How to Setup Google AMP in WordPress

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Google AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is an open source initiative supported by large tech companies and developers around the world, including Google, Twitter, Reddit and LinkedIn. The project was created with the purpose of making websites and ads load faster and more beautifully on mobile. As such, it doesn’t support the use of popups or other interstitials.

Although the amount of mobile search activity is constantly increasing, interaction with the mobile web is significantly less than interaction with mobile apps. In fact, 90% of users prefer to spend time on mobile apps, despite the efforts of website developers to speed up their websites.

Google AMP was introduced at an exciting time for the mobile web, and complements Google’s mobile first index initiative. As of last year, AMP was made live and currently influences Google Search results.

Google AMP: The Basics

Google AMP uses minimal HTML and Javascript code, which allows content to be stored on the Google AMP cache for easier retrieval. The use of Google AMP essentially creates a stripped down version of a website, in order to make it load faster. Because Google AMP is a project in cooperation with other companies and developers, Google AMP can be used by any platform, browser or viewer.

Google AMP: Advantages and Disadvantages

Should you setup Google AMP on WordPress or stay away from it for now? There are a few important things to consider:

  • Google AMP results for target keywords appear at the top on mobile search (which is a majority of search traffic)
  • Through the use of Google AMP, load speeds will be faster. All else equal, this will minimize your website’s bounce rate and provide an arguably better user experience. Jarrod Dicker of the Washington Post reports that the publication’s AMP pages load at an average of under 400ms, which is 88% faster than their non-AMP mobile site.

On a more negative note:

  • Google AMP spells out bad news for ad companies, since it is more difficult for them to implement ads on AMP’s stripped down version of the website. And for publishers, this could mean reduced ad revenue.
  • Google AMP uses a limited set of HTML, JavaScript, CSS. This in turn limits the use of widgets, interactions and dynamic scripts that may serve an important business/conversion purpose. AMP is really best for already text-heavy websites.

If you are getting a majority of your traffic from mobile searches, Google AMP will help improve your site’s SEO score. Changes are continuously being made by the team behind it to help publishers make the most out of the platform.

How to Setup Google AMP on WordPress

Integrating Google AMP with WordPress is actually a lot simpler than you might think.

First, install and activate the AMP plugin by Automattic. When activated, take a look at how your website will now look on mobile by going to Appearance > AMP. You can adjust how it looks by changing the header background & text color. The header background color will also be used for link colors.

You can easily see how any page on your site would look like in AMP by ending the URL with an /amp/ (example: www.example.com/page/amp/). To determine how your AMP pages are doing on Google searches, go to your Google Search Console dashboard, then Search Appearance > Accelerated Mobile Pages.

Since AMP is limited in terms of customization (and only works for posts, not pages), you need to install additional plugins to add additional layers of customization. Install the Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP plugin to integrate Yoast SEO with AMP. This ensures that the correct metadata is implemented in partnership with search.

The Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP plugin can add additional simple styling to the AMP version of your site, and also enables support for other post types. After adding additional plugins, make sure you validate AMP pages.

Google AMP on WordPress

Google’s open source initiative, AMP, is an excellent option for improving site load speeds (and improving search results) by limiting HTML and Javascript. While advantageous, it can also be limiting. As such, it’s best for websites primarily for sharing written content, and that are not overly interactive.


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