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AMP pages – traffic booster or conversion killer?

AMP pages are designed to improve the performance of websites, but are they suitable for all purposes, including e-commerce? In this article, we help you find out whether AMP is right for your website.


When Google launched AMP officially in 2016, these new websites attracted a lot of attention. Since then, publishers and news sites worldwide have been implementing AMP on their websites. But, if you look at the current statistics on AMP sites, you don’t see an overly positive picture. According to silimartech figures, just under 340,000 websites worldwide use AMP - under 0.03 percent of the almost one billion websites worldwide.

AMP-1 why use amp amp pages Accelerated Mobile Pages

Figure 1: AMP websites worldwide according to Similartech (March 2019)

We know that users love fast websites. Users landing on fast websites are much more likely to convert. They spend more time on the page, increasing the probability of converting. As AMP helps improve the page speed of a website, you might think that AMPs could create the perfect shopping experience.

The tests

However, in practice, there are hardly any studies or tests that prove whether the AMP framework is suitable for e-commerce websites. On the homepage of the AMP project, there are only two success stories for e-commerce businesses, both regarding the increase in conversions after the implementation of AMP. However, both case studies are from 2017. The same applies to wego.com’s success story. According to the AMP project, the USA travel agent was able to increase its conversion rates by 95 percent, thereby almost doubling its conversions through the use of AMP. An extensive study initiated by Google has shown how companies using AMP have been able to reduce costs and increase revenues or conversions. However, no new case study on the topic has been published on the AMP website for almost two years.

In February 2019, Eric Enge presented a study by Perficient Digital (formerly Stone Temple). It analyzed 26 domains with over nine million AMP pages 30 days before and 30 days after the implementation of AMP. Perficient Digital collaborated with WompMobile for data collection.

According to the study, the websites with AMP that were examined generated 27.1 percent more organic traffic and 33.8 percent more impressions in the SERPs than those without AMP. The CTR was also 15.3 percent higher. The 26 domains included 19 e-commerce websites. The e-commerce websites even achieved 32.1 percent more organic traffic and were able to generate 42.16 percent more impressions.

Eric Enge was therefore able to determine an increase in visibility in the SERPs, although AMP has not officially been named by Google as a ranking factor. He could therefore conclude that the use of AMP, as well as factors such as higher CTR and a lower bounce rate, can have a positive effect on rankings.

Interestingly, not all domains in the test were able to improve their numbers, particularly for sites that were previously performing poorly. Eric Enge also believes that seasonal fluctuations in the SERPs could be a further reason why some websites could not perform better with AMP.

What the study does not do, however, is to evaluate whether and to what extent AMP conversions are improved or worsened.

Nathan Kontny from Rockstar Coders helps to clarify this. He states that conversions have dropped by 70 percent since the introduction of AMP websites in his project. He also points out the high speed of the AMP sites, but sees a big shortcoming in the limited design. He also criticizes, for example, the fact that the address line of an AMP page contains google.com and not the address of the landing page.

So how do you know whether or not to use AMP pages on your website?

There are many different opinions about the impact of AMP on conversions - webmasters, SEOs and case studies about AMP don’t show one clear conclusion. Across the board, there is a range of between 70 and 94%. In view of this, it’s difficult for webmasters to decide whether to implement AMP in their own web shops. You can carry out you own tests to work out whether AMP will become a traffic booster for your site.

If your website has only performed moderately so far, AMP will most likely not improve it. Also, if you have ambitious plans for your website design, this will not be possible with AMP. For reasons of simplification and shorter loading times, the framework offers only limited possibilities for web designers.

AMP pages should also have excellent content. It’s not enough to offer just a fast website. Without content tailored to your users, even the fastest page speed will not lead to more conversions.

Use cases

Of course we’re not just going to list the advantages and disadvantages of AMP without offering a solution. Here we will try and show you some concrete cases where AMP really can become a traffic booster, where it will be a conversion killer, and where you should rely on other possibilities.

• I run an online shop with different features such as individual configurators or other individually programmed tools.

AMP pages are websites designed for speed and high usability. To ensure this high speed, AMP is delivered with very slim HTML code. Large CSS files don’t work with AMP, and JavaScript can only be integrated if it is loaded asynchronously. Applications such as filters or configurators that are based on JS are hardly or only partially usable as a result. If your online shop uses JavaScript for filter functions, AMP can become a conversion killer. Users will benefit from a faster page, but won’t have such an easy-to-use website.

