Taking Google AMP to the next level

There are a dozen different things Google wants you to do with your WordPress website so that it ranks well in Google’s search results.

Google wants you to protect your visitors’s privacy, they want you to have a mobile-friendly layout, and they want you to have a website that can be loaded quickly over a mobile data connection.

This post focuses on the third requirement, and takes a look at how to get the most out of Google AMP .

BTW, this post was mainly written for WordPress sites, and self-hosted WP sites in particular, but it still has some useful info for sites hosted on WordPress.com or elsewhere.

Background

AMP, or Accelerated Mobile Pages, is Google’s official solution to the problems of mobile web browsing and bloated web content. AMP takes a webpage’s content and pares it down to just the basics – the article and headline, basically – and then serves that to visitors on request.

Google launched AMP in late 2015 and quickly started giving AMP pages preference in mobile search results.

That means if you don’t have AMP working on your site, you need to install it. And if you do have AMP installed on your site, you need to make sure it is working fully.

So let’s get started

As a first step, you need to install the official AMP plugin.

If you have a site on WordPress.com, the AMP plugin was already installed automatically, but everyone else will need to go to the plugin menu and select the “add new” option.

Type  in AMP automattic into the search bar, press enter, and you should see these two plugins at the top of the search results:

Go ahead and install both plugins, and then

Activate them both.

The plugin on the right (AMP) is the official plugin, and the other plugin (AMP for WP) gives you all sorts of useful options like adding comment sections to AMP pages, menus, adding a site logo, and giving the AMP version of a site a blog-style homepage.

You set up the first plugin when you activated it, but it is well worth your time to completely set up the second plugin by enabling the parts that you want to use; it will make your site oh so much more useful to visitors.

Send me an email if you need help with this.

Do you know what is also worth your time?

Finding AMP Errors

Installing AMP is merely the first step; step two is checking your pages to make sure that they are being displayed correctly under AMP.

There are several ways to do this, and your choices vary depending on your technical skill and the size of your site.

  • If you only have a handful of pages and posts, you can try the unofficial AMP validator. Simply copy the URL for each of your pages or posts, add /amp/ to the end, and then paste the new URL in the form on this page.
  • If you are running Chrome or Opera, you can install a browser extension and then simply visit each page on your site, add the /amp/ string, and then reload the page. The icon for the extension will tell you if there are errors.
  • Google Search Console scans sites for AMP support. If you use this service then after a few days it will notice you now have AMP on your site. It will count the AMP pages, scan them, and list the errors.
  • For WordPress.com users with a lot of blog posts, I would recommend using the Google Search Console method for finding errors.

The official AMP site list more ways you can use to validate AMP pages on your site; some are rather technical.

Fixing AMP Errors

Here’s where things get complicated. Fixing errors on AMP pages is kinda like troubleshooting obscure software settings – you need to have a fair degree of technical skill (not to mention a lot of patience) to pull it off.

With the exception of WordPress.com users – most users on this service will only have to worry about AMP errors in their content and not the theme, plugins, code, etc.

An expert at Google has posted a short troubleshooting guide, and the developers of AMPforWP have also released a guide that uses Google Search Console to identify AMP errors and explains how to fix them.

Why does this matter?

This may not be easy, but you should fix the AMP errors.

The thing is, Google gives AMP pages preference in mobile search, and it will ignore AMP page with errors. So any page with errors is essentially useless for its SEO role.

Your visitors with thank you for it, too.

About Nate Hoffelder 32 Articles
After six plus years of running The Digital Reader, Nate is a veteran web publisher with experience in design, maintenance, recovery, and troubleshooting. What little he doesn't know, he can learn.

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