WordPress and Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Looking for help setting up Google AMP for WordPress? Or are you not sure if it is suitable for your WordPress site?

We wrote this message in 2016. However, a lot has changed since 2016 with regard to the implementation of AMP on WordPress. You no longer need a PGA to get some of the benefits previously associated with it (such as appearing in the results of Google Top Stories on mobile devices).

For these reasons we decided to completely rewrite this message in December 2020 to include new useful plugins and changes to the MPA ecosystem.

So, if you don’t mind, let’s dive into Google AMP for WordPress.

What are Google Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)?

Google Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, is a framework that allows you to optimize your website for mobile devices.

It is essentially a specific way of encoding your website that is optimized for performance. Don’t worry – you don’t have to be a developer to set this up on WordPress, because there are some great AMP plugins for WordPress that can do it all for you.

Still, it is useful to understand what is happening behind the scenes and why the MPA is separated from the mobile version of the WordPress theme.

The second important part of AMP is caching. Your MPA content is cached on servers on various platforms, including Google. Suppose someone is searching for your website on Google. Google can control them directly from its cache in the AMP version of your page.

Google is also not the only source of caching. Bing also has its own AMP cache.

This combination of optimized code + caching ensures lightning-fast downloads.

What is the content of an AMP?

AMP content is marked with an AMP icon in Google search results. For example, you will see an AMP icon in the upper right corner when you look at Google Top Stories:

As with your own website, there is no specific design for the AMP. Well done, your MPA content should look like your non-AMP design. The big difference is the coding and caching behind the scenes.

Advantages of Google AMP for WordPress

  • Simply put: MPA makes it possible to load your website much faster for mobile visitors, which is very user friendly.
  • You can increase user involvement. Many publishers report an increase in the time spent on the site, the number of pages per visit, and so on.
  • You can also increase the chance that your website will appear in the top pages of Google. You no longer need to use AMP for the turnout, because it is now based on Core Web Vitals. However, PGA remains one of the best ways to improve Core Web Vitals, so this advantage remains, albeit in a more indirect form.
  • Since page loading time is a ranking factor in Google’s mobile search index, the use of PGA can indirectly improve your SEO position by improving the performance of mobile sites. For example, WompMobile analysed 26 domains to which AMP support was added and found an average increase of 27.1% in organic traffic and an increase of 15.3% in CTR SERP.

Google MPA Consolidations for WordPress

  • Caching makes your website appear as if it is served by a Google domain name instead of your own standard domain name. However, you can solve this problem by using the AMP Real URL function of Cloudflare.
  • Some publishers report problems with monetisation/conversion of MPA content. However, this will probably depend on how you implement the risk management plan, not necessarily on the plan itself.

Here’s an example of a URL problem – I’ll tell you how to solve it at the end of the article:

How to set up Google’s MPA for WordPress?

You have several options for using Google AMP on WordPress :

  • Choose an MPA-compatible theme
  • Use the customizable WordPress AMP plugin

1. MPACompatible topic

The easiest way is to choose a WordPress theme that includes AMP support. Since the introduction of MPA in 2016, many of the most popular themes have added integrated MPA support.

This basically means that all you have to do is install the official AMP plugin and your theme will cover all styles to ensure a consistent experience. The official AMP plugin doesn’t have a lot of features – it only contains AMP functionality, so your theme can do everything else.

If possible, I recommend to follow this path for several reasons:

  • This is the simplest option, as few manual adjustments are required.
  • This ensures that the content of the AMP is consistent with the rest of your site (one of the biggest problems when implementing the AMP).

Here are some of my favorite themes that have the support of the integrated MPA:

You can also consult the theme developer’s documentation to see if an existing theme contains AMP support.

Remember – even if you have an AMP-compatible theme, you’ll need to install the official AMP plugin to enable AMP functionality on WordPress.

When you configure the official plug-in functions in the Setup Wizard, select Switch to Template Mode :

If you go to AMP → Settings, you can also enable/disable AMP for specific message types and create other configuration options, such as B. prevent certain plugins from working on your AMP pages:

2. Using the WordPress AMP plugin

If your theme doesn’t support AMP and you don’t want to switch to a theme that does, you can also find special AMP plugins for WordPress that allow you to customize the AMP versions of your pages.

The most popular option is the AMP plugin for WP, which I will introduce in the next section.

One of the most interesting aspects of this plugin is that it supports Elementor and Divi. So, if you built your site with one of these page creators, adding an MPA may be a good option. It usually includes many other customisation and integration features (e.g. support for the most common form plug-ins).

Once you install and activate the free plugin WordPress.org, it will start a wizard to help you configure important settings. You can use the basic installation as well as the advanced installation, depending on your needs:

When you enable advanced customization, you have many more options for designing your AMP content. You can also choose from several predefined layouts/themes (although most require a premium version).

Usually there are only a lot of options in the Options and Design tabs, especially if you are working in advanced mode. I can’t show you everything, but the developer will give you some tutorials in case you get into trouble.

Again, this method is certainly more complicated than choosing a theme already supported by the MPA, but it has a number of advantages:

  • It works with some page builders (Elementor and Divi).
  • It also contains integrations for many plugins outside of your theme, such as B. Contact form plugins.
  • It allows you to add customizable AMP support even if your theme does not support AMP.

Although the main plugin is free, the developer offers more than 47 extensions that might interest you. These improvements are intended to add new integrations, functions and layout options.

How to use real AMP URLs for WordPress

As I said in the pros and cons section, one of the major drawbacks of Google’s MPA is that your MPA pages seem to be served from the cache and not from the domain of your site.

For example, when someone clicks on the MPA result of your website in Google, the URL starts with https://google.com/amp/. It’s clearly not good from a marketing perspective.

If you want to use AMP, I recommend you solve this problem with the AMP Real URL function of Cloudflare, which configures it to display the real domain name of your site.

To enable this feature, you must first add your WordPress site to Cloudflare if you have not already done so. Then go to the speed settings and select the Optimization tab. If you scroll down, you should see the option to enable the actual URL of the MPA:

Launch AMP on WordPresstoday

Google MPA is an interesting way to increase the loading time of your mobile pages and improve the user experience of your website.

As WordPress has grown in popularity in recent years, many popular WordPress themes have started offering built-in AMP support, making it easier than ever to use AMP and ensure a consistent design for your site. Or, if your theme doesn’t fit, you can always use the AMP plugin for WP.

However, the AMP has advantages and disadvantages, so you need to test it yourself to see how it affects your website.

Do you have any questions about using MPA on WordPress? Ask in the comments!

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