How to Implement Google AMP in WordPress

Search giant Google has always been in the forefront of pushing for user experience (UX). In fact, it has included site speed as one of the search engine algorithm signals in 2010. More recently, Google has unfurled its preference for mobile friendliness to encourage websites to fit mobile screens.

If you’re still unmoved by Google’s attempts to make things a lot easier for both online users and website owners to make sites load fast and look amazing on mobile devices, here’s something to seriously consider: Google recently announced that AMP listings are infused into search results for mobile.

That’s a pretty big update for AMP users who want to increase the likelihood of their websites to become visible on Google’s precious search results pages. However, if you find yourself scratching your head and wondering what AMP is and how to use it, let this article be your ultimate guide to using Google AMP for your WordPress website.

What is Google AMP?

Short for Accelerated Mobile Pages, AMP is an open source project by Google to help publishers produce pages that not only look great on mobile devices, but also create fast-loading pages. The platform gives people the ability to create static pages designed to load faster than most kinds of websites.

AMP coding consists of three main parts: HTML, scripts, and a cache function.

  • AMP HTML is similar to conventional HTML coding, but with additional AMP properties. For instance, HTML tags still exist, but may be enhanced through AMP-specific tags.
  • AMP JS is a library of scripts that provides the juice that makes AMP what it is. To implement speed and performance, AMP JS makes page rendering faster by loading resources properly, using asynchronous external resources, and calculating element layouts prior to loading each resource.
  • Google AMP Cache is made possible through a content delivery network (CDN) to deliver AMP documents. This alone already makes page loading speed faster by fetching AMP HTML files and caches each one.

Benefits of Google AMP

Simply put, the main advantage of using Google AMP is site speed. Having said that, site speed improvement involves a whole lot of factors, and you have the option to use all kinds of methods to make page loading speedier than usual.

With the AMP format, webpages become more engaging and visitor-friendly, especially now that more people are using their mobile devices to read online content.

Because of the nature of the AMP design, this coding is best used by news websites and content-heavy blogs. However, any website developer is free to use AMP coding to their liking.

Google AMP in Search Results

What makes Google AMP users so ecstatic and giddy with excitement is the fact that websites created using AMP coding will have a well-designated space in Google search results. Although there is need to confirm how wide the rollout of this project is, some SEO experts were able to see the AMP results in action.

Websites created using AMP will be seen on Google search results with a special AMP label with a lightning icon. Google started implementing the prioritization of AMP pages in search results on February 24, 2016.

Because of the wider reach of AMP pages, website owners have the opportunity to earn more. Imagine this: if people see your AMP pages on Google search results pages, there’s a bigger chance for your ads to appear on more screens. This increases your monetization and subscription potential.

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Using Google AMP in WordPress

Although Google AMP is designed to generate static pages, it’s also possible to use this speed-enhancing tool in WordPress.

The best and easiest way to implement AMP codes in your WordPress website is to use the plugin aptly called AMP, created by the folks at Automattic. In a nutshell, what the plugin does is to generate AMP versions of your existing post URLs, and you can access these by adding the term /amp/ at the end of the post URL.

In terms of source code, the AMP WordPress plugin adds a meta tag in the header code of your WordPress files so that Google can sniff the AMP versions of your site pages.

Here are the steps in using the AMP plugin to your WordPress site:

  1. In your Admin Dashboard, go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. In the search box, look for the AMP plugin.
  3. Click “Install Now”, and then “Activate” the plugin.

What’s great about this plugin is that it works so well even with the basic settings. In fact, there are no settings to change for this plugin.

Unfortunately, the AMP plugin uses metadata that may not be optimal in terms of search engine optimization (SEO). This is especially true if you’re using Yoast SEO in your WordPress site. If you’re concerned about this, then you may find some enhancement in the plugin called Glue for Yoast SEO and AMP.

Glue works to connect the Yoast SEO and AM plugins to pursue two goals:

  • To change the page design for AMP
  • To make use of proper metadata for better SEO

Here are the steps on how to use the Glue plugin:

  1. Just like installing a new plugin, go to Plugins > Add New.
  2. Use the search box to find “Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP”.
  3. Click “Install Now”, then activate the plugin.
  4. Once activated, go to SEO > AMP settings > Design. From here, you can change the style or design of your AMP pages.
  5. You may also add tracking codes by going to SEO > AMP settings > Analytics.

Conclusion

Google has always championed the improvement of online browsing and user experience to make people enjoy their online experience. Aside from enhancing search features, Google is aiming towards combining UX and SEO so that both online users and website owners are satisfied.

By using AMP, website owners – and especially those using WordPress as their preferred website platform – have the opportunity to speed up the loading of their pages. As a result, they will not only improve their chances to land on choice spots on Google search results, but also make their target audience happy.

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