According to Google's John Mueller, the search engine's recommendation to maintain parity between AMP and canonical HTML pages does not apply to ads.
This topic was brought up during the Google Search Central SEO hangout recorded on March 26th. A website owner named Christian Kunz asks Mueller the following question:
"Is it a problem if the AMP version is slightly different from the canonical HTML version because you have a small ad in the AMP version that is not in the HTML version?"
The reason he's asking this question is because Google made it a requirement in 2017 that AMP pages must have the same content as their HTML counterparts.
Google introduced this rule to combat the problem of using AMP pages as "teaser" pages for the more complete HTML page.
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Searchers landed on an AMP page, received a paragraph or two of content, and then had to click a link to view the full HTML page.
Since this is not the most ideal user experience, Google has excluded these types of pages from search functions that require AMP, e.g. B. the Top Stories carousel.
The message to the site owners became clear: if you want to use AMP, make sure the content matches the canonical HTML pages.
What does the google documentation say?
This is how Google puts it in a blog post:
“AMP was introduced to dramatically improve the performance of the web and provide a fast, consistent experience when consuming content. In keeping with this goal, we will enforce the requirement of close parity between AMP and Canonical Page for pages that are to be displayed as AMPs in Google Search.
If we discover that an AMP page does not contain the same critical content as a non-AMP equivalent, we will redirect our users to the non-AMP page. This does not affect the search ranking. However, these pages are not considered for search functions that require AMP, e.g. B. the Top Stories carousel with AMP. "
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How strict are these requirements? Does everything, including the ads, have to be the same between pages?
For the answer to that, we turn to Mueller's answer.
Google's John Mueller on AMP Content Parity
Without giving a clear instruction as to whether Google's requirement of content parity between AMP and HTML pages for ads applies, a website owner came to Miller and asked if their AMP pages could contain ad units that are not in the HTML versions.
Müller answers the following:
"That's perfectly fine. The pages should be equivalent, have the same content, the same kind of images, something like that. But things like monetization that can always vary.
And even within a regular HTML page, you could have something like dynamic ads, sometimes with an ad unit and sometimes here. So these types of changes don't matter. "
Now we know that it is acceptable to serve ads on AMP pages that are not on the canonical HTML pages, and vice versa.
It's worth noting that Google's Top Stories carousel will soon be able to display more than just AMP pages.
According to Google, when the Page Experience update releases in May, regular HTML pages may be eligible for the Top Stories carousel if they meet the new Core Web Vitals thresholds.
For the full question and answer, see the video below: