In today’s mobile-centric world, having pages that load quickly is essential for satisfying the user. Not only that, but the effects of slow page speed have been correlated to a decease in overall revenue and an increase in page abandonment.
Users have come to expect mobile sites to load just as quickly as their desktop counterparts. In fact, Amazon, one of the largest online retailers, concluded that even a one-second lag in page load speed accounted for a $1.6B decrease in annual revenue.
Accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) are quickly becoming the standard for how a fast-loading page should be built. Using a pre-render, AMPs are able to load 15-80 percent faster than standard mobile pages without compromising functionality. While the ease of AMP implementation will vary depending on your CMS (content management system), WordPress can be a good test environment for previewing what your AMP page might look like.
Follow this quick seven-step guide to enable AMP for WordPress.
Note: Parts of this guide assume that you have activated the Yoast SEO plugin as part of your WordPress setup. If you haven’t, you can simply skip the parts that reference this plugin — you can still activate AMP functionality without it — but I highly recommend this plugin if you are serious about SEO for your WordPress site.
The AMP plugin by Automattic is required to begin AMP implementation. This is the base plugin that you’ll need in order for AMP to work.
The AMP plugin will automatically generate AMP-compatible versions of all your posts, which you can view by appending /amp/ to the end of your post URLs. For example:
Note that only your posts — not your pages — will be AMP-compatible with this base plugin. In order to make your pages AMP-compatible as well, you’ll need to install an additional plugin (detailed below).
Once you have the AMP plugin installed, you can layer on additional plugins in order to gain greater functionality. There are several free options you can choose from, but the ones I use throughout this guide are as follows:
In order to set your pages up for Google Analytics tracking, you’ll first need to find your tracking ID. Log in to Google Analytics, then click the gear icon at the bottom left to bring up the Admin panel. Once you’ve selected the ACCOUNT and PROPERTY from their respective drop-down menus, click where is says “Tracking Info” within the PROPERTY column. From there, click “Tracking Code” to see your tracking ID — the ID should begin with UA.
Copy your tracking ID, then log in to WordPress. In the left-hand navigation, go to AMP > Analytics and paste your tracking ID where it says “Google Analytics.” Then click Save Changes.
In this step, I’ll discuss some basic configurations for the Glue for Yoast SEO plugin mentioned in Step 1. You may skip this step if you have chosen not to install this plugin.
The recommended configurations herein will allow you to customize the look and feel of your accelerated mobile pages as well as enable AMP support for multiple content types.
To begin, go to Yoast SEO > AMP > Post Types. Here you are able to select which post types should be AMP-compliant.
On the second tab, “Design,” you can customize the look and feel of your AMP-enabled pages. Apply CSS styling, customize content and link colors, upload a custom AMP icon and set a default image for pages that don’t have an image associated with them.
Now that we have created our AMP URLs, it’s important to ensure that they’re working properly. If they are not configured correctly, Google will not display them in search results. While this safeguards you against displaying a semi-functional AMP page, it can also be a pain point for many webmasters.
Fortunately, there are several solutions for testing your AMP URLs. Pick a couple of key pages and test the AMP versions using one of the methods below. As mentioned in step 1, you can append /amp/ to the end of a standard URL in order to view it.
Option 1: AMP Test
Option 2: Developer Console
This option is specifically for those who use the Google Chrome browser. If you use another browser (Firefox, Safari, Microsoft Edge or other), this option does not apply to you.
Option 3: AMP Validator
Note: You can also use the AMP Validator Chrome extension to see the same results on the AMP URL itself.
If using the AMP Test through Google Search Console, you can click the “submit to Google” button once you’ve run the test and validated the page:
Alternatively, if you are logged in to your Google Search Console account, you can search for “submit to Google” and submit the URL directly within Google search results:
While submitting your AMP page to Google is not a requirement, Google will only index your AMP page if it is internally linked to or listed in the XML sitemap.
Google Search Console provides a way to manage all your AMP pages in one concise location.
Here you will be able to see how many of your Accelerated Mobile Pages are being indexed and which ones, if any, have critical issues. If you identify pages with issues, you can troubleshoot shoot them using the tools from the previous step.
Once you’ve completed the above, now it’s time to see the benefits of your efforts. Run your AMP and standard mobile pages through a page speed tool like WebPageTest and compare the results:
As Google ramps up its efforts to unveil its mobile-first index and page speed inches towards becoming a mobile ranking factor, it’s ever more crucial to take advantage of AMP before your mobile traffic takes a hit. By following the steps above, you should be able to quickly and easily enable AMP pages for your WordPress site.
For the latest updates and developments on the Google AMP Project, read here.
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