This post was originally published on Avvo’s Lawyernomics blog.
One of several awesome things about the Accelerated Mobile Pages Project is that its name is literal. This is a relief because many of Google’s projects are named after animals, which makes things confusing from the get-go.
Here are the key points for AMP:
- AMP wants to create a faster mobile web browsing experience
- AMP is for news content, articles, and blog posts, not your landing pages
- AMP is in its infancy so adoption now means early adoption
There’s the 30-thousand foot explanation. If you’re interested, you can read about the technical details here.
What should lawyers and legal marketers do with AMP?
Kevin O’Keefe suggests a cautious approach to adoption of AMP, explaining that most legal and professional services publishers likely have higher priorities:
Most professionals have a lot to work on with their existing technology. A significant amount of firms are not even using responsive design which enables a pleasant mobile reading experience. Others have poor hosting and technology resulting in slow load time. Some firms bury their publishing in graphic laden websites, as opposed to publishing for the net on independent sites.
I have no doubt that O’Keefe’s advice is valid for many lawyers and legal marketers. However, that doesn’t mean the technology isn’t beneficial or that early adoption doesn’t have its share of advantages.
How to set up AMP on WordPress
For the adventurous among you, I’ve outlined the process for implementing AMP on your WordPress site. I’ve also included instructions for making sure your AMP pages show up in your Google Analytics reports, which is, of course, crucial if you hope to measure how AMP impacts the performance of your posts.
Step 1. Download and activate AMP plugin
I recommend the AMP Plugin from Automattic.
Step 2. Add Google Analytics
This is a critical step. If you’re using AMP but not gathering any data, how will you determine if it’s worthwhile?
To add your Google Analytics code to your AMP page, open your theme’s function.php file. Next, add this code to the file.
Caution: Before making changes to your function.php, understand that this is an essential file to your WordPress theme, so changes should be made with caution.
Additional documentation is available at https://github.com/Automattic/amp-wp.
Step 3. Validate AMP
Next, choose a blog post and add /amp/ to the end of the URL. You should see the AMP version of the page:
- Regular version: /increase-traffic-gsc-keyword-data/
- AMP version: /increase-traffic-gsc-keyword-data/amp/
Assuming the AMP version is displaying, in your browser add #development=1 to the end of the AMP URL, like so:
Then, right click on the page and select “Inspect.” Then, click “Console”:
Step 4. Validate Schema
It’s important that your AMP pages contain valid schema markup. At this time, the best way to ensure this in WordPress is to download and activate the Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP plugin.
Once this is installed, validate your schema using the Google Structured Data Testing Tool.
When I did this, I got an error on the publisher logo. If you get the same error, add this code to the functions file underneath the code you added during step 2. This will allow you to explicitly set your publisher logo.
I have AMP pages. Yay! Now what?
As of the date this post was written, Google is only displaying AMP pages in mobile news carousel results:
So, right now, there are only two ways for users to access your AMP content:
- If your AMP content makes its way into a Google mobile news carousel result and gets clicked
- If you share your AMP URL directly through social media, newsletters, emails, or any other way you share links
As an SEO, I am hopeful that mobile users will soon be served AMP content by default. I asked John Mueller, Google’s webmaster trends analyst, about this on Twitter:
Based on John’s response (and on logic), my guess is that soon mobile users will be served the AMP version of content by default, assuming AMP is configured properly. This, of course, would make AMP implementation a must for publishers who care about giving their mobile audience the fastest experience possible.
This could also have a significant impact on SEO. We know that user behavior signals impact how Google ranks search results. If AMP does indeed create an improved user experience by way of its blazing fast speed, its implementation could benefit your SEO as well.