Moving on from AMP

99park—TwoCee

Illustration by Greg Storey

Many readers will be familiar with AMP, Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages project. It’s a front-end framework that allows Google to recognize that a site is free from obnoxious UX elements like pop-ups, full-screen ads or excessive loads of CSS and JavaScript. In exchange for abiding by the AMP guidelines, Google has been rewarding sites in three primary ways:

  1. Preferred placement in the search result carousel.
  2. A little gray lightning bolt logo near the search result, assuring users that it is in fact an AMP page.
  3. A zero-latency page load, as it is pre-loaded and served from Google’s CDN—also known as Signed Exchange.

Many web observers object to the AMP project, seeing it as a threat to diverse technology on the internet. It is hard for new ideas to thrive if they have to abide by Google standards in order for anyone to find them.

Unpopular opinion: I happen to really like the AMP project. As a developer, it’s a fun and rewarding framework to use. As a web user, I absolutely prefer to click on AMP search results, because I know I won’t be bombarded by subscription overlays, promotional videos and the like.

But none of that matters anymore.

AMP is mostly going away

Although the AMP project itself is not going away, the motivation for anyone to use it is. Over the past few months, Google has announced plans to de-incentive AMP in three important ways:

  1. No more preferred placement in the search result carousel.
  2. No more lightning bolt icons.
  3. AMP will no longer be a requirement for doing Signed Exchange. Non-AMP websites will be able to implement it.

And with that, the time has come: LexBlog is eliminating AMP support from our platform.

Out with AMP

Because our normal front-end templates mostly resemble our AMP front-end templates, this change will not impact site appearance much. And because our sites are already benefiting from our unique integration between WP Engine and CloudFlare, they will still be quite fast when loaded from search results. We will also dedicate a research block to supporting Signed Exchange without using AMP.

There is no need to contact LexBlog or make any changes yourself, in support of this change. It will occur automatically within the next few weeks. Also, there will be zero downtime associated with this change.

All of your AMP pages will automatically redirect to their non-AMP version.

In with CWV

If we were able to totally eliminate an acronym from our lives with no strings attached, this wouldn’t be web development. The SEO juice that Google has been pouring into AMP sites will be used to reward sites with good CWV (Google Core Web Vitals) scores.

The CWV are a set of measurements, developed by Google, to determine how user-friendly a site is for actual human users. They stand in opposition to more traditional metrics like page load size, which might look statistically significant to a machine, but might not impact users as much.

Here at LexBlog, we have been researching and improving CWV scores since late 2020. All blogs on our core platform are already in position to benefit from the AMP/CWV shift in SEO priority.

A convenient way to review CWV on any website is through Google’s excellent Lighthouse tool:

Next Steps

I expect most blogs on our network to see their CWV scores improve, because our near-term roadmap is leading us toward simpler front-ends:

  • We’ll be reducing or eliminating comments.
  • We’re considering reducing the usage of contact forms.
  • Wrigley has recently become available and offers a simpler front-end than our typical options-driven product.
  • Removing AMP support actually improves our CWV scores, because we don’t have to load Google’s AMP JavaScript file.

In the words of Antoine de St. Exupery:

Created by potrace 1.16, written by Peter Selinger 2001-2019 quote-left

A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.

Scott is a WordPress theme and plugin developer with a penchant for connecting the dots between services like MailChimp, Cloudflare, and GoDaddy. He has been published in A List Apart and CSS-Tricks.

Photo of Scott Fennell
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