It’s fair to say that Google loves mobile responsive websites. In fact, Google saw mobile usage account for over 50% of searches in 2019. This, in combination with Google’s announcement of using mobile-first indexing indicates a shift in user preference towards mobile searches over desktop.
Therefore, website owners often jump at anything that can give them an advantage in the mobile search rankings – which an AMP plugin is said to give them. But first, it’s worth understanding exactly what an AMP is before using it on your website.
What Is An AMP Plugin?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. To everyday web users, it is a plugin that can be installed onto your WordPress website with the aim of making the web content load faster when viewed on a mobile device.
This allows for smooth-loading which prioritises the user experience above all else. A lot of us might be already using an AMP without even knowing it, as a similar version can be seen on the articles within Apple News or Facebook Instant Articles.
You can tell when a website has AMP plugin installed on their website by the lightning bolt symbol next to the link. This is shown in the image below as 3 out of the 4 links have a symbol next to them to indicate that they have got AMP installed.
What Are The Benefits Of An AMP plugin?
There are two main benefits to installing AMP on your website:
- Faster Loading Times: Using an AMP plugin will give your website a faster loading time, which therefore provides visitors with a better user experience. The theory is that this could have a knock on effect of lower bounce rates, more time spent on site and higher conversions – all because users are happier.
- Better SEO: Having AMP installed on your website hasn’t been confirmed by Google as being a factor in the search rankings, but fast loading times have been – which is exactly what AMP provides. So the speed benefit will factor into Google’s determination of ranking position.
What Are The Drawbacks Of An AMP plugin?
Despite these advantages, AMP also comes with a few drawbacks that need to be considered:
- Restrictive Design: In order to decrease the load time, the website would have to be stripped back of any unique styles and brand design. Therefore, it becomes a trade-off between the two – speed or appearance. This being said, there are many solutions available to support the website’s original design whilst using an AMP, but these are typically expensive.
- Basic Analytics: In today’s world, data is everything. However, AMP only provides the website’s owner with very basic analytical data such as visitor numbers and engagement which leaves much to be desired in the more advanced analytical departments.
What Is My Personal Experience With AMP Plugins?
I think that much like many things in life, there’s a time and place for everything. What I mean by this is that certain websites would benefit from this more than others. For example, An AMP would be more beneficial for a breaking News website, as load time is more important to users and brand image is less essential in these particular situations.
Therefore, it’s a trade-off. Whilst an AMP plugin can dramatically reduce load times and boost user experience, I don’t feel like it outweighs the negative impact from the loss in webpage’s unique design. In this competitive online market, brand identity is key to standing out which could be sacrificed to make way for faster load times, which shouldn’t be the primary objective of any website.
Whilst the impact of the design restrictions will vary for different website owners depending on their website builder, it nonetheless still degrades the website’s appearance as it can often make it look very basic and ‘bareboned’.
Overall, I don’t think it’s necessary for everyone to have an AMP on their website as there are plenty of other ways to attain faster loading times on mobile, such as selecting better web hosting, optimising code, using appropriately sized images and many more.
If you’re looking to boost your Google search engine rankings, find out more about our SEO services or get in touch today. We can also design and develop a professional website tailored to the needs of your small business, get a free quote today.