With the launch of Google’s mobile first index, AMP is more important than ever.
Google recently announced they’re officially testing a mobile-first index. This means that Google will look first to the mobile version of your website to determine how it should be indexed in search.
What else does it mean?
There’s no better time than now to set up AMP for your website.
What Is AMP?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages. It’s an open-source HTML framework that allows webpages to load instantaneously, even when they contain rich content like video and ads. Google first announced the AMP project in October 2015.
Essentially, you can think of AMP as a stripped-down version of your webpage that contains all the meat of your content, but gets rid of all the extras that slow down your site. AMP lets visitors see your content instantly, rather than having to wait up to 20 seconds. Yes, horrifyingly enough, that is indeed the median load time for mobile responsive sites.
I’m sure you’ve clicked on AMP pages from your smartphone before. But on the off chance you haven’t, here’s a demo from Google:
Why Does AMP Matter?
Faster pages mean happier visitors. And happier visitors tend to stay, read, and engage with your content.
Technically, AMP is not considered a ranking signal. However, Google does favor websites that visitors engage and spend time with, and they don’t like sites that visitors quickly bounce from due to long load times. Which type of site would you prefer to be?
AMP helps you serve content to your visitors faster, which reduces the likelihood they’ll leave (assuming all else is equal, of course, and that your content is outstanding and precisely answers the question they searched for).
I set up AMP on our WordPress blog in early August on a Friday. By Monday morning, I could see the results in Search Console, and it only took a few weeks before Google had indexed all of the AMP versions of our blog articles.
How to Set up AMP on Your Site
If you’ve ever been part of making a website responsive, you may remember it as a herculean project that caused infighting and debates about the meaning of the internet among the marketing, UX, and development teams. You may have even lost an office friendship or two during that dark time.
The good — actually, great — news about AMP? It’s easier to implement than you think.
Step 1: Install the AMP Plugin
This free AMP plugin by Automattic couldn’t make things any easier. Once you activate it, it will make all of your pages AMP-ready by adding the /amp/ suffix to the end of your URLs. It does this by adding a canonical tag of sorts to the original versions of the articles. For reference, that code looks like:
Step 2: Install the Yoast Glue Plugin
Great, now you have AMP on your site. But wouldn’t it be nice if these pages looked like the rest of your site, instead of using the default black-and-white style?
Step 3: Review Your AMP Pages in Search Console
Once you’ve implemented AMP and customized it to fit the look and feel of your site, it’s time to confirm that Google noticed your efforts. Log in to Google Search Console and click on Search Appearance > Accelerated Mobile Pages.
There you have it! Your easy three-step guide to installing AMP on your WordPress site. If you aren’t using WordPress, don’t fret. The Accelerated Mobile Pages Project has a tutorial that will walk you through implementing AMP on your website. It’s not quite as 1–2–3 simple as the WordPress solution, but it will get the job done.
Google Demo: Official Google Webmaster Central Blog