Subscribe with Google & AMP Are Incompatible (Mostly)

Ah, AMP… Accelerated Mobile Pages… what a sordid history.

Launched in 2015 and taking the internet by storm, AMP was thought to be the answer for a faster web experience.

The idea was that sites would use a simpler set of standards designed specifically for mobile users. Google would then cache the AMP pages (“pages” is redundant, I know) on their own network and serve them up faster that the website’s own server could.

It worked and was faster. But many of us publishers balked at giving Google that much say over our websites. We were frustrated with the ‘simpler’ standards that limited what we could offer to readers, and annoyed by the lack of dynamic content we could add to our sites. Plus… there were those nagging rumors that it was all a scheme for Google to take over the internet.

Jump to now – because it was not fully embraced, and created problems to boot, AMP is a dying standard. Google no longer favors AMP pages, no longer displays a lighting bolt icon next to AMP listings, and many publishers have dropped out of using AMP.

But it’s not completely dead. A large number of sites still use AMP.

If you are one of those still using AMP – and you want to use Subscribe with Google as your reader revenue solution – you may have hit a wall.

The JavaScript code that Google uses for Subscribe with Google is not compatible with AMP.

Google recommends not using Subscribe with Google if your entire site is build on AMP.

And if your site runs on both HTML and AMP, they suggest disabling AMP if you want to use Subscribe with Google.

That said, there may be a way to use both.

Google says you can “allow-list” the SwG code snippet on your AMP pages and it will work. However, I haven’t been able to find much in the way of AMP “allow-list” documentation and from what Google has written, it still results in an invalid AMP page. (If you actually know how to implement this though, please send me an example. I’d like to see it!)

Another potential work-around: perhaps keeping your public pages AMP enabled and making your paywalled pages non-AMP?

My 2¢ here, just discontinue AMP if you want to use Subscribe with Google.

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Chris Andrews is an avid news consumer, publisher, a Diamond Level Google News and Google Publisher Center Product Expert, a technical SEO consultant, a 3rd Degree Black Belt, the creator of the GN Publisher and RevPress WordPress Plugins, and the founder of Rev.Press.