How can I solve organic conversions quickly

AMP - Conversion Killer or Traffic Booster?

A brief overview

When the Google AMP officially started in 2016, the new websites with the charging turbo generated a lot of attention. Publishers and news sites around the world have been playing their content as AMP since then. But if you look at the current statistics on AMP sites, you see a comparatively sobering picture. According to figures from silimartech, there should be just under 340,000 websites worldwide that use AMP. In Germany the number is around 30,000. Given that there are almost a billion websites worldwide, the proportion of AMP pages is just under 0.03 percent.

Illustration 1: AMP websites worldwide according to similartech. Status: 03/2019

Theory

It is a fact that internet users love fast websites. A fast webshop triggers a whole chain reaction that leads to potentially more conversions: A user comes across a fast loading shop. He appreciates the short loading times and does not jump off. This means that there is a chance of a longer retention period, which in turn increases the likelihood that the user will convert.

If you look at the speed factor alone, AMP pages are predestined for one perfect shopping experience be.

The studies

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, in the “E-Commerce” section, there are only two “Success Stories” that refer to the increase in conversion rates after the implementation of AMP. Both case studies, however, date from 2017. The same applies to the wego.com success story. According to the AMP project, the flight retailer from the USA was able to increase its conversion rates by 95 percent, i.e. almost double its conversions through the use of AMP. An extensive study initiated by Google has shown how companies could use AMP to reduce costs and increase sales or conversions. However, no new case study on the subject 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 worked with WompMobile for data acquisition.

According to the study, the examined websites with AMP generated a total of 27.1 percent more organic traffic and 33.8 percent more impressions in the SERPs. The CTR also increased by 15.3 percent. 19 ecommerce websites were among the 26 domains. The e-commerce websites even achieved 32.1 percent more organic traffic and generated 42.16 percent more impressions.

In the further course of the investigation, Eric Enge was able to determine an increase in visibility in the SERPs, although AMP is not one of the ranking factors. However, by using AMP, factors such as a higher CTR and a lower bounce rate can have a positive effect on rankings.

Interesting isthat not all examined domains could improve their numbers. Possible causes can be that the use of AMP cannot improve a site that is already performing poorly. Eric Enge also sees seasonal fluctuations and the dynamics of the SERPs as further reasons why some websites could not perform better with AMP.

What the study owes, however, is an evaluation of whether and to what extent AMP conversions improve or worsen.

At this point, Nathan Kontny from Rockstar Coders becomes clearer. He says conversions have dropped 70 percent since he launched AMP websites on his project. He also emphasizes the high speed of the AMP pages, but sees a major shortcoming, especially in the restricted design. He also criticizes, for example, that when calling up AMP pages, the address bar reads google.com and not the address of the target page.

Interim conclusion

Not only webmasters and SEOs, but also case studies about AMP seem to be divided when it comes to AMP and conversions. The bandwidth ranges from 94 percent more to 70 percent fewer conversions. Given this data, it is difficult for everyone involved to find a basis for making decisions about their own shop or website. In order to ultimately find out whether AMP pages can become a traffic booster for your site, you can do your own tests.

Basically, of course:

If your website has only performed moderately so far, it won't get any better with AMP.

If you have had high design standards for your web projects so far, you should lower your standards a bit at AMP. For the sake of simplicity and in favor of a shorter loading time, the framework only offers limited options for web designers.

Also on AMP pages excellent content estimated. It is not enough to just offer a super fast website. Without content tailored to your users, the best performance will not contribute to more conversions.

One more thing ...

We would of course not leave you alone with an article about the advantages and disadvantages of AMP without solutions. That's why we're trying to show you in which specific cases AMP can actually become a traffic booster, when AMP tends to kill conversions and when you should (still) rely on other options.

