AMP or Accelerated Mobile Pages is the latest open source format for creating web pages that consistently load almost instantly (often less than one second) across all devices and platforms. Why does this matter? Because the less time it takes for pages to load combined with simpler material displayed on a page (removing unnecessary ads/images/content) the more time is spent by readers on those pages thereby causing increased return visits, improved viewability, increased CTRs (click-through-rates), and possibly improved SEO. Some could say that AMP was created for the network of holes – to give those with low internet speeds outside the city quicker access to articles, but it ALSO has a great side benefit of increasing page load speeds which could improve SEO (although this is not proven).
How AMP pages work
To make AMP pages load faster, AMP loads only what is needed without waiting for any other resources to download. AMP HTML pages are stripped down versions of the original design, only allowing inline style sheets that have a max size of 50 kilobytes and very little in the way of third-party elements.
But let’s be clear, AMP HTML pages are NOT the same as regular HTML pages. They have their own set of guidelines and therefore create a separate AMP-compatible version of your pages and custom post types on your site only accessible by appending /amp/ to the end your URLs (which is the URL scheme recommended by Google).
Post URL – http://example.com/post-name/
AMP URL – http://example.com/post-name/amp
How to implement AMP with WordPress plugins
If your content is already being served by a CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, AMP integration can be facilitated by a few great WordPress plugins.
- AMP for WordPress (FREE) – The official AMP plugin that creates AMP-compatible versions of your pages and custom post types on your site. If you have Yoast SEO installed, you may also want to install the free Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP plugin that integrates Yoast SEO into your AMP pages making sure your meta-data is implemented correctly. It also adds very basic styling to keep your AMP pages inline with the look and feel of the rest of your site.
- weeblrAMP (FREE/paid) – Offers a more robust platform for styling and serving more advanced features on your AMP pages. This plugin still allows for the use of Analytics, Yoast, and more. If you need to include Gravity Form, Mailchimp, or WooCommerce integration to a post then you will want to pay for the upgrade around $49-$69.
- To take full advantage of much of the AMP functionality, it is strongly recommended that you serve all AMP pages over HTTPS. Read Evolv’s post on SSL & SEO and have us convert your complete site for only $100.
- It is also important to add structured data to your content so that your AMP pages are eligible to appear in the Top Stories search carousels and rich results shown at the top of Google’s mobile search results. See below how the same article shows on desktop vs. mobile and how the mobile device displays an AMP icon like so:
Sometimes Google may give those coveted spots at the top of mobile search results to AMP but I stress the word “sometimes” because it is not yet proven that this new feature is actually improving website’s SEO. However, being found in those top spots, drives clicks because users look for the AMP icon to identify pages that load quickly and smoothly. So, if you run a news site, a big-time blog, or a large website with long-form content, you might want to consider using AMP, but this is NOT for small time websites.