In December 2016, Google told of plans to make it easier for users viewing accelerated mobile pages to navigate back to a publisher’s website, instead of the Google-hosted AMP pages, and it looks like they have finally made good on their promise.
AMP pages have previously been displayed after being copied from a publisher’s site and rendered from Google’s own servers. Though they claim that this process makes AMP pages faster to load and more secure, it left publishers frustrated with the difficulty users have trying to navigate directly to their own site, rather than the search engine result.
For example, when a page was opened before in the AMP format in Google, the URL was actually a Google address rather than the URL of the publisher’s site that the content originally appears on. In this case, when users tried to copy and paste or share a link from an AMP page after a Google search, it appeared to be from Google rather than the original source.
Ultimately, this was only an issue on the surface. In fact, the URLs from AMP pages that appeared to be from a Google address actually redirected back to the publisher’s website anyway, when shared outside of the search engine. Of course, this process relies on Google maintaining that system and for many publishers, having the ability to link directly to their site’s URL provides some peace of mind and reassurance.
To change this, Google has added a small link icon, what they are calling an “anchor” button, right at the top right of the AMP page. Clicking this icon will make the publisher’s URL appear so users can easily copy and paste it to share. This anchor button is in addition to the Google URL that will still appear in the address bar at the top of the page as it always has. Google also notes that if the icon is held down, it will bring up the option to share the link through social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook. This will only work in Safari, however, and not third-party browsers, like Chrome. Users will also see that beside the new icon, there are three dots which Google calls the “overflow” icon. When the icon is clicked, it links back to a Google Support page about how AMP pages actually work.
If you’re searching from Google’s iOS app, native sharing is already available, while those using Google search through its Android app can expect the update within the next few weeks.
Google’s hope is that these changes will please publishers whose content is available in the AMP format within their search results. In the future, they’re also looking at ways the use the Web Share API to provide sharing directly in the AMP heading, assuming publishers get on board.