Google continues its relentless efforts to enhance user experience by introducing new regulations at regular intervals. This time it has chosen to emphasise the need for content parity between accelerated mobile pages (AMP) and canonical pages, to make mobile search results more meaningful. Starting February 2018, the content featured on AMP and their canonical equivalents will need to match closely, if not 100 percent, for the AMP to qualify for AMP-specific search features. There are, however, no punitive actions planned against websites violating this rule.
Though Google has made it clear that AMP is not a ranking factor, non-compliance definitely is bound to influence visibility as the page will not find a place in ‘top stories’ or other slots in the search results earmarked for AMP. In case of a glaring content mismatch, AMP most likely will not figure in the search results. More importantly, the search results will feature the canonical page (non-AMP) instead, which in all probability may take more time to load, eventually causing the user to move away from the page.
So, if your site already has AMPs, it makes sense to ensure that your efforts don’t go waste.
Google will leave a manual action message for the webmaster in the ‘search console’, in case any violations are observed; thus, giving you a chance to resolve any content discrepancies or mismatches and get the AMP back on the search results.
Although AMP has been in use for over a year, the enforcement of AMP, canonical page content parity comes in the wake of non-compliance that has been observed in select contexts, where “teaser pages” with limited content are being featured to redirect users to another site. According to Google, the AMP page of a news article presented just a short excerpt of the story, prompting the user to click on a link to view the full article.
While AMP is ideal for trending topics and the latest news, the concept being misused to simply generate interest and redirect the user to another page for more details defeats the main purpose of the open source initiative. Further, users are required to click on a couple of links before they reach the main story or content.
With about four months time left to detect and fix content mismatch between non-AMP and AMP versions, it is important for you publishers to act in a timely manner to retain the hard-earned visibility you’ve managed to achieve by adopting AMP.