AMP is the perfect framework for publishers and bloggers. It strips away everything readers don't need and gives you ultra-light, ultra-fast pages that Google loves to promote in SERPs.
The only issue is, when using a structured platform such as WordPress it can be hard to convert your posts to AMP pages. Despite how extensible either is, mashing two worlds together is never a simple prospect.
Integrating AMP with WordPress is not entirely straightforward but it is doable and incredibly valuable for any WordPress publishers looking for a quick win to increase traffic and user engagement.
As a major contributor to the AMP project, we're sharing 10 things every publisher should know before they start converting WordPress to AMP. These steps will save you time and pain throughout the process and will ensure you get your AMP WordPress project right, first time.
1. AMP has an official WordPress plugin
Good news for all WordPress users, there is an official AMP plugin. The bad news is, it's not without its flaws. The AMP plugin offers three options to convert your posts to AMP pages.
A standard mode that uses a single theme and only offers the AMP version of your site.
Transitional mode also uses a single theme but creates two versions of your site: an AMP version and a non-AMP version. This can be useful if there are elements in your theme that are not compatible with AMP.
Finally, for sites that have WordPress themes that are highly incompatible with AMP, there is Reader mode. This allows you to use two themes and have two versions; AMP and non-AMP. This gives you the option to create simple AMP pages for your content but keep the functionality and interactive features on your main site.
2. But you will probably need additional plugins
Despite these options, the standard AMP plugin also has some major limitations. Firstly, it doesn’t apply to your pages, just your posts and it doesn’t allow you to change how your AMP content works or looks.
To get more editing capabilities, publishers often have to add a second plugin to take care of this part, set up extras to get all the features needed.
Plugins that work in unison with the main plugin, such as AMP for WP give you the ability to:
Configure how your AMP content looks
Add AdSense ads to AMP content
Add social buttons to AMP content
Enable AMP for your pages (not just posts)
3: You can configure and edit AMP pages
There is not a tremendous range of options for editing the style and design of AMP pages, but you can at least match it to your brand. You can change the header background and text color on this page. The header background color you choose will also be used for links and the plugin will also use your site’s icon or logo if your theme supports it.
So, some options for styling but probably not enough for most publishers.
4. There is an easy way to test/validate your AMP setup
Once you have set up your plugins, edited your colors, you need to check if everything is set up correctly.
Luckily there is a simple tool to test your pages. Go to https://search.google.com/test/amp
You can also use the AMP Validator to check for specific errors in your HTML.
Go to: https://validator.ampproject.org
Paste the AMP URL in the “URL” field and click “Validate.” This tool will highlight any errors and flag them in the HTML.
5. Google loves to promote AMP pages
By promoting AMP pages, Google is making life easier for itself.
Deciding which content fits a user’s search intent is a complex task, but with AMP the issue of page performance is removed from the equation. Google knows that AMP is going to be fast and light and it set up in a way that its crawler better understands the content on the pages.
This is why organic results pages with AMP results are growing steadily and Chrome Suggestions and Google News feature more than 70% AMP pages.
6: Yes, you can track AMP visits in Google Analytics
You can track your AMP content using a separate analytics snippet adapted to your standard Google Analytics tracking code. To integrate Google Analytics on an AMP page, copy this code snippet and replace the GA_MEASUREMENT_ID with the property ID you would like to use.
But, this tracking carries with it the risk of double-tracking visitors. When a user moves from an AMP page and to a standard page, AMP Analytics will measure this as 2 different sessions where normally going from one page to another is two page views within a single session.
7. AMP URLs don’t count as duplicate content
For anyone worrying that creating two pages with the same content would destroy their SEO, search engines are trained to not count AMP as duplicate content.
The AMP plugin adds “rel=canonical” tags that link back to the original WordPress post. This bypasses any potential duplicate content complications.
8. You don’t need to use redirects
Also, with two different pages out there, you might think that you have to juggle redirects to push the traffic where you want it.
Fortunately, Google automatically sends search traffic to the AMP versions of your content. Other websites that support AMP content such as Pinterest, will also do this.
Thanks to the standard structure of AMP pages, they are easily discoverable by web crawlers, so other sites can link to the AMP version of a webpage. But, if a mobile reader comes directly to your site, they will still get the normal version as they may want the fuller — but slower — experience.
9: You can see exactly how much faster your AMP pages are
Once you’ve generated your AMP pages, you can run your AMP and standard mobile pages through a page speed tool like WebPageTest and see the real-world improvements that AMP has created.
10. But AMP pages will use a Google URL
In a big headache for some publishers, the default way content is cached and served, AMP pages appear under the google.com/amp URL. When users click on an AMP link, the browser will display http//google.com/amp” link rather than the publisher’s real URLs.
While you can measure the view in analytics above, publishers don’t often don’t want their readers to see Google’s name in the URL bar. Since 2019, it is possible to display your own URL but you need a signed exchange or a CDN that supports that feature.
This list should give you a clearer picture of what combining AMP and WordPress involves. Where WordPress has been built for the ease of the creator, AMP is not shy about saying how it is designed for the reader’s experience, not the developer’s. This can make it difficult to get right the first time and means it requires testing and updates to maintain.
If you’d like to skip all these steps and generate a flawless, fast, and monetized AMP version, get in touch with us here.