Should You Use Google AMP On Your Blog?

Is anyone else concerned about the increasing prevalence of Google AMP webpages across the internet? Let’s face it: Google AMP is bad for bloggers, website designers, and readers alike. You may not realize it now but Google is slowly eliminating our ability to design and control our experience as producers and consumers of unique content on the web. I find this trend extremely concerning. In this post, I will explain why I believe Google AMP is dangerous for all of us.

What is Google AMP?

Google AMP stands for Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages. Ever see websites with the little thunderbolt symbol beside them? Those are AMP enabled websites. Put simply, Google AMP is a plugin websites and blogs can use that basically strips them of their complex HTML code, down to a very basic (but fast!) variation. They say it will speed up your mobile website. Which is true: it will!

The Popular Opinion on AMP

If you ask IT professionals about this plugin, they all “highly recommend using Google AMP.” I mean, of course they do! Google AMP is fantastic for improving SEO. If you use Google AMP on your website, Google readily pushes your website to higher rankings above websites not using Google AMP. In the eyes of Google, a quicker loading website translates to a better user experience. Logical.

If you are a blogger or a website designer and your main objective is to rank higher on Google, AMP may seem like a no brainer! It sounds ingenious! Last year, I didn’t know any better and I installed Google AMP on my own blog. The one you are on right now. Within 24 hours, the grand majority of my most popular posts across the internet were already reindexed as AMP webpages. What a mistake.

The Unrecognized Reality of Google AMP

Google AMP is bad news for everyone. Well, everyone except for Google. Google wins big time if we all use AMP on our blogs. In all honesty, I believe Google AMP has the potential to destroy the internet as we know it.

AMP was pitched from 2015 until now as a way to speed up mobile websites. They say it is, “a new and open framework built entirely out of existing web technologies.” Sure it is. Google AMP is a framework that voluntarily allows Google to obscure your website’s appearance, usurp valuable content you created, and remove any lingering signs of personality, differentiation, or character. If you read blogs and personal websites because you connect with the person behind the website, AMP is nonconductive to your preferred web experience. 

Does AMP Give Google Too Much Control?

They tell you AMP is wonderful because it means a faster web for all of us. They don’t tell you that AMP forces everyone to sacrifice – and sacrifice big time. It isn’t about speed when you think long-term. As with anything that involves large scale customization, you are bound to experience a degree of lock in over time.  The more bloggers there are who use AMP, the more power we give Google to only index and prioritize AMP powered sites. In fact, their massive degree of control on the web is already apparent. For all I know, my blog could be penalized on Google for sharing this information publicly with you.

Google will become similar to Facebook in that it can now show you what “it” as a company believes is relevant to you. Not what actually is relevant to your search.

How Does AMP Impact Bloggers?

You might realize something quite interesting when viewing AMP powered websites. When you look at the address bar of the site you are on, the URL is Google – not the website you’re actually on. Whoa, whoa, whoa there! Thought people were looking at your blog? Nope. They’re on Google’s faster loading copy of your site. You have to look very closely to find the real, original URL.

For a website owner, AMP collects only a fraction of the same data points that Analytics ordinarily gathers. That is a shame for bloggers trying to understanding their audience. Oh and forget custom design, with no Javascript permitted, you can barely do anything fun! Interactive maps like the one I have on my blog get completely wiped away. Anything unique that shows personality or flare: games, widgets, buttons- just forget them. No can do!

How Does AMP Impact Readers?

Don’t you prefer blogs with personality? Don’t you also respect websites that are well designed or in some way unique? Why are we willingly sacrificing all of this when you can have a quick, nice mobile website that isn’t just basic Times New Roman, size 12, black text on a white background. What about credibility? Anyone can make an AMP website and it’ll look no different than, say, the United State’s government’s AMP powered website. What wonderful news for fake news groups.

Google AMP is putting a barrier between bloggers and readers and I’m not happy about it. For as long as I can withstand it, this blog will remain AMP free. I hope Google doesn’t blacklist me for posting this. And if they do, at least I can I say I went down fighting.

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The Rocky Safari

Hello! My name is Rocky and this blog is where I write about the most peculiar things that have happened while wandering around the world. Follow this blog to read about my journey and receive my newest stories as they happen!

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7 Comments

  1. In the name of freedom lawmakers have been slow to corral Google and Facebook and now we have suddenly woken up to fact that the internet is becoming a benign dictatorship. I’m sure moves will be made to place some controls on Facebook, but at the moment Google is getting a free ride.

    Just a few days ago I found out Google + had sold access to my G+ posts to a company called Compute.info, who told me “We are an authorized 3rd party Google+ web app. What you see is
    provided to us directly by Google+ APIs. If you don’t wish you content to be displayed on 3rd party or official web and mobile apps, you need to change your privacy settings to private. Per our agreement with Google, we don’t store user data, so there is nothing for us to remove; however, I can offer to put a hard coded filter so if/when the API provides us content by your handle, our system would just drop it.”
    I’m not a techie, just a chef and blogger who enjoys sharing my creativity with others but I want to keep control of my copyrighted content. I except Google will make money from me in various ways but where my intellectual property is shown should be my choice alone.

    I did get the described filter placed on my G+ pages to keep them off Compute.info but I also had to go through this process twice more because Compute.info seems to have access to both my Tumblr posts and my Tweets. Finding out Google, Tumblr and Twitter are selling access to my content is both galling and frightening and it is time the general public woke up to this march towards Orwellian control of our lives. Just because a web page of my copyrighted photos is not a physical thing like book or magazine should not diminish my control of my property.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Thanks for sharing your story. Sorry that it happened like that for you. It is true, our freedom is continuously being stripped from us. Even recently, with many of the changes being made with Facebook and even in the EU, I doubt anything major will come of it. The new EU laws that passed required websites to include cookie banners (like the one I added on my blog) but it is things like that where I really question the efficacy of our current approach. Do I really need a cookie banner to be displayed on every single website I go to now? Not really. In fact, I’ll quickly become very annoyed with them and I can promise you now in 10 years we’ll look back and see them the same way we view “pop up ads” from the 90s. We need to figure something out FAST.

      Google AMP is quickly becoming widely implemented and it will do nothing but damage the experience for all of us.

    1. The Rocky Safari

      Thank you! As for your point about Twitter, I was not aware of that. I am active on Twitter and just checked. My links were all regular and even if you click on them, they load standard webpages. If a website doesn’t have AMP installed on the backend, I don’t think it is possible for another website to force it to load as an AMP. In case anyone is somehow experiencing this, I appreciate you offering the guidance on how to correct it!

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