What's the number one thing you can do today to improve your search rankings on Google? AMP it up! Accelerated Mobile Pages are one of the best things you can do to optimize your site for mobile and improve your Google rankings at the same time. Two birds, one stone.
How AMP Works?
The way AMP works is that Google saves a copy of your AMP-compliant pages to its own servers. Then when your page comes up in Google search results (when the user is on a mobile device) and the user clicks a link, the AMP page is loaded instead of your normal page. Try it, search for "sitegeeks" on Google using your phone or tablet. Then click the link to sitegeeks.guru. That's our AMPed up home page.
AMP speeds up the web by using only the most basic (and speediest) web technologies when loading web pages. Being hosted on Google's servers speeds it up even more. I did a quick test using GTMetrix. I analyzed our home page and it loaded in a semi-respectable 3.0 seconds. When I then analyzed the AMP version of the home page and compared the two, the results were impressive.
How Does This Help My Search Rankings
The primary purpose of AMP is mobile optimization. Mobile optimization means that your site has been designed and developed with mobile access in mind. Things like different screen sizes and mobile load times are taken into account. Google gives a ranking boost to mobile-friendly sites. This is a simple yes or no factor. There are no degrees of mobile-friendliness. You can find out whether Google counts your site as mobile-friendly by using the Mobile-Friendly Test.
In late 2016, Google began testing its mobile-first index. The term mobile-first refers to Google's search algorithms using the mobile version of a site's content to rank pages from that site and to show snippets from the site in search results. This means that searchers are going to see your site as it appears on mobile, even if searching from the desktop. While this doesn't affect ranking, it does affect how your site will look in search results.
Google has indicated that site speed is one of the factors used in its page-ranking algorithm. Since AMP pages load more quickly than your normal web pages, in most cases, this is a plus to your SEO.
How I Put AMP to Work on Site Geeks
If you are building an AMP page with straight HTML and CSS, see this tutorial on the AMP Project site. I use WordPress though, so all I did was install a couple of plugins.
The first was AMP from Automattic. This plugin creates AMP pages from all your Posts. Automattic's plugin does not create AMP pages for your WordPress Pages, however. So I added a second plugin, AMP for WP. You must install the AMP plugin from Automattic in order to run AMP for WP. AMP for WP creates AMP pages from your WordPress Pages if that setting is enabled. It also provides a lot of customization options and documentation. You can also customize each AMP Post or Page individually from the Editor panel as well as make general customizations from the AMP menu on the WordPress Dashboard.