When Google first launched AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages), its open source initiative to speed up the mobile web, the project focused on getting publishers on board. AMP pages were featured in the “Top Stories” carousel and soon adoption of AMP grew beyond news publishers to other industries such as e-commerce, recipe sites, and local listings. Ebay has AMP’d up 15 million product category pages, Pinterest is getting ready to roll out AMP support for pins, and Reddit is also serving AMP pages.
At the end of Septemeber Google announced that it has added AMP indicators to mobile search results. Users can now easily tell which results will load faster than others by looking for the AMP lightning bolt icon. The pressure is on for website owners to make their sites AMP-ready. Google said that AMP results are not yet prioritized over others, but page speed is factored into results.
The search engine’s benchmarks demonstrate that AMP results provide a much faster experience for mobile users than pages that have not been optimized according to AMP specifications:
Today, the median time it takes for an AMP page to load from Google Search is less than one second. Beyond just saving you time with fast loading pages, AMP will also save you data — AMP pages on Search use 10 times less data than the equivalent non-AMP page.
In response with Google AMPing up mobile search results, WordPress.com has pushed out a major update to its support for AMP pages. According to Automattic representative Mark Armstrong, AMP pages have been “automatically turned on for every WordPress.com site and a sizable number of VIP publishers also turned it on manually.” This means that tens of millions of sites are now, according to Automattic’s tests, “up to 89% faster than normal faster” when reached via mobile search.
The update also gives WordPress.com users the ability to customize the design for AMP pages using live preview in the Customizer. Users can select between a light and dark color screen and use a color-picker to select header text and link colors.
Automattic’s AMP plugin for self-hosted WordPress users has been updated to include support for tweaking the AMP template in the Customizer by navigating to Appearance > AMP. The plugin, which has more than 90,000 active installs, had not been updated for the past two months until today. During that time it accumulated many negative reviews due to lack of customizability, bugs, and no support for pages. Several users have reported that Google sent them a notification saying the AMP pages automatically created by the plugin are not compliant.
The AMP plugin’s changelog details the changes in 0.4, which include support for inline styles, a fix for broken YouTube URLs, no more fatal errors when tags are not supported by post type, and handful of other improvements. The release also introduces a new filter
amp_pre_get_permalink for creating a custom AMP permalink. Pages are still not supported, but the plugin’s FAQ tab indicates that Automattic is working on it.