It might not be the best idea to migrate to a new domain name and at the same time also drop your AMP pages. A Google SEO hangout with John Mueller has one case where a site migrated to a new domain back in September and at the same time dropped AMP and has not seen the site’s traffic recover yet.
This came up at the 35 minute mark into the hangout where Stijn Berkhaus explained that they did a “website migration three months ago to a new domain.” At the same time he said that AMP was enabled on the old domain but not the new one. Now his site no longer ranks well in the top stories carousel in Google Search. He said “my old AMP articles are always ranked in Google Top Stories” but the new site does not.
And yes, we know AMP is no longer required for top stories but at the same time, you still need to have a good page experience score to be in AMP – which his site does he said.
John said that he believes the site should fix itself in a about a month or so. He said it is complex when you do a “domain migration and switching off AMP at the same time,” adding “especially with something like Top Stories, that might be a little bit confusing.”
He believes the site is on the right track but John goes on to explain the page experience report is showing data, in fact, a lot of good scores in the 90s for core web vitals and the site has field data.
So John thinks it will just take longer because it is a new domain and it will take more time. John added that it can take time for Google to trust a domain name and quality signals just take time. He said quality signals “take a lot of time for us to be fairly certain that we can trust them.”
John then ended saying if the site is not showing up in top stories in a month, to reach back out to him.
Here is the video embed:
Here is the transcript:
STIJN BERKHAUS: Hi. I did a website migration three months ago to a new domain. I just cloned the whole website. I had all internal and external links updated and the redirected to the new one.
I had AMP enabled on the old one, and my old AMP articles are always ranked in Google Top Stories. So now my new one is not. I have AMP disabled right now on my new domain, because I didn’t like it and it gives too much trouble. I don’t want to use it anymore. But AMP is not needed to include in Top Stories right now. So my question is why my new domain is not ranked in Google Top Stories. I want to add to that I rank on the Google page on my main keyword on top, like, number two. And also, my articles are shown in Google News app and on Google Discovery. So I have quite a strong authority on my main keyword. So I don’t understand why I’m not displayed in Google Top Stories. Can you explain that?
JOHN MUELLER: I don’t know. It’s hard to say I think if you’re doing a domain migration and switching off AMP at the same time, then especially with something like Top Stories, that might be a little bit confusing. But it sounds like otherwise, things are being picked up well. So probably, you’re on the right track there. The thing with Top Stories in particular, is it’s an organic search feature. And it’s not something that the site just gets because they deserve it, but it’s more that we try to figure out what we should be showing in a Top Stories section. And sometimes that can be more, sometimes that can be less, sometimes that includes content from individual sites or individual types of articles, and sometimes less so.
What I would consider doing here is on the one hand. On the one hand, giving it a little bit more time. The other thing is to double-check things around the page experience setting, because like we mentioned in the blog post, when we turned that off, we essentially said, well, pages with a very good page experience score, they can essentially appear in Top Stories as well. So it’s not the case that we would take any kind of page and show it in the Top Stories, but rather we would use the page experience score almost like as a ranking factor to determine what we would show within the Top Stories section.
He goes on to explain the page experience report is showing data, in fact, a lot of good scores in the 90s for core web vitals and the site has field data. So John thinks it will just take longer because it is a new domain and it will take more time. John added that it can take time for Google to trust a domain name and quality signals just take time. He said quality signals “take a lot of time for us to be fairly certain that we can trust them.”
John asked him to touch base in a month if things have not improved.
Here is how Glenn Gabe summed it up:
Want to change domain names AND drop AMP? Be very careful when combining multiple variables -> Site changes domain names, drops AMP, & loses all top stories visibility for 3+ months (still not back). @johnmu says give it more time. It could work itself out https://t.co/LziFz3e255 pic.twitter.com/sEYSVTM6Vl
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) January 3, 2022
Even more via @johnmu: There is nothing manual with Top Stories. It’s an organic search feature and it can change over time. It can be tricky with quality signals and can take a lot of time for Google to collect them. Google needs to TRUST the site: https://t.co/LziFz3e255 pic.twitter.com/IEdsNvSHDX
— Glenn Gabe (@glenngabe) January 3, 2022
Site migrations to new domains are scary enough but to drop AMP at the same time is even more nerve wracking.
Forum discussion at Twitter.