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Should You Use Google AMP With WordPress?

We recently had a question about Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) project from a MetaSlider user. They wanted to know if we supported MetaSlider slideshows in AMP. Our answer was “no”.

MetaSlider is a very fastest WordPress slideshow plugin. We don’t think you need AMP also.

The key reason we don’t support AMP is because Google is winding down it’s support. AMP launched in 2015, but it is now fading away. Google is famous for killing off projects, and it’s looking likely that AMP will be retired soon.

What was the goal of AMP?

Google AMP did have an admirable goals. AMP’s primary goal was to create faster, more optimized web pages for mobile users.

AMP promised to make the web faster thanks to several technical innovations:

  • AMP uses a subset of HTML known as AMP HTML, which includes specific rules and restrictions to enhance performance. It removes certain elements and imposes limitations to ensure a streamlined rendering process.
  • AMP also includes a specialized JavaScript library (AMP JS) that helps manage resource loading, prioritize content rendering, and ensure that third-party content does not hinder page performance.
  • AMP pages often leverage the Google AMP Cache, a global Content Delivery Network (CDN) that stores and serves cached versions of AMP pages. This helps reduce latency and further accelerates page loading times.

It’s worth nothing that AMP is also open source, so it technically shared some of the same philosophy as WordPress. The AMP code is available on Github.

Why did AMP fail to meet its goals?

If you want a detailed background of how and why AMP failed, the team at Verge have a detailed article. Here is a quote from their post:

In 2023, AMP seems to have faded away. Most publishers have started dropping support, and even Google doesn’t seem to care much anymore … AMP couldn’t do very much. It didn’t support comments or paywalls, and the restrictions on JavaScript meant publishers couldn’t bring in third-party analytics or advertising. Interactive elements, even simple things like tables and charts, mostly didn’t work. AMP, it turned out, wasn’t even that fast. Multiple publishers ran internal tests and found they were able to make pages that loaded more quickly than AMP pages.

The two promised advantages of AMP were speed and improved search engine optimization. Our experience has been the same as Verge: you don’t need AMP to have a fast site. And when it comes to search engine optimization, even Google isn’t promising results. Here is a quote from an official Google post:

While AMP itself isn’t a ranking factor, speed is a ranking factor for Google Search. Google Search applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page.

Torque Magazine is published by WPEngine, and they wrote an overview of AMP last year. Here’s their conclusion:

If you’re like many WordPress site owners, you may have been hesitant to adopt Google AMP since the beginning. Fortunately, this project is no longer as important as it once was. If you were on the fence about implementing AMP, Google’s latest updates may dissuade you from using the project’s components on your website.

Finally, if you go to the official AMP website at https://amp.dev, there are not many signs of life.

  • There have been no news articles or blog posts for 18 months.
  • The main menu is still advertising a conference from 2020.
  • The project’s roadmap ended in Q3 2022.

There are some signs of life on the project’s Github account. And the AMP WordPress plugin has two releases in the last year. But the plugin was getting regular updates until June 2022 and those have stopped.

Overall, the AMP project is showing few signs of life.

So, for these reasons, we don’t officially support AMP here at MetaSlider. Our advice is to aim to make your site as fast as possible without using AMP.

Official AMP website

Reasons not to use Google AMP

AMP does offers some benefits for website performance on mobile devices; but the disadvantages are significant. Here are some problems to keep in mind, in addition to the quotes we shared earlier:

  1. Loss of control and branding: Implementing AMP often requires making significant changes to the website’s design and layout. This can result in a loss of control over the website’s branding and user experience, as AMP enforces a standardized format and restricts the design elements you can use.
  2. Limited monetization options: AMP has limitations when it comes to monetization options for publishers. While Google has made efforts to provide ad support AMP pages, the available ad formats and customization options are more limited. Your best option for ads on AMP is, not surprisingly, Google’s own ad network.
  3. Dependency on Google: AMP is a project initiated and largely controlled by Google. While it aims to improve the mobile web experience, it does consolidate at lot of power with Google. By adopting AMP, websites become more reliant on Google’s infrastructure and technology.
  4. Complicated implementation: Implementing AMP can be complex and time-consuming. It requires creating a WordPress plugin and checking the compatibility of all the plugins on your site.
  5. Potential SEO drawbacks: There have been cases where websites implementing AMP have experienced a drop in organic search traffic. This could be due to factors like the cannibalization of regular web page URLs by AMP versions or changes in how Google ranks and displays AMP content.

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