Small Publishers Wary of Google’s AMP Service

Accelerated Mobile Pages
 

Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, may be the latest and greatest thing Google believes it has created for the digital publishing world, but not every site owner is on board with the product that was released October 2015.

A year and some change later, small- to medium-sized publishers continue to have a real beef with Google about this seemingly innocuous service.

The Real Problem with AMP

The problem isn’t that AMP isn’t an effective way to get eyeballs on mobile sites, it’s actually quite the contrary.

Instead of long load times and forcing users to sort through search results, AMP news articles are pushed to the beginning of search and fed to a mobile user carousel-style so they can be scrolled through as if each article belonged to the same site. Mobile users are spending more time reading AMP articles, as well.

The issue is that each AMP page is served directly from a Google domain since the best way Google found to optimize these pages was to create a copy and hold it locally. These Google-served pages are up to four times faster, but each displays a Google domain in the address, which many smaller publishers argue hurts their brand advertising efforts. Instead of a reader realizing that news piece was published by a particular site, it can look as if Google is the only one creating the news.

Google’s Thoughts About Mobile Publishing

Google argues that its intent isn’t to obscure original news sources and that it does give publishers a transparent look at how their pages perform.

From clicks to load times and even revenues, site owners can see everything they’d be able to see from a page that was self-hosted. Even so, the fear that they’ll be further lost in the shuffle is strong among small- to medium-sized publishers. News outlets like Slate, Huffington Post and the Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, are thrilled. For these companies, having another way to reach web visitors with the speed of an app is worth trading their domain name for Google’s.

Google has acknowledged there could be issues for smaller publishers recently, telling Search Engine Land that it planned to make some changes in 2017 to make it easier for the little guys to be recognized by visitors. It didn’t elaborate on this plan, but whatever these changes are, they’re well in the works already and should be debuting soon.

 

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