Google AMP For WordPress: What it is and should you jump in?

 

What is the Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project?

Google introduced last year its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project which aims to make pages load instantly on mobile. The AMP Project provides an open-source HTML framework, which is a subset of standard HTML producing stripped down versions of normal web pages including only the essential parts of the content. Sites developed using the AMP framework will be cached by Google for free of charge. Even though Google has stated that AMP is not a search ranking factor it doesn’t mean AMP pages won’t get special treatment. AMP-enabled pages enjoy a boost in Google’s mobile search as Google is showcasing AMP pages as a carousel above the standard search results. Google claims that since the AMP project started they have served over 600 million unique AMP documents in over 100 languages including sites like WikiHow, Reddit, Shopify, eBay, and others. Basically, AMP is a new way of building web pages for static content that render fast. According to Google, it takes typically less than a second for an AMP page to load from Google Search.

Google AMP: What are the Benefits of Implementing?

For siteowners and content creators AMP is just another tool in their toolbox. It is no surprising that many large news publishers have adopted AMP as they are constantly releasing text-and image-heavy posts with a low level of interactivity in straightforward article format. However, you don’t have to be a huge publisher to take advantage of AMP. As Google is giving prime real estate to AMP pages in mobile search results it may give a nice boost to many long-tail niche publishers as well. In addition, Google has signaled that load time in general will matter in its ranking algorithm and speedy AMPs should ace any speed-related SEO tests. Also, long loading times impact negatively your bounce rates which are supposed to be part of the page ranking criteria. If your website is already mobile-ready and was developed with best practices in mind, it should be pretty fast already and you may not see such a drastic ranking impact. The downside to “AMP-ifying” your site is that AMP pages must follow a specific set of strict styling and layout rules to be considered compliant. It severely limits your options to make AMP pages look like the rest of your site and can even lead to a loss of brand recognition. AMP also limits the ability to collect data about the user behaviour which is needed to improve the site and the content. AMP versions may not make sense for single page apps or highly interactive sites with lot of CSS and custom JavaScript. On the other hand, it is the limited functionality and the caching option that leads to significantly faster user experience. Regardless, AMP-enabled publishers could have an advantage over non-AMPed publishers, even if the ranking algorithm doesn’t explicitly favor AMP. Site owners who want to rank their sites well should consider AMP as part of their content delivery strategy.

How to Integrate AMP With WordPress?

The WordPress AMP plugin by Automattic is pretty much the best choice for adapting your pages to the AMP standards at the moment. The AMP plugin automatically creates AMP versions of all your posts once enabled. All you have to do is add /amp/ to the URL of any of your posts in order to access its AMP version. While this plugin generates AMP pages it does not have any custom options available. That’s where the Custom AMP plugin steps in. It will enable you to modify your site’s logo as it will appear on mobile devices, add featured images to your posts, show your WordPress comments section, include related posts, set a custom content width, show a navigation menu, set up Google Analytics, and add custom code to your posts’ CSS and footer. The Custom AMP plugin takes care of the submission process to Google for AMP pages. It is recommend to use the Custom plugin together with the AMP plugin.

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  1. Arthur on October 17, 2016

    I hope AMP will not expand to desktop search results as well.

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