AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a new standard for mobile website content sponsored by Google to dramatically increase page speed.
Why AMP is really important
Reason 1. Google hasn’t been bashful about page speed. They have made it clear that fast websites will rank much higher in search results and thus get more traffic. AMP was created expressly for the purpose of speeding up mobile content which has historically been much slower than desktop.
Reason 2. Users are happier. Google is right. AMP pages are MUCH faster than non-AMP equivalents and users are always happier when they don’t have to wait. Other important statistics improve as well like time on page, page views per visit and engagement with the content.
Reason 3. Your content is labeled as AMP in mobile search results. Users have begun to understand that if they click on a URL marked AMP, they will get more speed. This education of internet users will continue and over time non-AMP pages will become second class citizens.
At the moment Google doesn’t explicitly penalize non-AMP pages in search results, other than the fact that they aren’t marked as AMP and don’t appear in the AMP featured slider. They don’t position them lower on the page. However, slower pages are definitely at a disadvantage in the ranking algorithm.
It is hard to imagine Google ever forcing sites to migrate to AMP but you never know.
How to install AMP on your WordPress site
Here is a quick summary of how I have been implementing AMP on my websites.
Be aware before you do this that some plugins you are using may not work on your AMP pages. Installing and setting up the AMP plugins doesn’t do permanent damage. You can just deactivate them later if you are unhappy with the results.
If your sites are informational or affiliate, etc. you will probably be fine. If you are doing fancy things with sliders, shopping carts, pop-ups, etc. this functionality most likely won’t carry over to your AMP enabled pages.
Install and activate these two plugins:
Go through the settings to configure your site.
I’m not going to go through all of them because there is a lot of educational material included in the plugin documentation as you see above.
However here are a few things that you are almost certainly going to need to do:
- Upload your sites logo in the dimensions suggested by the plugin
- Add your Analytics property id
- Adjust your menu by creating a menu specific to the AMP pages or assigning the correct menu or menu’s
- Insert Adsense or custom ad tags if you are monetizing with display ads
- Adjust the social sharing settings
As you tweak the settings and save them, check out how the pages appear by visiting a sample page on your phone or opening another tab or window in your browser. You can see the AMP pages by appending /amp/ to the end of the URL e.g. http://www.mywebsite.com/my-article/amp/
Validate that the AMP pages are passing Google’s validation.
You do this by waiting a day or two and then visiting Search Console. If you don’t know anything about search console check out my course here.
Unfortunately there are still bugs in the AMP plugins although they are getting better every day. So it is very likely that you will see at least a handful of errors that need to be addressed like these:
Here’s what you get if you click on “Invalid usage of AMP tags”:
Then click on the URL listed to see the specific error:
Now here’s the big question. What the heck do you do about it?
You do need to fix it because, as Google clearly says, if you don’t, it won’t show up on the search page as a legitimate “AMP” entry.
In the case of the error listed above under Details: I simply clicked on “Report an Issue / Request a Feature” in the plugin settings menu. I copied and pasted the error I was getting and the URL it applied to. The plugin creators are very responsive in my experience.
A great resource for getting things fixed is their support forum: https://wordpress.org/support/plugin/accelerated-mobile-pages
Unfortunately, AMP is one of those things you are going to have to do eventually. You are most likely to lock in the benefits and move ahead of your competition if you get an early jump on it.