Google announced on Tuesday that it’s introducing AMP landing pages intro its growing system of pages and ads powered by the technology. The search giant claims it has pages loading in under a second with its “lightening-fast” code and now it wants to open up these this speed to paid advertisers via their landing pages.

The feature is only being tested in beta for now and you can sign up to participate for the test, here – but is that really the way to go?

Faster landing pages from Google

Page loading times are important, there’s no doubt about that, and AMP promises to cut them down to a minimum. There’s also the “not-a-ranking-boost” factor that your content suddenly jumps up to the AMP section of the SERPs, sitting at the top of the page for relevant results.

So it’s no surprise to hear Google claim more than 2 billion AMP pages have apparently been published so far from 900,000 different domains.

Now Google thinks AMP landing pages are the next obvious step, cutting down on the loading times between ad clicks and traffic getting to see your page. This all sounds great, but it comes at the expense of giving your pages to Google for it to host on its own CDN. You’re also surrendering to Google’s requirements to qualify for AMP, which limits your control over how your landing pages look and operate.

Proceed with caution.

AMP is a worrying concept

Google’s AMP project has garnered a lot of attention: some of it critical, but most of it simply reading from the Google script. Here are some things that conveniently get overlooked in most discussions about AMP:

 

  • You hand your content over to Google
  • You don’t get the traffic your own content earns
  • You lose all design and branding control over your pages
  • You lose the ability to collect third-party data
  • Google’s AMP requirements do not meet standardised best practices
  • Google makes it very difficult to leave AMP

 

Now, without going into conspiracy-type theories about Google trying to take over the web, none of the things on that list sound particularly appealing. Most importantly, you can actually build faster pages than AMP by developing your own lightweight pages yourself.

Google chucks a bunch of JavaScript code into AMP, which prevents it from being anywhere near as fast as the technology could be. So don’t let anyone tell you this is about page loading times. This is about advertising, data collection and keeping users in the Google loop.

AMP for landing pages

The negative aspects to AMP listed in the last section are worrying enough when it comes to your blog posts and other published content, but the notion of AMP landing pages is even more concerning.

Of course, we’re yet to see exactly how Google implements AMP into the AdWords journey, so this is something we’ll have to come back to again in the near future. But the idea of Google limiting your design and branding freedom for something as important as landing pages is about as counterintuitive as it gets.

And if Google makes it as difficult to actually visit your site as it has with AMP in organic search results, this will only add to the walled garden we’re seeing inside Google’s various platforms. When most of your leads are generated from published content and landing pages, handing them over to Google doesn’t sound like the smartest idea.

Every AMP page has the same stale, Google look to them. They’re all hosted on Google’s CND and they all conform to the guidelines set out by the search/advertising giant. The problem is Google shouldn’t dictate how any of your pages look or operate – and it certainly doesn’t need to claim ownership of your pages to provide an intuitive search experience.

If you’ve seen good results from using AMP over the last year or so, that’s fair enough. We haven’t seen anything to suggest performance improves enough to warrant the move and faster pages can certainly be built without using AMP. Meanwhile, if you’re tempted by the notion of AMP, do your homework first. Signing up is a big commitment – one that’s not easy to get out of at a later date – and it means giving up a lot more than you might realise.

If you have any thoughts or concerns about AMP we’d really like to hear from you. Get in touch via social media or visit our contact page for other options.