Google Sitelinks Now Serve Accelerated Mobile Pages When Available

Coveted sitelinks that appear beneath the main URL for a website – directing users deeper into the site – now automatically use available AMP pages to guarantee a fast user experience.

In an unreported move, Google has started using Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) within the array of sitelinks that appear below a website’s SERP listing, offering users a fast jump to relevant, deeper sections of the site.  Google’s expansion demonstrates the ongoing evolution of where and how the search-giant chooses to feature and prioritize fast-loading mobile pages. It’s also a subtle move by Google, as AMP-enabled sitelinks don’t (yet) feature the lightning-bolt badge.

Sitelinks are valuable real estate – extending a site’s physical space in search results – that promote a brand and pushes down its competition. The addition of AMP-powered sitelinks ensures that relevant pages are guaranteed to load fast, increasing the odds users engage – be it to purchase a product or to read an article.

AMP: To be or not to be

Over the years, we’ve encountered a few areas where Google chose to serve non-AMP pages – even though an AMP version was available – including navigational queries, the omnibar on Android devices and sitelinks. And over the years, we’ve continued to watch as AMP pages have gained placement in search.

Navigational queries began serving AMP pages back in June, and we covered how that led to performance gains in a previous blog post. And September, we’ve discovered that Google started serving AMP-powered sitelinks. When will AMP take over the Android ommibar? Who knows, but we keep watching.

What is a sitelink?

Sitelinks are the sublinks that show up below a brand link on certain navigational searches. They’re a way for potential visitors to quickly get to key content from a site in a single click.

Previously, only the main link in the above screen shot would be AMP, meaning visitors who clicked any of the sitelinks (Company, Platform, Contact, Mobile Insights) would be met with a slower experience.

Eureka! Sitelinks now serve AMP pages

We were recently checking out how our clients fared during Black Friday and Cyber Monday, using our AMP and PWA implementations. One of our developers was curious about sitelinks and asked me to check out if they were still serving non-AMP pages. A spot check of a few clients revealed that AMP pages are now eligible and being served as sitelinks:

To determine when this switch happened, we looked at daily click traffic for multiple clients’ AMP sitelinks to see if there was an inflection point where AMP became the majority of organic mobile traffic. Based on our calculations, around Labor Day, Google switched sitelinks to point to AMP pages when available.

In terms of engagement, the AMP-powered sitelinks realized improvements compared to the canonical pages, with bounce rates improving 5%, on average, and pages-per-session increasing 25%.

What does this mean going forward?

The open-source initiative continues to expand its reach and extend its functionally to ensure AMPs have feature parity with non-AMP pages. AMP has emerged as a mature technology – adopted by some of the world’s leading brands – with features and benefits constantly rolling out. The addition of AMP-powered sitelinks is another step forward, with more sure to come. What’s next? AMPs may very well be used for Google Business Links, maps and other prime SERP real estate. We’ll keep you posted.