What Impact Have AMPs on SEO? Everything You Need to Know

in Development

Business owners are looking for mobile solutions that offer a complex user experience and boost SEO performance because mobile users are rising every year. The faster your website, the lower the bounce rates, resulting in happier users and an increased conversion rate. Site speed is one of the main ranking factors, and Google implemented accelerated mobile pages (AMPs), among other programs, to prove it.

In the beginning, AMPs seemed to have potential, and many large businesses such as Twitter switched their website to Google’s AMP. Nowadays, fewer and fewer people talk about AMPs and in 2021, Google removed the lightning bolt AMP symbol from the search engine results page (SERP). We wrote an article about what are accelerated mobile pages, how they work, their pros and cons, and what businesses can implement them. 

In this article, we will talk about the impact of AMPs on search engine optimization (SEO), if they still have an influence over your search rankings and if you should implement them in 2022 and forward.  

What Are Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs)?

Accelerated mobile pages (AMP) are an open-source project created by Google to help mobile websites to achieve a faster loading time. The AMPs store a cached version of the mobile site on Google servers. This way, the content is delivered almost immediately. However, the accelerated mobile pages are removing features such as videos, animations and ads, and keeping only the content and images relevant to the page. The mobile user experience is increased because the load time for complex elements is eliminated. News websites and blog posts are the ones that best fit the AMPs structures. If you have a complex website with lots of animations and videos or own an eCommerce business, an AMP is not a good idea.  

When they first launched, accelerated mobile pages could be recognised in the search engine results pages by their lightning bolt symbol. However, recently, Google removed the icon, this action raising the question of whether the AMP era is over.   

Are Accelerated Mobile Pages Worth Your Investment Nowadays?

Launched in October 2015 and first appeared in the organic search results in February 2016, AMPs are a stripped-down version of your website. Because they are lightweight pages with almost instant load speed, many experts thought AMPs were the future of digital marketing. However, as Google removed the AMP badge from the search results, we tend to think that AMPs are losing credibility among users. More than that, Kinsta states in a case study that AMP reduced their leads by 59%. 

When AMP was released, the idea of their actual implementation appealed to many businesses. The purpose of the AMP project was to take a complex code and simplify it so the mobile content loads at lightning speed to create a smooth and flawless user experience. This is ideally, especially when more than half of all organic search traffic is mobile traffic.    

Before jumping to any conclusions, let’s explore the pros and cons of AMPs. 

Benefits of AMP pages

  • Fast loading speed – because the AMP technology is based on stripping down the website code, your site will deliver faster content by getting rid of non-essential elements. The user mobile experience will be improved.
  • Better organic search performance – Google AMP is not a ranking factor, but site speed is. Therefore, faster load times can improve Google rankings. 
  • Fast and easy implementation on WordPress If you have a WordPress website, the AMP implementation is straightforward. You just install the AMP plugin.

AMP  Biggest Hindrances

  • Hard to implement on non-WordPress websitesYou will need a development team with coding experience to create AMP pages. 
  • Limited ad revenue because the focus of AMPs is the speed, fewer ads will show up on your pages. If your primary source of income is based on ads, then APM pages are not an excellent option for you. 
  • Limited analytics –  You can add Google Analytics on your pages, but keep in mind that your site is actually sitting on Google servers, making it difficult to see how changes impact your website traffic.
  • Limited control over your website’s content and design – as AMP technology excludes elements that contribute to slow load times, some of the elements can include branding features or elements that help you drive traffic to other pages from your website.  
  • Limited lead generation – If you use forms or downloadable goods to gather more leads, AMP pages will minimize your ability to generate leads. 
  • Limited social sharing – because the social sharing buttons are developed using JavaScript, your share buttons might not be displayed correctly, as the code of AMPs is primarily HTML based. 

The AMP alternative has more cons than pros for most businesses. The main goal of the AMP framework is to make your website as fast as possible, but you should know that there are numerous ways to improve your site speed and improve your mobile SEO. You can take a look at our blog in the development category as we have multiple articles on how to improve website speed and why. Also, you can read the article on how to optimize speed for better SEO, our actions and results for Flowmatters.com

Now, the question is, who are AMP pages fit for? 

