Things move quick on the world wide web – and AMP for WordPress is one of those items that has been ever changing. When it first came out it was pretty controversial with no one really understanding what it was and how to implement it – which is why we wrote this AMP beginners guide.
But now, fast forward 3 years and we are on a whole new place! Below we are still going to show how you can implement AMP but also give you some information to help you decide if you really need it or not.
What Is (AMP) Accelerated Mobile Pages Project?
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) Project is a new initiative backed by Google, Twitter and over 30 other web publishers that is focused on delivering web content on mobile devices as fast as possible.
Basically AMP takes your really pretty website and delivers a more bare bones experience that will result in much faster load times. Since mobile is such a large part of todays readership and searches – and many are accessing sites from a variety of services (2G, 3G etc), it is important to make sure as website owners we give them a great experience.
AMP focuses on content and speed – it strips out unnecessary code and elements to deliver your content in the fastest way possible.
Isn’t This The Same Thing As A Responsive Website?
Not really. Responsive websites take your existing website code and adjusts the content of your page to render properly for a specific device size.
AMP is actually unique website code that strips out all extraneous code that increases load times – and only renders the most needed code on mobile devices.
Do I Need AMP for WordPress In 2020?
I personally only used AMP to do some test for this post, I always worked hard on just creating the most lightweight website possible so that it is a great user experience. Once I finished this post I deleted it.
AMP was always more for publisher websites and often big publishing companies would find themselves ranking with their AMP pages.
According to W3 Techs AMP is used by .01% of all the websites whose markup they could read.
But there is also the fact that Google now does not require AMP for their Top Stories any longer.
That was the biggest benefit to using it in the past, but now with that gone – there is no real value and even thoughts that publishers may drop AMP altogether.
We did do an AMP case study a few years ago and it did have pretty good results for this client.
If you are still interested in learning more about how to implement AMP then you can continue on below!
How Will AMP Show In The Search Results?
Please note the screenshots below may differ a bit since things change often!
In the first image below you will see how websites that have created AMP pages are showing in the search results. We did a search for “2016 election” in Google from our cell phone and what popped up was 1 story – then below that a carousel of posts which has several AMP ready articles you can swipe through.
You will notice the “AMP” icon on the post which shows readers that your page will render fast for them, which of course will improve your chances of them clicking on it.
The AMP icon may show differently now as they are always changing and testing, but that icon should be somewhere in the top stories carousel.
The 2nd image below shows how the page will look after you click on a link. You will see navigational dots that shows a reader where they are in the article carousel of news and they can swipe forward and backwards to read all the related news article.
So you will notice that the news is NOT pulling your whole website – it is taking related news articles that are also AMP friendly and putting them together for users to scroll through. But, if someone wanted to read more from your specific website, they could click on your logo and go directly to your website to read more from you if you set it up that way.
How Do I Create AMP Pages In WordPress?
For the sake of this article we are only going to cover WordPress since that is our specialty.
Thankfully there were some developers that jumped on this AMP project and there are 2 plugins you can use that will easily create AMP pages for you.
What About My Ads?
If you are a blogger then you probably have ads on your site and within your posts. At this time there are several ad networks that are compatible with AMP but we did find some people had much lower RPM’s when AMP was activated so you may want to test this with your network.
Does AMP Really Make A Difference?
If you have a poorly optimized website for speed and code, then YES – AMP can make a big difference.
In evaluating our own site after AMP implementation we found tremendous improvement in site speed. Look at the image below to see the results. On the left is our normal website – which is mobile responsive, but as you can see took 3.1 seconds to download because of 66 requests for files.
On the right is a stripped version of the content – 7 requests and a download time of 1.3 seconds.
Think about it – what experience would you prefer to enjoy?
To test your pages after you implement AMP you can go to GTmetrix – you will run the analysis on your normal web page, once that is complete you will see a COMPARE button on the right side of the page where you will enter your AMP ready page.
Remember, our AMP page should have the same URL but have /amp on the end.
When Will My News Show In Top Stories?
If we had that answer we would definitely share it! We are sure it will depend on competitiveness of your content and how quickly they roll this out among all content producers.
What About My Organic Listings?
If you are already ranking for some of your posts and content, that should not change. You should still have your content ranked in regular organic listings and when users click on those listings, they will go to your regular posts – not your AMP posts – but since AMP is still new, this could change!
We are not sure at this time if you do get moved to the AMP area if that will remove any organic listings that you may have on the first page – but we will keep an eye on that.
Can I See AMP In Action?
Why of course! AMP since it is still being rolled out and can sometimes be caught on a regular Google Search on your mobile. We happened to be on at the right time yesterday and when we searched “2016 election” it popped right up in regular search – but today we noticed it did not! So we are sure Google is testing and modifying things to improve it.
If you are interested in seeing it in action you can do the following:
1) On your mobile phone go to: https://g.co/ampsearch
2) Do a search for: 2020 election
Then you should see a Top Stories area that contains the AMP designated posts.
So that is your beginners guide to AMP! If you have questions or concerns – let us know, and we will be sure to update you on this as new news becomes available!
Update To Our Own AMP Activation
We now currently have traffic coming in to 11 of our AMP optimized pages.
We found this by accident when we were doing an analysis for our own website redesign. It looks like the traffic just started on September 22, 2016 as you can see in the image below.
What is interesting to see is the Average Time On Page – we are seeing some crazy times of 15 and 19 minutes which is a good sign. The bounce rates of course are also high, meaning they are not going other places, but that is OK. AMP is about serving articles – so for us we are happy that people find our content that great to stay that long.
Thoughts on what we can do better: we may try adding a link to the bottom of our posts now as a call to action link. We do have a form on our mobile and desktop, but that will not show on AMP since AMP only shows the content from that page – and nothing else. No menus, no call to actions – nothing. We will see if doing this impacts the bounce rate for these pages.
Here is an image of what our AMP result looks like in the search engines – right now we get an AMP listing for the term “website held hostage”
Put that term into your Google search on your phone for a real view and then click on the article so you can see how Google returns the page content for its readers.
The last thing we looked at for the pages we are ranking for in AMP results is the conversion rate and the keywords we were ranking for for these articles.
You can see in the below sample that the CTR’s on these 2 posts are awesome! We typically see rates of about 5-10% for most of our search result listings so to see a 33% and 24% is pretty mind-blowing!
How Can I Find Out If I Have AMP Pages That Are Bringing Me Traffic?
Remember, if you do not have AMP ready posts then you of course will not have any results. If you do have AMP ready pages – then you can use the Webmaster Tools Search Analytics area to find out if you are getting traffic from any AMP pages.
You can see the below image which will help you get to where you need to be. Just choose the same settings we have noted and be sure that under PAGES you filter by the term AMP, this will then show you all the amp pages on your website and then you can look to see if you have received any clicks from them.
While AMP may seem exciting because of the lightweight and fast website it can provide, I do not feel that it is something worth it for most website owners.
It is more important that you focus on a clean coded and well optimized website that has a great user interface on mobile!
Have questions? Completely lost? Love this post? Love dogs? Bark at me!