AMP has been operating for 5 years and has undergone significant changes over that period. However, in online terms, 5 years is a very long period. So, how significant are AMP pages now? Is it worth it to set up AMP pages if you haven’t already?
Stick with AMP pages if you’ve already deployed them, but start working on the Page Experience for your main site design today.
Let’s get started and get some answers.
What Are AMP Pages?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and it’s an open-source framework for making web pages load faster on mobile devices. That’s why the acronym AMP stands for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages.’
Despite the fact that it is nominally “open source,” Google has always been heavily involved and supportive. As a result, it’s known as Google AMP.
In February 2016, AMP pages began to appear in Google mobile search results. So they’ve been around for more than five years.
Why Are AMP Pages Important?
These days, Google is all about the user experience. And they’ve been concentrating on the mobile web experience for quite some time. In July 2019, they even implemented mobile-first indexing,’ which essentially meant that mobile’ became the starting point for everything Google did when evaluating your website.
Because AMP pages must adhere to very rigorous design guidelines, it feeds into all of this. They have a very simple page layout with a lot of technical restrictions on what you can and can’t do. Everything was designed to be simple and quick. This was initially far too restrictive, severely limiting functionality. However, a lot has changed in the last five years.
So, regardless of how web pages are created these days, they must be quick to load and operate effectively on small displays. However, there’s now more to it than that, as we’ll see in a moment.
AMP for Easy Mobile Friendly Pages?
Websites are frequently created with mobile users in mind these days. That is, they are designed to appear excellent on mobile devices first, before shifting and adapting to look good on larger displays as well (tablets, laptops and desktops).
However, five years ago, sites were still erected to strict dimensions. They didn’t adapt and flow well, and they weren’t mobile responsive.’ They were often difficult to navigate on a phone. And slow, oh so slow.
To remedy this, large design adjustments were required to develop a more flexible design that could accommodate various screen sizes and devices.
You may also leave the main site alone and use a plugin to produce AMP pages for mobile users automatically. It’s a bad answer, but it’s what a lot of firms did as a last-minute “quick fix” (and it’s probably still harming them now).
AMP = Google News Carousel = Big Traffic
‘Google News‘ has been a significant benefit for AMP (for website owners).
A website had to support AMP in order to appear in the Google News Carousel, which appeared at the top of news-related searches. That is, only AMP pages may be displayed.
The News Carousel may send massive amounts of traffic to your site, therefore this prominence was obviously very significant to news and media companies.
That’s why the news and media industry embraced AMP so enthusiastically, while the rest of the industry generally disregarded it.
However, the AMP requirement for Google Top Stories Carousel is no longer in effect.
So Are AMP Pages Worth It Now?
AMP is one method to make sites that load quickly and provide an excellent user experience. But that isn’t the only one. Standard (well-designed) websites can accomplish the same goal.
So, if you haven’t already, should you start using AMP now?
Google News Carousel Changes (Big Change 1)
While AMP has been significant for news/media sites for a few years due to that prominent traffic-boosting news carousel, things have altered in recent months.
Only AMP sites are eligible to show in the Google Top Stories carousel when searching on mobile, which is one of the primary benefits of AMP for website owners (which can send significant spikes in traffic).
That’s going to change, as all websites will be eligible – but ‘Page Experience’ scores will become a ranking component for Top Stories to emerge.
AMP vs Google Page Experience (Big Change 2)
The goal of AMP was to provide a quick page loading experience on mobile devices, mostly by giving an aesthetically sparse page layout. Page Experience has several facets (and is linked to ‘Google PageSpeed’), but the end result is the same – faster page loading with less jarring for the user (avoiding page layout jumps etc as different elements of the page load).
The main distinction is that AMP often necessitates a second ‘cut-down’ template design, whereas Page Experience focuses solely on improving the efficiency and usability of the present site. That is, rather of making it useful for a specific group of users, make it beneficial for everyone.
Sidenote: It is technically possible to create an AMP-based site that works on all devices. But the reality is that it’s still tough, if not impossible, to achieve satisfactorily, and the end product is still rather limited for larger screens, so you’ll almost certainly have to make concessions.
So we’re in the midst of a transition period in which Google’s Page Experience may eventually replace AMP, and we’re only now getting a clear picture of what this implies.
Google Page Experience is expected to begin rolling out in May 2021.
Is AMP Going Away?
AMP isn’t going anywhere, at least not for the time being. Google continues to promote AMP, claiming that it is one way to improve Page Experience. However, it appears like Page Experience, in general, is the way of the future, and AMP may be phased out in the long run.
Is AMP Good for SEO?
Page loading speed, for example, is already a minor ranking consideration in Google. So, whether you’re delivering AMP sites or not, it’s something to keep in mind.
Google has not stated that the extra Page Experience components are ranking criteria (beyond Top Stories). At least not until they start implementing it (currently scheduled for May 2021). However, it’s not out of the question that they will become relevant to search rankings. If not directly, then indirectly, by observing how visitors interact with your website. Google will want to send more visitors to your competitors’ websites if they appear better, perform better, and give what your consumers want more readily.
Should I Implement AMP?
Once again, the world has altered. So, if you haven’t already implemented AMP pages, now isn’t the greatest moment.
While not everything is known yet, my proposal, for now, is to divert resources that would have gone towards AMP and instead focus on improving Page Experience. You’ll be able to better serve all of your website visitors as a result, and you’ll almost certainly experience a significant rise in search traffic alone.