Google revised the image requirements for Top Stories eligibility and updated its Article structured data standards to reflect the removal of the Accelerated Mobile Sites (AMP) requirement.
Google uses top stories to draw attention to recently published news pieces in search results. On both mobile and desktop searches, the top stories section, which is displayed at the top of the search results, will be produced by queries on the hottest news subjects.
Regarding the modification to article structured data, it is believed that top stories don’t require structured data to display.
“Adding Article structured data to your news, blog, and sports article pages can help Google understand more about the web page and show better title text, images, and date information for the article in search results on Google Search and other properties (for example, Google News and the Google Assistant). While there’s no markup requirement to be eligible for Google News features like Top stories, you can add Article to more explicitly tell Google what your content is about (for example, that it’s a news article, who the author is, or what the title of the article is).” Google said in their Article blog post.
In other words, news providers who don’t add article structured data are nonetheless able to qualify for top stories.
Meanwhile, AMP is a framework for creating HTML pages that load incredibly quickly on mobile devices. At one point, using AMP was required to be included in top stories but today Google eliminated all AMP-related references from the structured data rules.
While the size of the image has changed. Publishers may benefit from Google’s decision to reduce the required image size because they can now use smaller images and obtain higher page speed rankings. In the past, high-resolution photographs with a minimum of 800,000 pixels when the width and height were multiplied were required by Google’s structured data criteria for images.
These three modifications to the rules make it apparent that more publishers are now eligible for the top stories section, which can dominate the top of the search results.