Should you use Google AMP on your website?

If you’re looking to increase visits to your site, you’ve probably explored new ways for people to discover it. RSS is quickly becoming a thing of the past, and as a result, Apple and Facebook offer their own discovery tools through Apple News and Facebook Instant Articles, respectively. However, there’s another format that is becoming even more popular — the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) format, a Google-backed project designed as an open standard for any publisher to have pages load quickly on mobile devices. Many sites have jumped on board quickly, but is making your website AMP-compatible a good idea for your site? Here are the pros and cons of the Google AMP project to help you decide if it’s right for you.

How AMP helps your site

Pages load faster

AMP is designed to load websites faster and that’s exactly what it does. According to the AMP Project, 75% of websites take 10 seconds or longer to load on a 3G mobile connection and 53% of mobile users leave a website after 3 seconds of load time. The goal for AMP-emabled sites is “near instantaneous loading.” Google found that the median load time for AMP sites is 1 second.

More prominent display on Google

Google has confirmed that AMP compatibility is not a rank signal — at least for now. However, Google sometimes uses “carousel” displays to show relevant links in search results. These carousels are made up of AMP-compatible results. This means that while you won’t see a search result boost because your website has AMP compatibility, your website could be featured in these carousels.

How AMP hurts your site

Some content may not display correctly — or at all

AMP achieves fast loading times by reducing the amount of HTML and JavaScript code it loads (if you’d like a more technical description, see How AMP Works) and caching content on its servers. Some of the code reduction also removes functionality from websites. Menus, sidebars, and some other content discovery features don’t load on AMP sites, and some email subscription forms don’t load either.

Lower conversion rates

Losing forms on AMP-enabled pages has an obvious effect on your website. If users don’t see the form to sign up for your email list, for example, they won’t. AMP also blocks many forms of advertising they deem restrictive. This means popups won’t load, so if you use them to convert page visitors, you’ll lose that functionality.

Visitors don’t stay on your site

AMP creates two hurdles for you to keep your visitors on your site. First, because your site’s menu is missing from an AMP page, visitors to your site won’t have anywhere to go next unless you’ve linked to other content within your site. Even more problematic is that AMP adds a large X in the top-left corner of its header, so visitors will likely use that once they’ve finished reading your article to go back to Google instead of staying on your site. Remember that your visitors aren’t actually visiting your site itself — they’re only viewing your content on when they visit an AMP page found through a Google search.

With these pros and cons in mind, is AMP right for you? Let us know in the comments.