Conclusion: AMP for e-commerce websites are therefore only conceivable if you offer products in only one variant without additional options. These are clicked on, placed in the shopping basket, and purchased.

• I want my website to generate leads through registration forms.

Due to the strong reduction of the source code in combination with limited JS possibilities, longer and complex forms for filling are not suitable for AMP, or only in a limited form. Since AMP is mainly designed for mobile internet use, you should be economical with input forms anyway and keep them as simple as possible.

Conclusion: There is nothing to be said against the use of simple registration forms on AMP pages. AMP will therefore tend not to become the "lead killer". Whether the leads are favored by the high loading speed and the reduction to the essentials by AMP, you would have to test yourself.

• I have an affiliate project and would like to monetize the site with Google Ads.

As Google is a major player in the spread of AMP, of course its technology is well designed for inserting advertising blocks. To be able to integrate Google AdSense on AMP pages, the ad units have to be AMP-compatible. For example, Google recommends that the ad units be responsive. You should also include the AMP script on all AMP pages where ad units should be populated with Google Ads. For CMS like WordPress there are many plugins for the integration of AdSense on AMP pages. As usual with WordPress pages, it can be worthwhile to simply try out different versions.

Conclusion: For topics where users want a quick solution, for example guidebooks, practical how-to instructions, or recipes, it can be useful to use AMP.

• I run a news website and would like to appear in the news carousel in the Google search.

If you want to appear with your news on mobile websites in the news carousel of Google SERPs, AMP is one of the requirements. In 2016, Dave Brebis, Vice President of Engineering at Google, announced at SMX West that only AMP pages would appear on the mobile news carousel.

Conclusion: In order to appear in the mobile Google News search, of course there are other requirements your website has to fulfill, not just offering an AMP version. For example, you need to submit your website to the Google News Publisher Center. If it then meets the technical and content news guidelines for Google and is AMP-optimized, it can appear in the news carousel on smartphones.

• My website is quite slow and I want to make it faster with AMP.

If you offer an AMP version of your website, this version will be faster because AMP is always based on the same principle: file sizes are limited to a maximum value, JavaScript loads asynchronously, and HTML loads via the Google Content Delivery Network. However, if your website is currently very slow, this will most likely be due to structural problems and/or files that are too large. Therefore, you should not rely solely on AMP, but generally optimize your loading time. Don’t forget about your users who access your website via desktop or tablet - they should also have a good user experience.

Conclusion: AMP can help you speed up the mobile version of your website, but AMP won’t solve your performance issues.

• My corporate design is based on unusual colors and shapes that should be visible on my website.

AMP are very simply built. You can change the color of background and fonts, and you can embed a logo. However, AMP pages are not designed for elaborate web design. If you want to bind more customers with your corporate design and hope for branding effects with the high usability, these are limited with AMP.

Conclusion: AMP are not (yet) created for a very specific web design. In this case, the best option would be to further optimize your responsive website to make it faster.

• I offer online services such as an online SEO tool or other web services.

Online tools are unsuitable for AMP largely due to the reduction of JavaScript. The amount of data that can be loaded is limited because of the Google CDN retrieval, and because JavaScript is loaded asynchronously.

Conclusion: If you offer an online tool, AMP is a conversion killer, because you can't view the tool with an AMP page. Try alternatives such as Progressive Web Apps or develop your own mobile app.

• My website relies mainly on user-generated content.

If your website is reliant on user generated content - comments, uploaded posts or extensive discussions among users, AMP can be a hindrance. Functions are restricted, making user-generated content difficult. If you have been using social plugins, you should make sure that the performance of your site does not suffer.

Conclusion: User-Generated-Content and AMP are not yet compatible. In this case, check how you can further optimize your mobile website for the benefit of your users.

Hopefully this has helped you decide whether AMP is best for your website or not. It can be very beneficial in some cases, helping you to increase the performance of your mobile website. However, in other cases, such as sites with lots of JavaScript, AMP is not suitable. It’s also important to bear in mind that AMP can enhance a well-performing site, but it will not cover or solve performance issues.

If AMP is the right decision for your website, in this guide we explain how you can set up and test your AMP pages.

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Published on May 24, 2019 by Philipp Roos