Is AMP Becoming Obsolete?
Here in the SEO world, we all heard about Accelerated Mobile Pages (or AMP) when it launched in early 2016, with quite a bit of fanfare. Introduced by Google, its aim was to improve mobile web performance using a new version of HTML: AMP HTML.
Good site speed and performance is essential to not only ranking well, but attaining and retaining higher traffic–making AMP a highly anticipated standard at the time of its implementation.
AMP is impressive in that it is able to size resources statically, manage CSS, minimize style recalculations, and the list goes on. But most critically, it is pre-rendering that seems to be the key to AMP’s highly-extolled page speeds. All told, AMP is a significant achievement in mobile development, and has been an important tool for those SEOs looking to improve mobile page speed & overall page speed (key organic ranking factors for Google).
So why does it appear that AMP is becoming obsolete?
The short answer is this: nearly everything that AMP can do can be done without it, and without cutting out crucial pieces of infrastructure that marketers use to generate brand messages. Not to mention that most of the web does not load over HTTP/2, which AMP does.
The truth is, you can improve your website’s loading speed without AMP, and with the same amount of effort. It’s also better to fix the root issues for consistently faster and better site performance. AMP is kind of like sticking a band aid on a serious wound: it would be much better to stitch it up and apply antiseptic through structural HTML improvements.
Unless you are a news site, failing to adopt AMP will not result in a drop in your organic rankings, unless your overall site performance is rotten—in that case, Google will swat your rankings down like bad fruit falling from a tree.
Another truth is that there is an ongoing debate as to whether AMP pages truly are faster, or if they just seem faster, which can make a difference to visitors. Recent studies have shown that AMP pages can be slower than non-AMP pages, and by a lot. Most pages only seem to see a one second difference, if any, in loading speed, with one test showing a non-AMP mobile site laoding faster than its younger AMP sibling. Sibling rivalries can get ugly, and right now AMP and non-AMP sites are in a weird tie.
Let’s check the score board:
No one knows. Cue the first ring of the death knell for Google’s AMP: the blurry uncertainty that ensues when SEO junkies and web developers alike discuss AMP. That uncertainly isn’t clearing up any time soon.
But there’s another toll of the bell coming for AMP: the possible development of policy changes floating around the web world. Primarily: Feature Policy.
One would only have to poke at a few weak spots to fatally wound AMP. If we were to extend the prerender spec, then, voila! More than one page allowed, and a greatly reduced need for AMP HTML. Although that idea isn’t necessarily without obstacles, it would be like poking a balloon with a needle: AMP would be instantly deflated, awkward noise and all.
Is the AMP balloon deflating? Maybe not at present, but sharp objects might be coming for it. Our SEO & Web Dev teams are here to answer your questions about maximizing mobile page speed. Let us know if we can help!