Google AMP – Just Another Fad or the Future of Mobile Surfing
Google has been up to a lot lately. While we continue to wait for their driver-less car, we are being treated to a number of moonshots: Google Home, Allo, Duo, Virtual Reality platform, and Android Instant among others. Whereas some of the projects are already hogging the spotlight, others are yet designed and tested in secrecy. Last year they launched Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project.
Let me explain. AMP is a new Google initiative meant to help web developers build better, more user- friendly mobile pages. The project has introduced a new set of “standard” rules for building web pages and content for mobile devices, with the main aim being the creation of ads and websites that are consistently fast and high performing across all media devices and distribution platforms.
Ever since AMP was launched, that’s February last year, it has been some big news, especially in the world of SEO. For various reasons, the speed for instance, AMP websites and pages have taken over ranking, often come up first in Google search results. Despite the thrill it has created, some webmasters are treating it with contempt. Is it here to stay or is it another fad? That’s the question.
Since its launch last year, some 1.5B pages have been developed using the new set of rules. There are over 100 Google AMP analytics as well that have been developed within this while. To this end there is some promise of a future. That it is an open source initiative makes it good for all. Web publishers and advertisers have a choice how to present their content and what technologies to use.
The second concept above is however casting more doubt over the future of AMP than it is shining light upon it. Generally, it is causing confusion among web content consumers and also stirring a backlash among web content publishers. The current URLs are said to be a mess. They all link back to Google, beginning with some form of http://google.com/amp/...page/ and this makes sharing difficult.
A number of issues have also been raised about how Google tracks and ranks websites using the AMP protocol. For instance, someone visiting a page for the first time may be reported as four different people when accessing the AMP pages, if s/he navigates from the AMP page to the regular page that is likely reported as a new session thus making bounce rates seem higher and page views lower.
The other concern is that when a visitor navigates from an AMP page of a website to the regular page of the same website, s/he is reported as coming from referral traffic rather than search traffic. The last concern is that often AMP URLs redirect visitors to regular sites as temporary redirects, not permanent and that has an impact on bookmarking. It's safe therefore to conclude that with these kind of problems Google seems to be fumbling and that AMP would probably end up as a fad.