How to Properly Turn Off Google AMP on WordPress Without Losing Traffic and SEO Ranking

Over a year ago, Google led an initiative which created a new web format known as AMP. AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages and most people in the industry believe this was a direct response to Facebook’s Instant Articles.

The central goal of AMP project was to increase page load times and allows users to have the best experience. The AMP project has been widely adopted by other bigger social media companies such as Twitter, Linkedin, and Pinterest.

Even though the project has it’s obvious benefits, it might not be suited for all websites. As a best practice in general, all pages should use the principles that AMp try to adapt to help improve page load time for the user without limiting the functionality of the Web.

We have had clients come to us with issues regarding AMP. Google AMP basically stores a very basic version of your web page on Google caching servers, once the user loads the page Google loads a cached version of the page with their URL.

Whilst, this might sound like the perfect scenario for saving load on your servers, the URL that appears on the user’s browser is a Google URL. Google recently added a way to copy the original link of the page. This, together with the fact that the pages are cached on Google’s servers without real-time updates sometimes posses real issues to users.

The lack of custom javascript on AMP pages also affect the way users convert as well as other metrics such as page views, bounce rate, content recirculation etc.

In this post, we are going to discuss how to disable AMP on your WordPress website. Whilst this might sound like a very simple process of just disabling a plugin, there are other implications such as setting up redirects and not losing SEO rankings as a result of that.

1. Disabling the AMP Plugin

This is by far the easiest step. Whilst this can be done first, it is important that the other steps be performed right after the prevent any loss of traffic.

There are a couple of WordPress plugins that allow you to add AMP support to your website. The basic settings remain the same regardless of what plugin you are using. To deactivate the AMP plugin. Simply visit the plugins page and click on the deactivate link below AMP plugin and all associated AMP extensions. In the screenshot below you will notice that we have the AMP analytics plugin installed as well. We will go ahead and deactivate it as well.

2. URL Redirection for AMP pages to Non-AMP Pages

When you disable AMP all existing AMP URLs will stop working. This is because AMP URLs appends /amp to the end of the URL.
Also, if you have had your website indexed in a while all the old links from Google will start to 404.

To fix this problem, you need to redirect all traffic to AMP pages to the regular pages. We will cover two different approaches to set up redirects for Google AMP. The first one is using the WordPress redirection plugin and the second one using a redirection rule on your server. We will cover both Apache and Nginx servers. You can choose the one that’s most convenient for you.

2a. Redirecting AMP pages using .htaccess rules

If you are running Apache with most hosts then there is high probability that you can add the redirection rule to your htaccess and you should be good to go. To so this, just ssh into your webhost or using
cPanel, you should simple add the code below to your htaccess file:

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

If you are running nginx instead, then you need to use the following redirect rule instead. Simply add the rule your engine config.

# nginx configuration

location / {
    rewrite (.+)/amp(.*)$ /%1/ redirect;

To explain what the rules above do, they check the end of the URL to see it’s an amp URL and issue a 301 redirect. A 301 redirect is what we call a permanent redirect from one URL to another.
301 redirects send traffic to a different URL than the one they originally visited seamlessly.

2b. Redirecting using the Redirection Plugin

If for some reason you can use the above method, like with most WordPress problems, there’s a plugin that you can just install which enables you to redirect without touching cpanel or ssh.

This plugin is called the redirection plugin. You can download it from here. Install it and activate it. You can then access it from the Tools > Redirection menu on the left control panel of your WordPress website.

Now, you simply need to add the redirection rule for the AMP URLs like in the screenshot below and save it.

At this point, you should be able to visit any AMP page on your website and see it redirect to the regular page. It might take about a week for Google to fully stop showing AMP links within search results. We hope this article helped you properly disable Google AMP in WordPress without losing traffic.

Feel free to reach out to our support crew in the case of any issues, we offer 24/7 WordPress support at a ridiculously low price. If you liked this article, then please subscribe to our mailing list for WordPress video tutorials. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.