Everything You Need to Know About the AMP Project

AMP PhotoIn keeping with Google’s movement towards providing a friendlier user experience, the AMP project was created to get rid of mobile load times completely. While there have been changes to Google’s search engine algorithms in the past regarding mobile sites, this seems to take it to a new level, making it all but required to have an AMP-ready version to maintain high search engine ranking positions (SERPs).

What is AMP?

Simply put, the AMP version of your website is essentially a bare-bones framework that contains only the most important parts of what you have to offer. Google, along with many other observers, are convinced that the greatest opportunity for growth lies with mobile devices. In order to make the most out of this, websites need to be able to load quickly, even in areas that have less than optimal data coverage.

Will AMP Affect Your Website?

Google has made it clear that if your website loads slowly in a mobile browser, you are going to be penalized for it. Since AMP is at such an early stage in its development, implementing it on your site now could give you a leg-up on your competition. AMP results are at the top of search pages, meaning even if you have the top spot for a keyword, if you do not have AMP set up for your website, you will be below pages that do.

How Does AMP Work?

AMP works by using a specific type of code called AMP HTML which puts certain constraints on what can or cannot be published. Third-party Javascript code on your site will generally not load within an AMP page, since it can considerably increase loading times for someone on a mobile device. It is still possible to use third-party code on the AMP version of your site, but the code will need to fall in line with AMP guidelines. Major third-party developers such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram already have AMP-specific versions of their plug-ins so that they will continue to work on your website.

Implementing AMP on Your Website.

If your website runs on WordPress, there are a few plug-ins you can download straight from the dashboard that will do most of the work for you. One of the best, and most frequently updated, is the official Automattic/Wordpress AMP plugin, which can be found here. This plug-in creates an AMP version of all of your existing pages, which will then be indexed over the next few days.

For sites that do not run on WordPress, the process of creating AMP-compatible pages for existing content will require an overhaul of your CSS. This is something usually best left to a professional, since it can take a lot of time to do the right way.

Tracking with AMP.

Keeping track of your visitors through Google Analytics is fairly simple throughout the AMP version of your website, as you only need to add a bit of code to your pages. Other tracking programs may not work quite as easily, which is where professional help would usually come into play.