SEO

Why Your Site Should Not Adopt AMP Just Yet

There’s been a lot of SEO buzz around the latest attraction, AMP. (No, not the energy drink or guitar amplifier.) This AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source HTML framework intended to make mobile pages load more quickly. The AMP Project originated as an experiment from a group of developers led by Malte Uble, Software Engineer at Google, to create a webpage that would always load with reliable performance on smart phones, reinforcing Google’s Mobile First approach. Since the roll-out announcement on Google’s Official Blog, there has been a lot of speculation of how much Google will support AMP pages, as well as how they will stand out in updated search results. For example, Google’s demo SERPs shows a carousel with publisher sites with AMP HTML in a carousel. 

   

While there are sites that should take advantage of AMP, there are many sites that should not adapt AMP, at least not yet. Here are a few reasons to consider.

AMP isn’t compatible with all sites.

At the moment, AMP has been released for publisher sites (sites with minimal design and heavy content on the page). Google states, “The goal is for all published content, from news stories to videos and from blogs to photographs and GIFs, to work using Accelerated Mobile Pages.” If your site has heavy design, additional functionality, or multiple tracking tags, AMP could prove to be very challenging and not compatible with your site setup.

AMP is still a work in progress.

Although there is a guide with HTML source code, examples, and further resources from github, Paul Bakaus, a developer advocate on the Google Chrome team (and for AMP) states there is not enough public documentation or third-party support yet.

There are severe restrictions.

AMP HTML takes a “lightweight” approach to web pages by removing elements that could slow performance. By focusing on content pages, the AMP project leaders have created a framework that is primarily built with HTML, enforcing heavy rationing of CSS. There are strict guidelines for CSS, including the restriction of any external .css files, and all CSS must be inline through the new AMP HTML <style amp-custom> tag.


Source: www.iprospect.com/en/us/

Further, certain CSS selectors and pseudo-selectors are prohibited, causing developers to strip more parts to make their websites more AMP-friendly.

The AMP project leaders also declared that AMP HTML documents would not contain any author-written or third-party JavaScript.  This includes excluding interactive elements like forms, lightboxes, paywalls, and many analytics tracking packages. These types of functionality and tracking restrictions leave little more than just the website frame and engine. Further, since the project is not completed, sites run the risk of making major changes that soon after become whitelisted.

AMP is not as fast as a fine-tuned site.

As Malte Ubl, the tech leader of the AMP project says, “All AMP documents should be decently fast.” Yet, a good developer can hand-tune a faster site than one built with AMP HTML.

While AMP is still a work in progress, you can focus on HTTP/2 for site performance. Given the fact that HTTP/2 is the first HTTP improvement in 17 years, sites are passing through pretty bumpy roads.

The Advantages of HTTP/2:

While AMP is designed to make sites faster by creating a light-weight framework and minimizing the number of requests (i.e., a makeover of HTML), HTTP/2 focuses on making a single connection to the server and multiplexing multiple requests (allowing compatibility with external CSS/JavaScript files and avoiding trip ups on a single slow-loading resource). Since the implementation is on the server-side, the web development effort should be much less than reformatting code on all pages.

Most browsers/smartphones are already compatible with HTTP/2, and if not, the server will still use the appropriate HTTP for the requesting browser/device.

HTTP/2 can be enabled through the webserver; currently, Apache & Nginx support natively through SPDY module. These two servers support traffic for 66% of all active web servers, but here is a list of all servers that support HTTP/2.

Although HTTP/2 functions over non-encrypted connections, some implementations will only support HTTP/2 over an encrypted connection, and no browser to-date supports HTTP/2 without HTTPS. Beyond our recommendations to move to HTTPS, Google continues to reinforce the importance of a safer, more secure web through indexing and ranking factors.

Our Recommendations:

  • For the time being, AMP HTML is not a good solution for improving performance on most sites.
  • One immediate solution for improving performance is HTTP/2.
  • Stay current with all SEO recommendations (like HTTPS) to lay proper groundwork for future benefits (like HTTP/2, AMP) to keep ahead of your competition.