Many of us were checking to see if we could spot non-AMP content in the top stories carousel and then on Monday some of us started to see this happening.
What it looks like. Here is a screenshot I was able to capture with the help of Glenn Gabe:
History. Back in 2016, Google said that only AMP pages could show up in the Google mobile version of top stories in Search. LastMay, Google let some local news providers for COVID-19 related stories bypass this requirement.
Now that the Page Experience is live, Google no longer requires AMP for the top stories news section. You just need to make sure your pages do well in terms of the Page Experience scores but AMP is not a requirement.
AMP still can show in top stories. AMP can and will still be displayed in the Google Top Stories section after this update. In fact, Google’s Rudy Galfi told us that the majority of AMP pages already perform very well across all the page experience factors. But if you do not have AMP, then those non-AMP pages can now also rank well in Top Stories.
Google added, “alongside this change, page experience will become a ranking factor in Top Stories, in addition to the many factors assessed. As before, pages must meet the Google News content policies to be eligible. Site owners who currently publish pages as AMP, or with an AMP version, will see no change in behavior – the AMP version will be what’s linked from Top Stories.”
Why we care. This change now opens up more publishers to be able to show up in the Top Stories carousel section on mobile. That means more competition for your traffic and your keywords. But it also means that you can optimize your non-AMP pages to do well in the mobile Top Stories section and outrank your competitors that may have decided to use AMP. It also means that if you dislike using AMP and maintaining AMP pages, you can do away with them and have your normal mobile pages rank in the Top Stories section.