AMP is Dead. Miley Cyrus Was Only Loosely Involved.

AMP is Dead Featured Image

Google recently announced that any publisher passing the new Page Experience algorithm will be considered for the top story carousels in Google News.

This shift comes after years of Google pushing AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) as a key ranking signal for Google News publishers.

Suffice it to say, times have changed.

While many SEO outlets predicted that this effectively marks the end of AMP, Mediavine decided to put this theory to the test with The Hollywood Gossip.

Our very own celebrity gossip site passes Page Experience on mobile and desktop, and gets significant traffic from Google News, making it a good test case.

We officially removed AMP from THG on December 9, 2021, and have been monitoring traffic, search rankings and revenue ever since. The conclusion?

AMP is dead. And unlike when Miley Cyrus killed pageviews, she was not the perpetrator. 

If anything, the teen crooner turned twerking, tongue-wagging pop star helped push THG to run AMP in the first place. So she’s more like an accomplice.

Don’t blame Miley, though. This time it’s Trellis coming in like a wrecking ball.

What This Means For Publishers

For publishers not in Google News, you can safely kill AMP immediately, if not sooner.

The benefits of AMP have pretty much always been strongest for Google News publishers, as they’ve been eligible for the top articles carousel.

Now that Core Web Vitals and Page Experience are good enough for those same Google carousels, the use case for AMP is virtually gone.

NOTE: More importantly, if you aren’t in Google News, get in there. Thanks to the recently launched Google Publisher Center, it’s easier than ever to submit your site.

To be in Google News, you don’t actually need to be a news website. The Hollywood Gossip is not The Hollywood News, after all. (Food Fanatic and TV Fanatic are in there, as well.) Perhaps “News” is a misnomer and it should be called Google Today or Google Lifestyle?

But that’s for an Internet Giant even bigger than Mediavine to assess, not us. Anyway. Now that everyone is a Google News publisher, back to our regularly scheduled program.

Can I Fire AMP Literally Today?

Whoa. Deep breaths. Before you officially axe AMP, you need to be passing Core Web Vitals and Page Experience, ideally on both mobile and desktop. Are you?

Find out with our Page Experience checklist. If you have technical resources, we have a great step-by-step guide on how we did this for The Hollywood Gossip and Food Fanatic.

Page experience element breakdown

If you don’t, we have a great WordPress theme framework that does this for you. Perhaps you’ve heard us mention Trellis?

Next Steps

There are no next steps once you’ve removed AMP from your site. No need to notify Google of anything.

As long as your website is submitting to Google News, you’re properly setting Article Schema, and are passing Page Experience, your traffic should stay the same, or even increase, as was the case with THG.

More importantly, since non-AMP pages are eligible to run the full set of Mediavine ads, including the Universal Player, your RPMs should increase.

Sound too good to be true? Still nervous to take the plunge? Wait until we show you the results from our THG experiment!

What Happened When We Ditched AMP

First, let’s head to Google Search Console, to see what happened to our Search Appearance.

Under Performance > Search Results, let’s check on Search Appearance below. Clicking on AMP Article, you’ll see a decline. 

However, you should notice a huge jump in “Good page experience,” which are the pages replacing AMP.

In fact, Google offers a chart which compares them; you can see how we more than made up for the lack of AMP in Google Search results:

As for actual Google News traffic? 

That’s more complicated, since for many sites, traffic is seasonal or just plain unpredictable, e.g. heavily based on what Ye is saying about Kim that day.

If you do a rough comparison, though, there wasn’t much of a dip; you’ll see that for the most part, it’s been pretty consistent.

Spoiler: if things weren’t working, traffic would have plummeted. The slight drop you’re seeing is simply just due to a slow news (gossip?) week. 

Since Google Discover and organic search can also show AMP, if you have those pages, let’s do a quick ranking check there as well.

Discover is a little tricky since we didn’t really have 2020 traffic for a YoY comparison, but if you look at 12/9 before and after, you won’t see a significant loss.

If anything, CTR went up after taking down AMP, while the impressions and clicks continued to ebb and flow as Discover always does:

As far as organic traffic goes, we again saw no drop from 12/10 onwards in position, and if anything, there’s been an increase in rankings after the switch.

In short, it’s pretty safe to say we had no noticeable decrease in regular Google Search, Google News, or Discover.

If anything, one could argue we went up in all three. But that’s not where the biggest gains were or why we’re celebrating the death of AMP on THG. Let’s talk $$$.

RPM Impact

Disclaimer: Every website’s traffic is different. 

Disclaimer #2: Comparison is the thief of joy.

With that said, on The Hollywood Gossip, our Smartphone and Tablet traffic has monetized nearly 2.5x better than it did with AMP.

Some sites may see an even higher differential. There are many factors involved, but the increased number of ads you’ll be able to run now vs. with AMP make this a no-brainer.

THG is only one site, but it makes a compelling case. Nearly 25% of its traffic was flowing to AMP. That kind of boost on that amount of traffic has made a material difference.

With a near 60% increase in RPM, you can see why we’re shouting it from the rooftops.

TL;DR

AMP is Dead.

Spending the time (or installing Trellis) to pass Page Experience is worth it. So is applying to Google News, if you haven’t already.

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