Google now wants larger images for AMP articles

Google has updated its article schema document for AMP articles to require larger images in your markup. Previously, the minimum requirement for your image sizes was 696 pixels wide and 300,000 pixels in total, but now it is 1,200 pixels wide and 800,000 pixels in total.
This is specific to the markup you use for your AMP articles so that they can appear in the Google search results top stories carousel. If you are currently serving content and getting traffic from that carousel, you may want to make sure your images meet these new requirements.
Here is a screen shot of the old requirements from the Articles schema developer document:

Here is a screen shot of the new requirements that are live now:

Hat tip to Aaron Bradley for spotting this.
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Google’s Page Speed Update does not impact indexing

Google’s Page Speed Update won’t impact how Google indexes your mobile or desktop content; it will only affect how the mobile pages are ranked in the Google mobile search results. To be clear, indexing and ranking are two separate things, as Google explains clearly in the How Search Works portal.
We are covering this again because there appears to be some confusion around the Page Speed Update and whether it will impact indexing. Both John Mueller and Gary Illyes of Google chimed in to explain that this specific algorithm will have no impact on indexing.
Here are those tweets:

The mobile speed update affects only ranking in mobile search results; it’s independent of the indexing.
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Why would indexing be related to speed? (I’m kinda confused how this was connected, wonder if we need to update something on our side to make it clearer)
— John ☆.o(≧▽≦)o.☆ (@JohnMu) January 31, 2018

Slow pages can get into the index.

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FAQs on new Google Speed Update: AMP pages, Search Console notifications & desktop only pages

Google has just announced its latest algorithm update, named the Speed Update, that will be launching in July of this year. We asked Google several questions about this update, including how this impacts desktop pages, whether pages with AMP URLs but slow canonical URLs will be impacted, if webmasters will get Search Console notifications and more.
Here are the questions and answers from a Google spokesperson:
1. Are you still going to be using the desktop speed factor for the desktop index?
Correct, no changes to announce for desktop.
2. With the mobile-first index, will desktop rankings use mobile page speed and not use desktop page speed?
No, this change is about the mobile search results. As mentioned in our mobile-first indexing blog post, while our index will be built from mobile documents, we’re going to continue to build a great search experience for all users, whether they come from mobile or desktop devices.
3. What about the sites that get the “unavailable”

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AMP: A case for websites serving developing countries

Like Taylor Swift, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) have a reputation. In a not-very-official Twitter poll, 53 percent claimed AMP was “breaking the web.”

What do you think about AMP?
— Maximiliano Firtman (@firt) March 23, 2017

The mobile ecosystem is already complex: choosing a mobile configuration, accounting for mobile-friendliness, preparing for the mobile-first index, implementing app indexation, utilizing Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and so on. Tossing AMP into the mix, which creates an entirely duplicated experience, is not something your developers will be happy about.
And yet despite the various issues surrounding AMP, this technology has potential use cases that every international brand should pause to consider.
To start, AMP offers potential to efficiently serve content as fast as possible. According to Google, AMP reduces the median load time of webpages to .7 seconds, compared with 22 seconds for non-AMP sites.
And you can also have an AMP without a traditional HTML page. Google Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller has mentioned that AMP

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LaterPay offers first paywall platform for AMP pages

AMP (accelerated mobile pages) is designed to deliver publishers’ pages quickly on mobile devices, but the stripped-down format lacks functionality in some areas.
This week, the German-Swiss online payment infrastructure provider LaterPay is releasing what it says is the first AMP-enabled paywall and subscription platform, called AMP Access.
While there are other custom solutions, such as from The Washington Post, LaterPay CEO and founder Cosmin Ene told me he is unaware of any other out-of-the-box offering.
[Read the full article on MarTech Today.]
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Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) conquer the competition for shoe retailer

