Reportedly, Google wants all the web developers to adopt the AMP approach for their websites. The AMP project was announced by Google on October 7, 2015 and AMP pages first became available to web users in February 2016.
Nowadays, mobile search is getting more popular as compared to desktop search. It is important for web pages to appear in Google’s mobile search results, and this is why AMP is not optional for web publishers. Without AMP, a publisher’s articles will be extremely unlikely to appear in the Top Stories carousel on mobile search in Google.
What is AMP?
AMP is short for Accelerated Mobile Pages. As the name suggests, this open-source project aims to provide a straightforward way to create web pages that are compelling, smooth, and load near instantaneously for users.
AMP consists of three components:
- AMP HTML: This component consists of regular HTML with some custom AMP properties.
- AMP JS: This component is responsible for fast rendering of your page. It implements all of AMP’s best performance practices, manages resource loading, and provides the custom tags.
- AMP Cache: It is used to serve cached AMP HTML pages. It is a proxy-based content delivery network for delivering all valid AMP documents.
Why are web developers annoyed with AMP?
This is the part which infuriates developers, because they have to follow the rules set by Google. Developing a website in itself is a difficult job and on top of that AMP adds the extra burden of creating separate AMP versions of articles.
Following are some of the rules that AMP pages need to follow:
- Resources such as images, ads, or iframes should mention their size in the HTML to enable AMP to determine each element’s size and position before resources are downloaded.
- CSS must be inline and the upper limit for the size of inline style sheet is 50 kilobytes.
- All resource downloads are controlled by AMP. It optimizes downloads so that the currently most important resources are downloaded first and prefetches lazy-loaded resources.
- Web font optimization should be kept in mind as web fonts are super large.
Google Search Console checks your AMP pages and shares feedback stating what all improvements you can make to better align it with the restrictions set by Google. It basically wants full equivalency between the regular website and the AMP versions of the pages.
It is not very easy to follow these restrictive rules. Many developers feel they have to do all the work they already put in to build the normal version of the site all over again specifically for the AMP version. Instead of creating two different versions, developers would be forced to build the whole site in AMP.
Why Google wants web developers to accept AMP?
It’s very rare to find websites that look good, have great performance, and fully follow the web standards. This becomes a huge challenge for search engines. Google’s crawlers and indexers have to process a lot of junk to find and index content on the web. Website built entirely in AMP are fast to load, fast to crawl, easy to understand, and in short makes Google’s life so much easier.
One redditor stated in a long discussion thread, that the main problem is not “AMP” itself, but “Google treating it special” is.
“The problems you’re describing I believe are problems with implementation not AMP itself. The only issue I really have with AMP is actually that Google treats it special. If you treat it like a web framework where you write slightly different html and get lazy loading and tons of integrations as built in components for free, it’s actually quite nice both for the user and for the programmer. The problems are that people want to put in all their normal functionality, continue trying to game SEO and ad revenue, and that Google wants to serve it themselves. If Google stopped trying to integrate AMP directly into their search results/CDN system, I’d be much more willing to support and use it.
AMP itself is basically just a predefined set of web components and a limitation to not use taxing JS. You can even be partially AMP compliant and still leverage all the benefits with none of the negatives (including the fact that Google won’t host it if you aren’t fully compliant, I believe).”
To know more on why Google wants developers to embrace AMP, read this article: Google AMP Can Go To Hell. If you are interested in reading about how AMP makes content loading quicker, check out this article: What is Google AMP and how does it work?.