The Google AMP Project in WordPress

Google will soon start using the Core Web Vitals as part of ranking in search results. This means I need to address the speed issues of all my sites. Well, except this one.

That’s because this site uses very little as I don’t have much installed in terms of bells-and-whistles. And that’s the crux of speed issues I am facing…all of the goodies, that are currently having a positive impact on engagement.

If I remove too many, I fear it will affect my current target and return audience.

Still, I need to figure something out if I want the pages to continue to rank in Google. So, I suppose I’ll experiment with the AMP plugin available for WordPress.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

The Google AMP Project in WordPress

What is Google AMP in WordPress?

Installing the Official AMP Plugin

Testing After AMP Is Set Up

Testing on CrossingColorado.com

WordPress Table of Contents by Topic

What is Google AMP in WordPress?

The official AMP plugin, Accelerated Mobile Pages, is supposed to help site owners address issues related to mobile device users. According to the developer, anyone of any skill level should at least be able to benefit from the tool.

So, to start with, let’s see if AMP really makes a difference. I’ll use this website as a test. Although, I’m not sure how much of an impact this will make since the site doesn’t have much on it anyway.

For this test, I’ll use the experiment blog post I wrote a few weeks ago.

According to PageSpeed Insights, the site scores an 86 for mobile and a 99 for desktop systems. Which is pretty dumb considering how there’s nothing on it. But, Google wants things just so.

Mobile Devices

I think its ridiculous that we have to adhere to mobile devices. Even though these users only make up about 25% of the traffic who visit any of my websites.

Then again, I guess I am biased because of my hatred for mobile devices. I’m sorry…I just have better things to do than to glue my face to a small screen. I mean, why would I want to look at a website from a five-inch display when I have a 27-inch curved monitor to enjoy?

At any rate, the test for desktops was quite impressive.

Desktop Speed Test

So, on to the next portion of this experiment.

Installing the Official AMP Plugin

After installing the AMP plugin, it’s time to adjust the settings.

The fun part is figuring out what template mode I need. I have access to Standard, Transitional, and Reader. Unfortunately, every one of my blogs is different. So, I am almost positive it’s going to be trial and error on every one of them.

I just hope it doesn’t screw things up by switching the AMP type.

Luckily, there is a wizard available. In this experiment, I’m going to run it to see what happens. To keep it simple, I’ll use the “Non-Technically Savvy” option…though, I do feel comfortable enough in PHP, CSS, HTML, and JavaScript to make a few changes.

I’m selecting the Transitional option as I want my websites to still have their desktop components while serving a mobile view. Both will use the same theme, so at least there is that.

If I pick Reader, I can assign both desktop and mobile themes to be different. Though, I don’t want to do that until I know for sure what it does overall. I’d hate to break things on my sites.

After running the wizard, AMP is apparently enabled on the site.

Testing After AMP Is Set Up

OK, now that AMP is set up, which was an incredibly quick process, let’s take a look at speed testing.

Holy shit!

So, adding the basic AMP without making personalized adjustments, the speed score went from 86 to 98 for mobile devices! And I am almost positive I could 100 for desktop if I installed Autoptimize and added the webfont to defer.

At any rate, a 12-point jump is nothing to scoff at.

Mobile Device Test After AMP Install

That’s a good score to have, actually.

Now the fun part is seeing how much of a difference it makes for one of my much larger and more feature-rich blogs.

The cool thing is that AMP comes with Plugin Suppression. This means I can shut off certain plugins for mobile device users. This will be of great help since several elements on the site are never used by mobile visitors anyway.

The hard part is deciding which blog to add this to first.

Testing on CrossingColorado.com

I’ve decided to test the AMP plugin on CrossingColorado.com. It’s the one with the lowest traffic and less valuable if I screw something up. I’ll pick the most popular article on the site for it’s speed test.

In this test, I’ll use the article about being sick in the morning from overeating. It still gets quite a few visits after all these years.

As I suspected, the mobile test was quite poor. That’s because I have a lot on the site such as embedding Instagram and using OneSignal Push Notifications.

Mobile Test for CrossingColorado.com

If the ICC test was any indicator, the page should hit a score of 68 just by installing AMP.

I’m going to complete the process exactly how I did it before, with the wizard and Transitional options. Unfortunately, it’ll take me a while to go through the Plugin Suppression list.

I have a lot of crap installed.

At any rate, let’s see what the test results give back after the basic install of Google AMP.

And another impressive test! In fact, this one had a much higher increase than the last. After installing AMP, the score jumped 37 points for a total of 93!

After AMP Install for Mobile Devices

Though, I wonder how much of this score was from AdSense not showing or filling ad spaces. When AdSense isn’t added to a post, the score is far better. That’s because Google has an inefficient method of serving ads that doesn’t impact performance.

Which is funny when you think about it. They want you to serve ads, but their system is crap when it comes to testing performance for page rank.

I guess it’s just one of those damned-if-you-do moments.

At any rate, the AMP addition apparently made a huge impact on CrossingColorado. I still have a few tweaks to make behind the scenes, but it looks like adding AMP to the other blogs might be worthwhile.

Next Time, We’ll Have to Test this with ColoradoPlays.com.

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