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Disable AMP pages in WordPress

 
 
Disable AMP pages in WordPress
Yes, I do.

Birth

On 7 October 2015, Google submitted Accelerated Mobile Pages Project, what we know as the AMP and in 2016 they went live.

Under the reasonable argument of improving the performance of mobile pages they explained it like this:

“Every time a web page takes too long to load, you lose a reader and the opportunity for revenue through advertising or subscriptions. This is because advertisers on these websites struggle to get consumers to pay attention to their ads when pages load so slowly that people abandon them altogether”.

“The goal is to dramatically improve mobile web performance. We want web pages with rich content, such as videos, animations and graphics, to work alongside smart ads and load instantly. We also want the same code to work across multiple platforms and devices so that content can appear everywhere in an instant, no matter what type of phone, tablet or mobile device is being used.”

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

According to Google, the project, based on AMP HTML, started as a new open framework made entirely from existing web technologies, which made it easy to build lightweight web pages. Shortly afterwards, we realised that this was not so easy, it was easy, but because almost any customisation was limited.

AMP had an initial group of technology partners including Twitter, Pinterest, WordPress.com, Adobe Analytics, Parse.ly, Chartbeat and LinkedIn who planned to integrate AMP HTML pages.

AMP, narrowing down the web

Since 2015 many things have changed, such as hosting server resources and connection speeds, however AMP has not evolved in the same way.

Moreover, the promise of being able to build fast pages was partly misleading because even though Google announced that AMP could be served from your server, it is still taking over these pages for a change. AMP is served from Google’s servers, using open source code, but managed by Google and Google alone, something that for many goes against the philosophy of the web.

But if it improved speed, it had to be tested. Again, this was also relative. If your website was slow, the improvement was noticeable, but nowadays there are templates that are the same or even much faster than AMP pages.

Another negative aspect is that it forces to “lock” the mobile pages to the Google ecosystem and its interests and with very reduced design possibilities, at least for an average user, although they can increase the impressions they usually give an almost absurd CTR and exaggerated bounce rates.

As if this were not enough, those who visit an AMP page have the sensation of being in front of a page that is completely different from the desktop version, which for the brand image is nothing less than a botch job. Even the possibility of integrating basic things for usability and navigation disappears, or becomes very complicated.

Little room for manoeuvre

To get AMP up and running there are basically two plugins, the official and another free that quickly saw the market to offer paid extensions for all those things, many of them basic, that were missing. There are also so many others paid plugins.

AMP is not a positioning factor

AMP is not, nor has it ever been, a positioning factor in itself, it is the loading speed and other factors, but it did offer the attraction of being able to appear in better positions in certain Google service results

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

In July 2021, Google announced the disappearance of the icon that distinguished AMP pages in mobile search results, it also disappeared from the results within the News carousel, and from the day it launched the Page Experience Updatewas launched, having AMP is no longer a requirement to be able to be in these carousels.

Uninstall AMP

Five days ago I said goodbye to AMP pages, there are several guides on how to remove them without leaving broken links and killing your rankings.

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

The best advice, if you decide to use AMP, is to do it using the official plugin with query parameter mode or the legacy transitional with query string matched URL structure. This will allow you to uninstall the plugin if you want to get rid of them tomorrow without having to do anything else

To do this, make sure to check“Delete plugin data uninstall” in the last option of the plugin settings. This will delete the configuration data of the validated URLs and the transients used to store the image dimensions and parsed stylesheets.

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

After uninstalling and deleting the plugin, the AMP urls will redirect to your canonical and over a period of a few days to a couple of weeks, Google will de-index the AMP urls from their search engine

If you want to speed it up a bit, or rather alert Google to revisit your addresses, you can resubmit your sitemap from Search Console.

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

If you also want to make sure they are redirecting correctly, you can use this snippet and then visit them to check that the ?amp=1 pages redirect to their canonical version.

/ Redirigir de /?amp a su canonical /
add_action( ‘template_redirect’, function() {
if ( isset( $_GET[‘amp’] ) ) {
wp_safe_redirect( remove_query_arg( ‘amp’ ), 301 );
exit;
}
} );

For the /amp/ mode it is not as simple as uninstalling and deleting the plugin and requires doing a redirect from .htaccess or pulling a redirect plugin. You can read the steps here or here if you don’t use the official plugin.

First effects of uninstalling AMP

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

The first immediate effect is that I stopped wasting a lot of hours troubleshooting the string of errors related to AMP pages that I received almost every day in Search Console. There were so many of them, and sometimes so un-fixable, that I went so far as to mute the notifications.

The most important thing, at least in my case, is that the time on page is starting to increase and also the number of pages visited per session and therefore the bounce rate has started to decrease.

Although it is still a bit early to have enough data to serve as an element of comparison, I haven’t found anything that I can consider negative when detaching from AMP pages.

In terms of loading speed, I have even managed to achieve a modest reduction within the little room for improvement that was already left.

Disable AMP pages in WordPress

To sum up

Not everything about AMP pages is bad. If your website is slow, you don’t have much idea about optimisation and design and you don’t care about the limitations that come with it, it’s a quick and easy option to improve the speed of your mobile pages. If, on the other hand, your native mobile version is fast and you keep optimising it, you don’t need AMP and can achieve better results.


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