There is a lot of buzz around AMP the last couple of weeks, but what is it and how can you implement it? We’ll answer these questions in this blog.
AMP is an acronym for ‘Accelerated Mobile Pages’ and it is a project from Google to make mobile pages load faster. AMP is not a server technology but a way to build web pages. AMP consists of AMP HTML, AMP JS and a proxy-cache run by Google. The AMP HTML and JS omit some slow parts of HTML and JS and add some mobile specific extensions.
When you implement AMP on your website you will generate an AMP version of an existing page. The AMP version is stripped of all the unnecessary stuff which makes it much smaller and faster to load.
Pros and cons
The main advantage of using AMP is that your pages will be loaded faster on mobile devices. Google stated AMP is not a ranking factor at the moment. There could be a bonus using AMP since Google is experimenting with showing a slider featuring AMP content in search results. This is especially the case for news sites and news queries. The slider will probably dissappear when the adoption of AMP is at a level high enough for Google’s liking.
Using AMP has some serious drawbacks. By implementing AMP, some essential functionality as ads, tracking, interactivity (e.g. comments) and unique design will be lost in the AMP version of your pages. Some of this functionality is still possible within AMP but requires serious coding.
All in all, the AMP page is a very stripped down version of a normal page. We value speed but removing essential components such as ads, tracking and interactivity is not the way to go as far as we are concerned. In addition to this the AMP standard is not really open for all ad networks, social networks, etc.
Implementing AMP in WordPress
If you are okay with omitting some features, implementing AMP in WordPress is pretty straightforward.
Automattic has released an AMP WordPress Plugin. This plugin generates an AMP version of all your posts. You can view these versions by adding /amp/ to the URL of a post. The plugin also adds a ‘link rel’ metatag to your <head> to inform search engines there is an AMP version of the page. This looks as follows:
<link rel="amphtml" href="<a href="https://www.savvii.eu/blog/php-7-for-worpress/amp/">https://www.savvii.eu/blog/php-7-for-worpress/amp/</a>" />
After installing the AMP plugin you have basic AMP pages. Check if your AMP pages validate by adding #development=1 after your URL and check your browser console. Validation errors are also visible in the Google Search Console.
If you want to tweak your AMP pages a little you can use the AMP Glue plugin by Yoast. This plugin allows you to toggle AMP per page type, make some design changes such as colors and icons and insert analytics scripts. Please note that adding scripts stops your pages from validating properly.
We are running AMP on this website to gain more experience before rolling it out on our other sites.
AMP vs normal mobile view
In our opinion, AMP is a technology with lots of potential but currently not a finished product and too closed for outsiders. If you are running a news site or a blog you could reap some benefits (organic traffic) when implementing AMP. Chances are you will have to do quite some coding to get things like ads and traffic implemented correctly .