An SEO professional was having a problem with a website migration.
Approximately three months ago, they did a website migration to a new domain. All they did really was clone the entire website.
They also took the internal and external links and updated them to the new URL.
Basically, they enabled all of these on the new domain.
They also disabled AMP. However, their AMP articles were ranking quite consistently. The SEO professional disabled it because they did not like AMP and it gave them too much trouble. The short of it is, they did not want to use AMP anymore.
However, AMP is not needed for a site to be included in top stories right now.
So they were wondering why their new domain is not ranked in Google top stories. They want to add to that as well: they do rank on Google’s first page. Their main keywords are on top, around number one and number two.
Their articles are also shown in the Google News app and on Google Discovery. So they have strong authority for their main keyword.
What they don’t understand is why they are not being displayed in Google’s top stories and if there is something critical they are doing wrong.
John Mueller explained that, while it’s hard to say, if they’re doing a domain migration and switching off AMP at the same time, especially on top stories, then it’s possible that the magnitude of changes are very confusing to Google.
However, from his perspective, it sounds like everything is being picked up.
He then went on to explain that Top Stories, in particular, is an organic search feature. It’s not something a site gets “just because they deserve it.”
It’s more so that Google tries to figure out what should be showing in a top story section.
Sometimes this can be individual sites, or individual types of articles, and other times this could be even less.
What he would recommend doing here is giving Google more time to understand the changes that have taken place.
Also, to double-check their settings for page experience. When Google turned that off, they basically said “for a page with a very good page experience score, they can appear in Google’s Top Stories as well.”
It’s not a situation where they would take any kind of page and show it in top stories, but rather, they use the page experience score as a ranking factor to determine what they actually show in the Top Stories section.
This happens at approximately the 34:59 mark in the video.
John Mueller Hangout Transcript
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 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. So…but AMP is not needed to include the 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, that I rank on Google page, on my main keywords 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 it?
I don’t know. It’s, 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 story section. And sometimes that can be more, sometimes that can be less, sometimes that includes content from, I don’t know, individual sites, or individual types of articles, and sometimes less so.
What I would consider doing here is, on the one hand, sorry, 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, like we mentioned in the blog post, when we turned that off, we essentially said well, for a page with a very good page experience score, they can essentially appear on top stories as well.
So it’s not the case that we would take any kind of page and show it in top stories, but rather, we would use kind of like the page experience score, almost like as a kind of a ranking factor to determine what we would show within the top story section.
SEO Professional 6 37:47
So in my site vitality, so all my URLs are in the green. Okay, so they’re like 99.4% of…my…I have good 99.4% of good URLs. So that’s all green there with no no specific marks or whatever. So that’s all in place.
Okay. And in that case, your site already has field data as well?
SEO Professional 6 38:15
Yeah, yeah, I’m qualified, yeah, everything, everything seems fine. Like I said, I’m on the main keyword against just just a number two. So I’m very, I have very strong authority on my main keywords. So that’s why I just don’t get it.
My, my suspicion is maybe it just takes longer.
SEO Professional 6 38:37
Because it’s a new domain?
Yeah, maybe with a domain migration, it just takes a little bit longer to kind of get settled in there. It’s, it sounds like everything else is kind of okay. And especially if you’re being shown in Google News and Discover as well. Things look like they are essentially set up well. So my guess is it’s more a matter of time. The thing also with top stories, in particular, is I’m not aware of anything manual on our side where we would control that, or we would say, Oh…
SEO Professional 6 39:16
Is that an automatic process? Or?
SEO Professional 6 39:21
Okay. So how do I need to imagine that? There’s something like, like a like a, like a super, super power bar that’s going from left to right or from yes, “*bing* Okay, we’ll display it now.” How is that working?
I mean, it’s tricky with regards to things around quality signals, because they just take a lot of time to collect. And they take a lot of time for us to be fairly certain that we can trust them. And I suspect it’s just something along those lines.
SEO Professional 6 39:56
Okay, so you…your advice is just keep doing what you do and I’m…you know, I’m writing new content every day. So it’s maybe like in a couple of months, it will be fixed probably.
I would say, if you don’t see any change within a month, then let me know and send me the URL. And I can double check with the team here. But especially if you’re saying that migration took place, like, I don’t know, three months ago..
SEO Professional 6 40:23
September eighth, to be exact.
And it’s, especially if you moved away from AMP, then it feels like something that just takes a little bit more time.
SEO Professional 6 40:32
Okay. So how do I send the URL? If nothing has changed? What’s the best thing to do?
Um, you can drop the link here in the chat, or you can send me a note on Twitter.