I've been hearing some chatter here and there around some sites that have deployed AMP, accelerated mobile pages, are seeing huge surges in traffic from the In The News box.
The thing is, I am personally seeing this as well. On Friday and yesterday, I saw massive bursts of traffic from that In The News carousel.
The complicated thing is, it seems AMP is now rolling out in the core Google mobile results. So separating out the In The News box and normal Google AMP traffic is hard. In fact, there is a Reddit thread discussing the surge but that might be due to the roll out and not the In The News box.
Kristine Schachinger also spotted it and asked John Mueller of Google about it on Twitter:
John didn't respond, so I asked the tech lead of AMP at Google who gave a typical Google comment:
@rustybrick there are constantly things happening in AMP land – not always from Google’s side :)— Malte Ubl (@cramforce) September 19, 2016
So let me dig in a bit on this traffic. Here is the real time traffic for about an hour on Friday morning, the specific articles were from the news stories I posted that day and they were in the In The News carousel, as you can see, 98%+ were from mobile devices, showing this was an AMP surge:
Friday was the 16th, so look at the Google Analytics chart showing the surge in AMP traffic from a couple hundred visits in a day to close to 100,000 on Friday and a lot on Monday:
Again, that is filtered down by my AMP URLs:
The weird thing is, the AMP report in the Google Search Console Search Analytics has no sign of that traffic at all. Here is that report showing clicks from Google to my site for the AMP filter remaining static:
Here is a screen shot from yesterday's In The News carousel showing one of my articles showing up in the In The News carousel:
Again, I am not sure if this is a fluke, a change in the In The News carousel algorithm or something related to AMP rolling out to core mobile search in Google (which has not been confirmed by Google).
I did ask Google and Google told me there was no algorithmic change to the In The News carousel. So maybe it was a fluke for me and other publishers over the past few days or so?