The Genesis 3.0 update contains AMP support in the core. And it is being billed as a great way to speed up the mobile version of your site.
And it does.
But are you ready to pay the revenue-dropping price for how it does that?
See what you need to know about AMP and why I advise my clients not to use it.
What is AMP?
AMP is an acronym for Accelerated Mobile Pages.
It’s Google’s me-too reply to Facebook launching Instant Articles.
Like way too many Google products, it’s hard to implement correctly, even with a plugin. It has strict guidelines for the formatting or your content.
Therefore, it has had low adoption rate among most WordPress site owners, especially bloggers.
But that’s not the biggest reason not to use it.
It’s All About Mobile-First Indexing
The Accelerated part of AMP is the beauty and bane of it.
Google wants to serve up fast sites on mobile.
So, it developed a way to make an AMP version of all your site’s posts.
It even gave them their own URL.
Every one of your post permalinks will have an –amp extension added to it.
And those are the ones that qualify to be showcased in the AMP carousel at the top of Google mobile SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages).
How AMP Makes Sites Fast
Basically, it strips your content down to the bare essentials.
The AMP version retains the post:
- Featured image
- Main body of content
Your site logo is also retained.
Here’s what is stripped out:
- Site navigation
- Sidebar/footer/other widgets
- Social share and follow
AMP drops all of your money makers, conversion, and engagement elements!
To be clear, you can run ads – as long as they are delivered from Google Ad partners.
But they will be minimalized, at best, meaning one or two will display.
The whole point is to make the page load fast.
And all those conversion things just slow it down, in Google’s opinion.
Severe Drop in Revenue
Against my advice, one of my top clients decided to try AMP via a WordPress plugin.
Her income is derived from running ads on her site.
Her traffic increased slightly.
But within 2 weeks her revenue dropped lower than whale poop.
She could not get AMP off her site fast enough.
Massive 404s When You Delete AMP
Recall that AMP makes another version of all your posts and assigns them a new permalink with an –amp extension.
When you remove AMP, every post on your site will throw a 404 due to suddenly missing –amp links that Googlebots were super quick to index.
I hope you like getting warning emails from Google Search Console.
And I hope you like it taking 6-9 months for Google to stop checking for those missing links and stop presenting them to you as an issue in Search Console.
Who Uses AMP?
The most successful users of AMP are news sites.
When a big story hits, they want to be first to press and get featured at the top of Google for that search term.
AMP gets them there.
They don’t care about loss of revenue on those breaking news story posts.
They care about the prestige of being the most authoritative source that you may want to come back to over and over, and maybe even get a subscription to.
They’ll show you the ads on the follow up stories about that news event.
Basically, getting their posts featured in the AMP carousel at the top of Google is free ad placement for them.
Who Should Not Use AMP
Bloggers, especially those who run ads and/or affiliate marketers who depend on optins to grow their list.
We need folks to visit our site and see our conversion points.
That’s how we get more followers and make money.
Having all of those conversion points stripped out is not worth the loss of revenue as we are not likely to get into the Google AMP carousel anyway.
Genesis and AMP
As I mentioned at the top of the post, Genesis now includes native support for AMP in the 3.0 release.
Fine. I’m sure WordPress news sites will be elated that their developer will have an easier time incorporating AMP sans a plugin.
As far as I can tell, there are no AMP related elements turned on by default that would affect Genesis users.
In other words, Genesis won’t suddenly start adding –amp extensions to your permalinks.
You have to hook into that new code in the core to make use of it.
It’s Not About Speed. It’s About Money.
So, the next time you read a post about how much AMP speeds up your site, look to see if they also talk about how much money you’ll lose in doing it.
And tell all of your blogger buddies about this.
Don’t let them fall victim to those half-truths about what AMP will do to your site. Tell them the whole story.
And tell your blogger buddies about BlogAid.
You get the straight dope here to keep your site successful and avoid expensive pitfalls.