AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is an open-source project designed to ensure that websites load very quickly and easily on mobile devices. AMP pages often received preferential treatment in search results. That’s going to stop now.

The idea sounds super cool, right? An optimized (and therefore unfortunately almost identity-less) version of your page that loads in no time. And therefore often gets preferential treatment in search results. The AMP project will continue to exist, but the preferential treatment that AMP pages have received until now will disappear with Google’s next update.

The new guidelines by Google

This month (June 2021) Google is rolling out an algorithm update. This update uses a new set of guidelines to determine what ranking websites/pages receive. And according to these new guidelines, sites that use the AMP format will no longer receive preferential treatment.

In a blog post, Google shared: “The new page experience signals combine Core Web Vitals with our existing search signals, including mobile-friendliness, safe browsing, HTTPS security, and intrusive interstitial guidelines. […] With the update rolling out starting in June 2021, pages using technology other than AMP will also be eligible to appear in the Top Stories in Search mobile feature. Any page that complies with Google News’ content policy will then be eligible. When we rank the results, we prioritize pages with a great page experience. In doing so, it doesn’t matter (anymore) whether those pages use AMP or another web technology.”

The beginning and purpose of AMP

Google began pushing AMP on web builders in 2015. The technology creates a kind of stripped-down HTML page, which in theory provides a better user experience on mobile devices.

A solidly built website is often already faster than its AMP version. AMP was mainly used by marketing specialists and developers to see if it gave websites a higher ranking in Google. The new Core Web Vitals update incorporates guidelines and evaluation criteria for an optimal user experience. Google no longer considers it necessary to show an optimized version of the website because it assumes that the website itself is already sufficiently optimized and complies with the guidelines.

The AMP technology is a kind of stripped-down HTML page, which in theory provides a better user experience on mobile devices.

Redirect your old AMP pages

Want to remove AMP from your website now that you know it’s not necessarily needed anymore? Then make sure you redirect all old AMP-related URLs to the original pages. In fact, AMP pages had a slightly different URL. There are several ways to do this.

Method 1: Set up redirects manually in .htacces

If you prefer not to use a plugin to set redirects, you can set redirects via the .htaccess file on your WordPress hosting account.

First, you need to access your website using an FTP client or File Manager in cPanel. Then you need to find the .htaccess file in the root folder of the website. This file you need to edit.

There, simply add the following code at the bottom of your .htaccess file:

// Redirect AMP to non-AMP
RewriteEngine Aan
RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} (.+)/amp(.*)$
RewriteRule ^ %1/ [R=301,L]

Don’t forget to save your changes. If you are using FTP, you will then need to upload the file back to the server. You can now visit the AMP version of each post on your website to make sure the redirect is working as intended.

Method 2: Redirect plugin (WordPress)

First, you need to install and activate a Redirect plugin. Make sure you are not already using a redirect plugin. If you install a second one, it can cause conflicts and make your website inaccessible.

After activating, go to Tools > Redirection to set up redirects

First, add the following code in the Source URL field:

/(.*)\/amp

In the target URL field, you need to add the URL of your website in the following format:

https://yourdomain.com/$1

Don’t forget to replace yourdomain.com with your own domain name. Now check the Regex checkbox and select Redirections from the drop-down menu. Finally, click on the ‘Add Redirect’ button to save the changes.

After that, visit an AMP page on your website to see if the redirect works properly.

Wrap up

If your website is sufficiently optimized and meets Google’s guidelines, there’s really no reason to keep using AMP. The update went live in mid-June 2021, you’re now able to deactivate and delete plugins for AMP. The same goes for AMP containers loaded via Google Tag Manager. If you continue to use AMP anyway, it won’t hurt. But if you’d rather have your pages show up in their original styling, so can you again.