The greatest enemy of AMP is the company that designed it. – S
The vast universe of WordPress bloggers are installing the AMP plugin as another means of making it easier for people to find their content online. But is AMP itself really serving its purpose? Or is it self-serving as a way of extracting content from individual bloggers? Perhaps there’s something more nefarious behind this simple protocol. Read on if you want to know more.
First and foremost: What the hell is an AMP?
Amp Plugin usage in WordPress.
For the most part, we used to agree with this protocol! Having an alternative to the glitz and glamor of what a website naturally throws out would be a nice. Let mobile users get the basics and if they want to truly visit the site we’re just a click away! Even though it seems counter productive as we have this feature on our site called “responsive design”. But Sure! Why not! This is why we initially installed the AMP plugin onto our WordPress engine. But as we poured through the code of AMP we began to notice some rather disturbing things about it:
'amp_runtime_script' => 'https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js', 'amp_component_scripts' => array(), 'customizer_settings' => array(), 'font_urls' => array( 'merriweather' => 'https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Merriweather:400,400italic,700,700italic', )'
If you dive into the amp\includes\class-amp-post-template.php of the WordPress plugin. You’ll see this little piece of code which eventually will get plastered onto every single one of your /amp/ pages. It’s making a call-out to https://cdn.ampproject.org/v0.js and also asking for CSS from the google fonts server to load the Merriweather font. If you’re like us who actually cares about the privacy of the people who read their content you may be asking this question:
Our rules, not yours!
Your content is not really your content anymore!
The number one reason why WordPress users enable AMP on their website is the simple fact that you will be ranked better. If to follow lock-step with thinking with Google then as long as you’re using all of googles technologies then google will place your results at the forefront above all others. Sometimes even scammers can get their web-sites above relevant links because they follow the rules of Google. So far everything looks just fine and how the search engine should operate. By showing you links for the pages you look for google returns the results of those pages. Wait for it!
My site is going to google?!?
The problems begin when you actually click on the AMP accelerated page. You see that address up top? That’s Google CDN (Content Distributed Network) that you’re going to. You’re not going to the destination page your website generates . Instead you are being redirected to a page that Google caches upon their own servers the moment you enable the AMP protocol on your WordPress site.
What’s a CDN?
“Content distributed networks” is a feature that most server operators such as ourselves generally pay for (We don’t as we don’t make money. too expensive! Also generates security issues.) Imagine that you are in Australia and you wanted to visit this site which the data center is based out of Chicago, USA. Instead of going through 40-60 hops through various continental firewalls and routers which can take up to a minute to load. Instead you get routed to the nearest server on Australia that mirrors the data on my site? You get the content and information in seconds instead of minutes and it’s a lot harder for hackers to shut you down since your content is worldwide. That’s the true power of a CDN!
Back to Google’s CDN.
Unlike a traditional commercial CDN that mirrors the content of your site down to the web-address and all. The Google CDN does none of this! The end result is your professional website does not even look like it is coming from you anymore but from Google! Also, when Google enables AMP for mobile phones that depending on the phone people are using it’s very difficult to disable the AMP feature and go to the legitimate site that the content is being hosted on.
In a word? “Control”.
Getting back to the control; There’s a war over information and who owns said information. News agencies and Google who want to control the flow of information. Centralize it even! Because if you can control the way people acquire information you could also control the way people think. By having a CDN that ‘mirrors’ the combined user-created data of everyone around the world. Even though you don’t really own the data it is still underneath googles CDN and umbrella. In effect, Google becomes the number one collective for news and media without really doing any of the work themselves making it profitable for ad-campaigns to invest in. A practice where if any individual did this they would be called out on Twitter for content theft. But since this is Google the screams fall upon deaf ears.
AMP Content misdirection.
In the same manner that YouTube propagates suggestions for the viewers that are looking for something. The google search engine adopts this same mentality for AMP as well. Google assumes that the majority of the web has no real idea what they are looking for! Agree or disagree with this thought process. But Google there-fore must provide a suggestion as to where they need to go. If you have a lot of articles about a particular subject and they are ranked rather high. This feature will be great for you because that simply means more traffic to your site. But if you don’t then google is redirecting traffic away from your site to more popular sites which can spam away content instead of edit the content for themselves.
Holy shit! I’m uninstalling Google AMP right now!
Not so fast! Google AMP is a lot like heroine for your web-site. It may boost your numbers but it also robs you of your existence. By straight up uninstalling AMP and going cold turkey your site will go into a state of recoil. Resulting in a metric tons of 404 errors for your mobile users not being able to find your data which the Google search engine won’t be able to correct for weeks. To make matters worse there’s really no easy way to submit your website for re-evaluation without the AMP pages. If your website has a ton of 404 page not found errors then Google will start to down rank your site more and more.
How to stop your site from showing up on Google AMP fast.
Google assumes that once you installed one of their technologies and/or products that you’ll never-ever walk away from it. Since uninstalling is not the answer then the next step is to change the code. Make it impossible for their CDN to possibly accept/cache your site.
'amp_runtime_script' => 'https://www.mywebsite.com/v0.js', 'amp_component_scripts' => array(), 'customizer_settings' => array(), 'font_urls' => array( 'merriweather' => '', )'
Poison the well and watch the AMP leech run!
301 re-direct the AMP leech.
Another method is to simply take advantage of the traffic through AMP via re-direct. Which is probably simpler!
Regardless of how many years that have gone by the crawlers and search engines will desperately keep looking for /amp/ pages within your blog. Google and it’s CDN’s are relentless because they’re hoping that you see all of these errors appear in your Apache logs and awstats and hope that you re-enable AMP and continue to feed them your valuable data. Since they are the ones knocking on your doorstep you minus well take advantage of their arrogance.
In your .htaccess file which Apache looks at in the root of your WordPress installation directory add the following line:
RedirectMatch 301 ^/(.+)/amp(/.*)?$ /$1$2
This will redirect any actual /amp/ request to your legit blog article. Super handy to have in your .htaccess file in case you do what we do and turn off AMP to keep your content yours.
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