Google will stop letting sites use AMP format to bait and switch readers

Google today announced a forthcoming update to its Accelerated Mobile Pages, or AMP, web format that aims to discourage website owners from misusing the service. The company says that, starting in February 2018, AMP pages must contain content nearly identical to that of the standard page they’re replicating.

Currently, because AMP pages load faster and more clutter-free versions of a website, they naturally contain both fewer ads and less links to other portions of a site. That’s led some site owners to publish two versions of a webpage: a standard page and an AMP-specific one that acts a teaser of sorts that directs users to the original. That original page, or canonical page in Google parlance, is by nature a slower loading page containing more ads and with a potentially lower bounce rate, which is the percentage of viewers who only view one page before leaving.

Now, Google is cracking down on that behavior. “AMP was introduced to dramatically improve the performance of the web and deliver a fast, consistent content consumption experience,” writes Ashish Mehta, an AMP product manager. “In keeping with this goal, we'll be enforcing the requirement of close parity between AMP and canonical page, for pages that wish to be shown in Google Search as AMPs.” Google already includes a link button at the top of an AMP page should a user wish to redirect to the standard page, which is sometimes necessary for accessing a site’s homepage or the comment section of a news site.

The company stresses that using AMP does not affect the search ranking of a given URL. Yet publishing in AMP and abiding by its rules is required to earn placement in Google search’s Top Stories carousel, which can drive significant web traffic. “Additionally, we will notify the webmaster via Search console as a manual action message and give the publisher the opportunity to fix the issue before its AMP page can be served again,” Mehta writes.

Comments

Here to say AMP is the worst.

Okay…?

Here to support you.

Google has been using GA stats to push AMP onto their clients.

Here to ask: "Why?"

I keep hearing that it sucks on iOS, but it’s pretty great on Android so shrug.

I agree. On The Verge itself, you can’t even read comments in the AMP version of the site. Also no easy way to access the regular version unless you copy and paste the URL, then manually remove the "amp" part. A pain in the ass

JSYK, If you tap the paperclip icon on the AMP header, it will drop down a clickable canonical URL

You don’t see the header when you open a AMP page from inside an app like Twitter or Nuzzel.

If the header is missing, you can refresh the page (using pull-to-refresh) and the header will appear. Works for me at least.

I absolutely hate this. I wouldn’t have a problem with AMPs if you could click the paperclip when in apps like Twitter, as you can on Safari.

Maybe The Verge is not following the new rule?

Yeah, you know it’s bad when the Verge does this exact thing (hiding the comments section on the AMP version of the page, provides no clear link to the original to view the comments, etc) and they don’t even acknowledge it in this update.

I get why people don’t like surrendering their content to Google’s rules, but I’m afraid that so far the content providers have, by and large, proven untrustworthy (link bait articles, excessive advertising obscuring content, unnecessary paging through articles to increase page views, etc) so I’m ok with Google stepping up their approach to police their behaviour a bit.

all AMP pages have a link to the original in the header. tap the link icon.

You don’t see the header when you open a AMP page from inside an app like Twitter or Nuzzel.

I hate it too. It should be an option for us to activate/deactivate.

You probably have a fast phone. For people with older/cheaper/slower phones clicking AMP links is much, much better. And it is an open platform that can be hosted by anyone as opposed to some of the alternatives.

A rare moment in history for me to support the evil google empire

Support them in their moves to further control the internet?

Unsure how this is a move to do that…

AMP pages make it much easier for Goggle to collect tracking data.

Interesting! How so? I didn’t know an amp page required google analytics to be added but perhaps it does. I would imagine someone in the community would rip that out pretty quick though…

Are AMP pages actually smaller (i.e. do they use less data) or are they just coded differently to load faster?

They basically limit what developers can do in particular ways such that they are much more performant. Other than that it is just a plain old website more or less. Just has limitations. It is really great for folks with old/slow/crappy phones on slow networks, but kind of sucks for people with fast phones on fast networks. Most verge readers are the latter so people hate it here.

so does really using amp affects seo of the site?!!! I thought it was one of google ranking factors!

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