The management of the URL structure is a sensitive topic for any site, but it assumes a specific value when it comes to setting the strategy related to AMP pages, because there are some rules to follow to provide accelerated page addresses that are correct and effective. Here are some tips and best practices that come straight from Google.
The AMP URL structure must be meaningful for the user
The first indication is very clear and simple: the scheme that we decide to adopt for the AMP URL must be “significant to the user“, say the Google Guidelines. An example allows us to easily understand what is meant: “If your canonical page is example.com/Giraffes, you should host the AMP page on, for instance, amp.example.com/Giraffes or example.com/amp/Giraffes, instead of on test.com/Giraffes“.
In practice, you do not have to offer a completely different URL and out of the main site domain because this choice could “disorient” a user. As we know, the original AMP URL is now visible as with any web page, and finding discrepancies between the name of the site on which they clicked from the Google Search link and what they then actually see in the browser box could generate confusion and complicate the browsing experience of readers.
Google’s suggestions for the AMP URL structure
The theme was at the center of one of the questions received by John Mueller in his traditional hangouts on Youtube in recent weeks, and the Googler provided some more guidance on what to do and what not to do in choosing a URL structure for the AMP pages of a site.
The user specifically asked if there were any best practices to refer to so to manage addresses; also, assuming that the use of “a subdomain or a higher level folder” offers some benefit in terms of “better chance of analysis in different tools”, asked (and questioned the Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst) whether “putting the AMP pages under the main domain instead of in a subdomain or with parameters could provide some advantage to Google”.
The AMP URLs must be inside the same domain
Muellerâ€™s answer focuses primarily on one aspect: the only concern of Google – the only fundamental criterion – is that the URLs of the AMP pages are all in the same domain of the site, thus confirming the indication that you read in the guidelines.
It follows that it is fine to insert these links “in the subdomain or in a subdirectory”, because it is a practice allowed and accepted.
Tips to manage the URLs of AMP pages
Ultimately, to Google there does not seem to be an excellent or unique choice that site owners should stick to, because it counts finding the “URL structure that works best for your current configuration” of the site.
Nevertheless, there are some criteria to be met (similar to what happens for the management of normal Urls) and therefore the AMP Urls must be:
- Easy to track down.
- Easy to monitor.
- Easy to maintain.
- Compatible with your CMS.
- Compatible with your server.
Best practices according to John Mueller
In general, the Googler continues, “I would advise you to do this kind of related pages in the way that works best for you”, and then implement “something that is easy to trace, easy to monitor, with a setting that is easy to maintain and comply with”. In addition, the choice is good when “it works well for your CMS or for the configuration of your server”, and therefore does not create problems of any kind in the management of the site.
Do not change structure too often
Another practical indication concerns the possible changes during the course of work: it is preferable not to change the structure of the URL too often because the ideal situation would be to “choose one and keep it as long as possible”. When you change the structure setting, Google must rework all the URLs and this could have a negative impact on the rankings.
John Mueller explains that “if you choose something like a subdirectory or subdomain, try to keep it as long as possible” because otherwise Google must rework all AMP URLs. Although the impact is not similar to what happens “if you change the main Urls regarding Search”, changing the alternative URLs associated with each page of your site means for Google “process many URLs to somehow understand that new configuration”.
And so, in order to simplify the life of bots and search engine algorithms (and not risk losing rankings for bad interpretations), it is better to choose a unique solution – whether it is a subdomain, subdirectories or parameters – that work well for your site and try to “keep that configuration long-term”.
How to optimize the URLs of AMP pages
So, what do you need to do to optimize the Urls of the AMP pages? Apparently, there is no technique or criterion that are standard and always effective, but only (a few) rules to follow inspired by “common sense” and what is already put into practice with all the other Urls of the site.
Also because it is again Mueller to confirm that Google does not devote different or specific attention to “these alternative Urls” and then you do not have to worry too much about this single aspect, but more generally cure the strategies that apply to all addresses.