From a business perspective, when you look at the pros and cons, you might think that Google’s AMP is not a solution for you, especially when the lighting icon was removed from the Google search results. The truth is that you might want to implement the AMP code on your website if you face the following struggles: 

  • You have issues with your page speed, despite your efforts on mobile speed optimization.
  • When your primary source of traffic is from mobile devices.
  • When your content is focused on news content, you want to be featured in Top Stories, although Google no longer requires AMP-enabled pages for Top Stories.     

When your website is based on branded features, is used for lead generation, or performs good on page speed, we don’t recommend investing in AMP implementation. 

What Impact Have Accelerated Mobile Pages SEO?

The first deployment of Google’s AMP was focused on English-language news publishers, and the purpose was to improve user experience. AMPs never were a search engine ranking factor or a revenue improvement.

Because site speed is a ranking factor and AMPs boost site speed, they play a role in SEO:

  • AMP pages appear higher in the mobile search results. They appear horizontal on a carrousel of news stories, making them easier to navigate by swiping. Any top-ranked news publisher with AMP pages implemented will get higher visibility. 
  • People who click on AMP pages are interested in the content, making them less likely to bounce. By having users engage with your AMP content, you will grow the click-through rate, and it’s a great way to nourish your relationships with your readers.   
  • Even if AMPs are a simpler version of your website code, you can still include dynamic content, videos, audio and social sharing buttons. Google is working to improve AMPs every day. Therefore, we might see more complex page elements added as time goes by. 
  • AMP pages do not generate leads. Until Google adds the opt-in forms to AMPs, you cannot generate leads by implementing AMPs on your website. 
  • AMP can obstruct link building because the AMP URL is rooted in Google.com. If link building plays an essential role in your SEO strategy, AMP pages can be a problem for you. 
  • If you want to implement AMP pages, your HTML must be impeccable. If you want to ensure that Google will cache your AMPs, your code should be 100% error-free.     
  • The server performance is enhanced by using AMP pages. When you get plenty of traffic from mobile devices, the AMPs will reduce the pressure on your servers, especially if you don’t use a CDN (Content Delivery Network).  
  • By implementing accelerated mobile pages, you can access AMP only search features. Google has reserved some places in the search results only for AMP pages. If you are a news publisher and implement AMPs, your articles will appear in the news carousel placed at the top of Google mobile search results. 
  • If you like storytelling and you need some storytelling options, AMP stories provide a swipeable, image-rich experience to your readers. The downside is that AMP stories are not as extensively used as planned, but they can increase your search engine visibility
  • AMPs are GDPR compliant

Conclusions

From now forward, it doesn’t really matter if you use AMP or non-AMP pages because if you create an outstanding Page Experience and meet Google’s ranking factors, your website will strive. But, in case your business model fits AMP format, or you have already implemented Google’s AMP, there is no need to change that. The AMP project is improving every day, increasing the quality and variety of their features and capabilities that you can benefit from. 

In June/July 2021, Google rolled out the Page Experience algorithm, which puts the Core Web Vitals (site speed, platform and visual stability) to a position of prominence as a ranking factor. AMPs are a great way to optimize Core Web Vitals requirements, but they are not the only way to do that.   

Even if the AMP icon is no longer present on the search results page, this doesn’t mean they are not used anymore or are not a good option for you. However, if your only reason to implement AMP is to increase page speed, we advise you against that if you are not a news publisher or blog. 

Our take on mobile solutions is to offer stable and fast products that are business-specific and customized for each project. We highly recommend you analyze all the options before making a decision. If you are looking for help to find the best solution for your business, do not hesitate to give us a call or drop us a message. You can check out our reviews and our portfolio. Let’s improve your business in no time!

Frequently Asked Questions

Does AMP affect SEO?

They do not affect SEO. They focus on improving page speed and mobile user experience, which are ranking factors, but AMPs are NOT a ranking factor.

How does AMP improve page speed?

It eliminates the unnecessary elements from the website’s code. AMPs are a very lightweight version of your site.

Should I use AMP?

If you are a news publisher or own a blog, you can implement AMPs. You might benefit from that.

Is AMP a ranking factor?

NO! AMPs are not a ranking factor.

Tags: custom web development , seo , web consulting