If you have been tuned in to the search (Google) world, you’ll know that, for the past several months there has been a lot of talk about AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) for your web site. If you’re like me, you will have realized that AMP was something you’ll need to do, but, like most technology, it may need to “settle” a bit before you want to implement it.
However, it is important to not let it get away (especially if your busy season is – or is about to be – ramping up for good weather), as it promises not only a faster (hence better, to Google) mobile user experience, but also there are indications that Google will give AMP sites priority in mobile search results. That would do it for me!
The next section is a brief explanation of AMP. If you just want to know what to do about it, the TL;DR steps are in the section below it.
What is AMP all about?
For once, the basic concept is extremely simple. If your website is properly tagged (AMP has special html tags), the mobile version of your site is stored on an AMP server, which will serve it directly, at high speed, to the visitor. That takes traffic off your web server, but also provides an extremely fast loading of the site for the user. Note that, at present, AMP pages appear when the visitor clicks on your links in search results from a mobile device. Then, POW! the page appears instantly.
Add to that the possibility (or probability) that this will benefit your placement in mobile search results, and the only question is whether it is difficult to set up.
Fortunately, the answer is “no”. In fact, if you have a WordPress site, it is extremely easy to set up, and barring unusual issues, is also easy to debug any errors.
Setting up AMP on WordPress
There are several AMP plugins for WordPress. As is typical, some are better than others. Over the years, I’ve found Yoast’s plugins to be rock solid and well-maintained, and, since the founder, Joost de Valk, is a noted SEO expert, there is good reason to trust them. Their SEO plugin is top-rated. If you are using it, you have already completed the first step in setting up AMP.
If you aren’t sure how to install a WordPress plugin, on the left side Admin menu, click Plugins > Add New and search for the plugin. Click Install Now, and after it installs, click Activate. Job done.
Starting from the beginning, to set up AMP on WordPress:
- If you haven’t already done so, install the Yoast SEO plugin, and activate it.
- Install and activate the AMP plugin – for these purposes, use the WordPress AMP plugin by Automattic.
- Next we need to connect the AMP plugin to SEO, so we’ll install and activate the Glue plugin by Yoast
The installation is complete, but there are just a few more steps to finish making your mobile site look good.
In the Admin menu at left, hover over the Yoast SEO menu, and from the fly-out menu, select AMP. You’ll want to do some, or all, of the following:
- Choose a default featured image – this will be an image which will appear with pages or posts that do not have a featured image of their own
- Choose a thumbnail image – this will appear at the top of your AMP pages with your site name
- Choose colors that match your website for your header, text, links, etc (see graphic at right).
- Save and you are finished!
It will take at least 24 hours before Google prepares everything. Meanwhile, if there are any errors, you’ll either get a notification from Google Search Console (you know, what we used to call Webmaster Tools) and you can check them out. In my case, this site had 3 errors, all coming from one page, and it was because of an out-of-date post from 6 years ago had a broken link to an old Facebook admin page. They were easily fixed by simply pointing the page to a newer, correct, page.
If you have a WordPress site, you can see that, even if you’re a bit unfamiliar, these steps are very easy and straightforward. However, if you still aren’t comfortable doing them, just contact your webmaster and tell them you want them to install these plugins, and configure them as above.