, AMP pages are nothing but an admittance that your developer doesn’t provide a fast loading website. Everything that AMP addresses can be taken care of with a properly coded and supported responsive website.
If you run a locally focused small to medium business and you need real SEO help, skip the AMP project and join our GrassRoots program. Your custom designed website will already load fast enough to provide your mobile visitors a great experience without the need for separate designs and convoluted stat tracking. The plan starts at $129/m* and provides everything you need to get your domain ranking and building organic authority.
*Update: Our Grassroots plans have changed since 2018! Ask us about our new, custom Grassroots SEO Packages.
For more articles, check out the Website Design section of our blog!