In the highly competitive footwear vertical, no season matters more than late summer, when shoppers spend $27 billion on supplies and clothing for the coming school year.
According to the Deloitte back-to-school survey for 2017, some 55 percent of that spend, about $15 billion, is devoted to clothing and accessories. Late summer may be only the second-biggest shopping season of the year in the United States, but for verticals like footwear, it’s number one.
A top shoe retailer came to Brandify (disclosure: my employer) for a solution to boost local store visibility online. To achieve the retailer’s goal, we worked in collaboration with SEO consultant Steve Wiideman to implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) for the retailer’s nearly 500 US stores.
The open-source AMP Project, led and heavily promoted by Google in collaboration with Twitter, WordPress, Pinterest and LinkedIn, defines a lightweight standard for publishing web pages that makes them load very quickly on mobile devices. The standard includes special implementations

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Google rolling out support for AMP landing page in AdWords search campaigns globally

In May, Google announced it was running a beta test with advertisers to test driving traffic from mobile search ads to AMP landing pages. On Thursday, the company said all advertisers will be able to point mobile search ads to AMP landing pages beginning in two weeks.
The functionality is limited to landing pages from search text ads for now. The lighter-weight AMP landing pages typically load instantly, as opposed to the lag of even speedy responsive landing pages on mobile, as illustrated in the demo below. AMP landing pages are supported for all mobile clicks, though caching is only available for Chrome on Android. Google says it’s working on support for other mobile browsers in the coming weeks.
For testing and validation purposes, advertisers with access to the new AdWords interface will be able to see the percentage of clicks that go to invalid AMP pages. They can then identify issues and ensure the landing pages comply with AMP

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Google officially adds AMP based featured snippets to mobile search results

Google has confirmed with Search Engine Land that last week they have rolled out the ability for AMP links to show up in the featured snippets section at the top of the Google mobile search results.
Google tells us this launched last week as some started noticing. Google did confirm again that AMP is still not a search ranking factor. The only change is that the featured snippet result can link to an AMP page.
Here is a screen shot of an AMP link showing in the featured snippets:

Google will still also show no AMP results in the mobile results:

But does Google prefer to show an AMP URL in the featured snippets? Well, as I said before, Google said AMP is not a ranking factor. But if you search for [how to use twitter] on desktop, instead of getting the Forbes result as shown on mobile, it shows a result from Wired, which is not AMP powered.
Here is a

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Google announces AMP speed and viewability enhancements for ads

Yesterday, Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) group announced enhancements to ads served in AMP. Specifically, the project has entered phase two of its three-phase plan for supporting comprehensive advertising functionality in AMP.
While phase one focused on basic support for ads within AMP, phase two focuses on speeding up AMP ad rendering, utilizing what they call “Fast Fetch” — separating the ad request from the ad rendering. Fast Fetch — vs. their previous method, “Delayed Fetch” — allows the ad request to happen while the page content is being rendered, and then only renders the ad before the ad slot is in view for the user.

From their announcement:

With Fast Fetch, ads are requested much earlier in the lifecycle of the page, allowing page rendering and creative selection in the ad server to happen in parallel. Fast Fetch is 850ms faster at the 50th percentile and 2.7s faster at the 90th percentile as compared to Delayed Fetch.

Ads

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Google making renewed effort to help news publishers drive more subscriptions

Google has always been treated by the news industry as a kind of frenemy. Many news organizations have a tortured history with Google, including some who’ve successfully lobbied against Google in Europe. Yet for roughly a decade Google has been trying to help publishers make more money while continuing to try and serve users and its own commercial interests.
Google news-industry outreach has taken multiple forms over the years. For example, in 2009 Google proposed a range of tools and services built around the notion of “micro-payments” to publishers. The proposal included multiple components, including search, e-commerce and advertising for news organizations.
Out of these efforts eventually came Google’s First Click Free program, whereby users could gain access to otherwise subscription-protected news content in search results — with the intention of improving the outlook for subscription revenue, though Google hasn’t uniformly enforced it. Google’s Consumer Surveys provide payments to publishers (take a survey for content access) and so on.
AMP is also

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