This week, Google has started deploying an update to Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP), now allowing users to view, copy, and even share the publisher’s own links, instead of the AMP URL. Apparently, some publishers have complained to Google that their traffic was reduced because of the changing of their own URLs to those that had Google in the name when being optimized for easier viewing on mobile devices.
When Google first introduced AMP back in October of 2015, the overall objective was to speed up the process of Internet surfing on smartphones and tablet devices by providing versions of websites that are optimized for mobile, meaning they are free from third party scripts that can hinder the fast loading of web pages.
But not everybody fully understood how AMP functioned or how it was applied. Back in October of last year, a blog post claimed that AMP was allowing Google to steal traffic from publishers. What actually happened was that even though Google shows the AMP URL in the search results (which retrieves the content of the web page from Google’s cache), the traffic remains the publisher’s, and the content is still being sourced from the publisher’s website.
Some still think that it is not a perfect system. As pointed out by Search Engine Land last year, the AMP URLs would redirect readers to the publisher’s website as temporary redirects, not permanent redirects. Some have expressed concern over the idea that sans support for direct links, the bookmarked URLs might stop working in the future, that is if Google introduces some new changes. It did not help that users never actually knew how to share the links properly — when they see the AMP URL in the address box, they are hesitant in copying that link because they they were thinking it was not the real link to the page they want to go to.
Granted, it may be easy to get confused with how AMP URLs actually work — this is because the system makes use of three URLs, namely the publisher’s URL, the AMP Cache URL (but not actually seen by users), and the Google AMP Viewer URL (the AMP URL being shown in the search results).
When people want to share a link, the easy way is to retrieve the link from the address box. But that link displays a google.com address. To make sure people use the right URL when sharing a link (i.e. showing the publisher’s true URL), Google has incorporated a button on the header bar that will provide the real publisher’s URL. On top of that, this feature also lets users use their browser’s native share feature by long tapping on this link.