Publishers have a lot of mixed feeling about AMP (accelerated mobile pages), but it’s pretty safe to say that consumers enjoy web pages that load faster and are less cluttered. What’s less safe to say is that the experience on AMP-optimized pages is always better content-wise. One of the thing AMP sucks at is grabbing readers and letting them explore the site further after reading an article and this has been really frustrating to a lot of sites. Some publications have tried to get around this by publishing two versions of web pages and linking them together with some kind of “read more here” call-to-action on the AMP-optimized page.
This allows sites to have their cake and eat it too by enabling web pages to pop up in AMP-only sections of Google while also inclining visitors to visit their full site to get the total experience. This ultimately really sucks for users and Google doesn’t like it either, so today the company announced they’re making changes over the next few months so that the fuller experience gets prioritized and users won’t be opening up AMP teaser pages.
With this move Google is basically letting publishers know that they can’t have it both ways, and that if they aren’t going to give the full experience they’re not going to get the prioritized real estate in search results. The company detail in a blog post that starting Feb. 1, 2018, it’s going to be a requirement that content on AMP matches what’s on the publisher’s site.
From then on out, if Google finds out a page is doing so, they just won’t direct traffic to the AMP page. Google reiterates here that utilization of AMP doesn’t affect overall Search ranking, but that’s sort of just semantics given that you have to use AMP to be in the Top Stories carousel which is always among the first search results.
Google says there are currently 25 million domains using AMP and that the above scenario where the AMP page is used as a “teaser” only constitutes a “small number of cases.”