RT Cunningham

Google AMP – Don’t Bother with it if you have a Regular Website

Google AMP Implementing Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is a complete waste of time if you’re not a news organization or a big publisher. I say this based on experience, not something imagined.

There’s one exception: If you convert to a Google AMP only website, you’ll benefit from faster loading speeds. Of course, you’ll then have to deal with all the headaches that come with that transition. The sad part is that it won’t get your web pages any higher up in the search engine results.

My History with Google AMP

I started thinking about implementing Google AMP when Automattic created the first version of the plugin for WordPress. That was in August of 2016, about seven months after they released it. I was mostly concerned with how to set up Google AdSense with it. I did some testing and that’s where I stopped.

In January of 2017, I converted to a Google AMP only website instead of linking to alternate pages. After all, I was working with a static site by then. After three weeks, Google still hadn’t re-indexed all my pages as Google AMP. Without any validation errors, I expected more than a few pages to show up as being valid as AMP in Google’s Search Console. A month later, I reverted my website back to the way it was.

Last month (August 2017), I decided to try again. This time, with the alternate pages. More than a month later (today), I’ve reverted again. I had no validation errors to deal with this time and things ran pretty smoothly. The problem? Very few of those alternate pages were showing up in Google’s search engine results. And no one was clicking through at all.

Google AMP Helps in Other Ways

Google introduced something called AMP for Ads. It’s taken some time for advertisers to start using it but they’re using it now. That means AdSense ads on non-Google AMP websites are faster than they were.

The drawbacks are forcing website owners who can’t or won’t deal with Google AMP to make changes with their websites. They’re forced to make the mobile version just as fast to compete.

I checked the page speed for various pages of my website with multiple services. The mobile versions were just as fast as the Google AMP versions. Looking at the loading stages, from time to first byte to fully loaded, they were sometimes faster.

Other Things to Revert

Before I started working on Google AMP again, I worked on the pagination of my home, category and tag archives. I had the category and tag archives condensed into single page lists before that. This was another mistake. Although they show up in Google search engine results, no one clicks through to the articles they reference.

I’m going to get rid of tags altogether. Looking at more than two months of data on Google Analytics, no one seems to click on the tags in the articles either. I may or may not expand the list of categories to make up for it but I doubt I will. I’ll definitely revert the category archives to a single page. I’m going to get rid of the home page archives as well. I haven’t seen them anywhere except for crawlers accessing them.

Supposedly, everything I’m getting rid of (especially Google AMP) is supposed to help me rank better in Google’s search engine results. I don’t care. I’m not writing for search engines.


RT Cunningham
September 13, 2017
Web Development