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

AMP pages are Internet pages designed for speed and high usability. To ensure this high speed, AMPs are delivered with very lean HTML code. Large CSS files fall by the wayside. JavaScript can also only be integrated if it is loaded asynchronously. Applications such as filters or configurators based on JS can hardly be used or only to a limited extent. If your online shop has so far mainly distinguished itself through these filter functions, AMP can become a conversion killer. Your users will then benefit from a high loading speed, but have to make major compromises in terms of convenience.

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

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

Due to the strong reduction in the source code in combination with limited JS options, longer and complex forms to fill out are rather restrictedly suitable for AMP. Since AMP is primarily geared towards mobile Internet use, you should be sparing 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 sites. Accordingly, AMPs tend not to become “lead killer”. You would have to test for yourself whether the leads are favored by the high loading speed and the reduction to the essentials through AMP.

• I have an affiliate project and would like to monetize the page by showing Google Ads.

Since Google is significantly involved in the spread of AMP, it stands to reason that the technology is also very well designed for the insertion of advertising blocks. However, so that you can also integrate Google AdSense on your AMP, you have to make sure that the ad units are AMP-compatible. For example, Google recommends on this page that the ad units should be responsive. In addition, you have to integrate the special AMP script on all AMP pages where ad units are to be populated with Google Ads. For CMS such as WordPress, there are already separate plugins for integrating AdSense on AMP pages. As usual with WordPress sites, it can be worthwhile to simply try out different versions.

Conclusion: It can be very useful to work with AMP, especially when it comes to advice or practical instructions and recipes. After all, users want to find a solution for these issues quickly. The enormous speed of the AMP can then favor conversions by clicking on affiliate links.

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

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

Conclusion: In order to appear in the mobile Google News search, your website must of course meet other requirements than offer an AMP version. For example, you need to submit your website to the Google News Publisher Center. If it then fulfills the technical and content-related news guidelines for Google and is AMP-optimized, it can appear in the news carousel on smartphones.

• I have a rather slow website and I want to make it faster with AMP.

If you offer an AMP version of your website, this version will be faster if only because AMPs are always based on the same principle: their file sizes are limited to a maximum value, JavaScript is loaded asynchronously and HTML loads via the Google Content Delivery Network. If your website is currently very slow, it is mostly structural problems and / or files that are too large. That's why you shouldn't rely on AMP alone, but optimize your loading time in general. Finally, there are also users who access a different version of your website via desktop or tablet. And their user experience should also be high.

Conclusion: You can at least make the mobile version of your website faster with AMP. But you shouldn't use AMP to cover up fundamental performance weaknesses.

• My corporate design relies on unusual colors and shapes that want to be found on my website.

AMP are built very simply. You have the option of changing the color of the background and fonts. You can also include a logo. AMPs are not made for complex web design. If you want to bind more customers with your corporate design and you are hoping for branding effects with the high usability, these are limited due to the rather schematic structure of the pages.

Conclusion: AMPs are not (yet) created for very specific web design. In this case, you should try to further optimize your responsive website so that it is also faster.

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

Due to the enormous reduction in JS, HTML, online tools are rather unsuitable for AMP. This also applies against the background that JavaScript is loaded asynchronously anyway and the amount of data that can be retrieved is limited anyway due to the Google CDN retrieval.

Conclusion: If you offer an online tool, AMP is more of a conversion killer, because you cannot implement the tool with an AMP page. Instead, try more sensible alternatives such as progressive web apps or have a stand-alone mobile app developed.

• My website relies primarily on user-generated content.

If your website lives from comments, uploaded user contributions or extensive discussions among users, AMP is more of a hindrance. Due to the restriction to a few functions, user-generated content is not possible. If you have been using social plugins so far, you should make sure that the performance of your previous page does not suffer.

Conclusion: User-generated content and AMP are not really friends yet. In this case, it is better to check how you can further optimize your mobile website for the benefit of your users.

So, those were our comments on when AMP can become a booster or a killer. How is it with you? What is your experience with AMP and conversions? Would you use AMP for your online shop? We look forward to your comment!