By removing AMP as one of the criteria for being highlighted, Google is making changes to the “top stories” area of search results.
When a user searches for a trending news story, the “top stories” section first displays in the search results.
Google has only listed AMP pages in that section since 2016. That situation will soon change.
This modification will take effect early in the next year, at which time Google will likewise modify the criteria for inclusion in its “top stories” section.
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Google will also include the recently disclosed page experience signal in its ranking standards for top stories.
Google continues to support AMP
It is not a sign that Google is less committed to supporting AMP and that AMP is no longer a requirement for top articles.
After this change takes effect, Google says it will still support AMP and link to AMP pages when they are available.
AMP pages may still be included in the top stories section, but they won’t be the only ones.
Referred to: Google’s Best Practices for AMP Pages’ URL Structure
Is this modification already in effect?
Google may already be experimenting with placing content in the top stories section other than AMP pages.
Our non-AMP articles frequently show up in the top stories section, as Search Engine Journal has observed.
The top stories part of a typical website can be seen in the following example. Since the lightning bolt icon is absent, you can know it is not an AMP.
It’s therefore intriguing to learn that there would be a change to top stories because it seems as though the adjustment has already been implemented to some degree.
But Google is constantly testing new ideas, so perhaps that is what we have been seeing lately.
However, there are several restrictions to not using AMP.
The AMP pages have a huge image and their favicon displayed, in contrast to Google merely displaying the title for our website in the example above.
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When this update goes live, it’s not yet known how non-AMP pages will appear in top stories. Hopefully, Google will have improved consistency by then.