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If you are someone who uses any sort of social media platform, you’ve most likely run into the web stories function. The story system is a series of images or other types of content that are interlinked to one another and proceed to tell a story. Regardless if it’s Facebook Stories, Snapchat Stories, Instagram Stories, or even Twitter Fleets, they all serve a common purpose.
The reason every one of these platforms has managed to implement a similar web stories system is because of how important visual storytelling has become. Visual storytelling is becoming increasingly popular, and now the web has implemented its storytelling format as well. In 2018, Google launched its storytelling system named AMP stories however, they rebranded it to Google’s Web Stories.
That said, with web Stories making its debut, plenty of online marketers and content creators are pondering if it’s something they should consider using or if it even matters. The answer to these questions would be yes, Web stories do matter and can help improve your SEO.
Consider this, Google manages to get 3.5 billion searches per day and 1.2 trillion searches per year globally. If they decide to make web Stories stand out in search results pages, this can lead to a greater click-through rate for websites that spend a few minutes of their time setting up their own stories. The story format is already quite popular in other instances, we see across the internet, and many have argued that it’s quickly becoming one of the most normal ways to consume content.
For this article, we’ll be going through everything you need to know about how Web Stories can boost your SEO.
What is Google Web Stories?
Google’s Web Stories is a visual storytelling format aimed at mobile device users. Web Stories can go into a fullscreen mode that allows users to incorporate any type of content they can come up with. In contrast to private formats such as Snapchat Stories, Web Stories are openly distributable. That allows you to create and publish them on your website.
Furthermore, Web Stories manages to get its spot in Google search results near the top right. Plus, Web Stories are also capable of appearing on Google Images, Discover, and Google app. These are all prominent locations that can cause your story to appear.
Web Stories allows you to have greater control over what you publish and how you decide to do so. They allow you to determine the format, where to post it, and how long the story remains live.
The stories themselves are consumed quickly, offering your readers a fast and easy way to digest the content you dish out. However, keep in mind that while Web Stories was intended for use on mobile devices, every story automatically gets a simple desktop viewer as well. Meaning that your mobile content will become available to everyone.
In early 2018, Google introduced AMP Stories to rapidly generate visual stories for the web using open technologies. By May 2020, AMP Stories changed into Web Stories and, as of October 2020, launched on the number one platform around the world: WordPress. The plugin version of Web Stories for WordPress has made it incredibly easy to create stories on the platform that you own, like your website.
Google has continued to improve Web Stories all while pushing for the adoption of this story format. During the previous year, they announced that some of its other tools, such as Rich Results Testing Tools and Search Console, would be able to recognize Web Stories.
The WordPress plugin allows you to set the tracking ID for Analytics by going into settings. It should help with you getting an idea of how your Stories are doing.
Web Stories benefits
Web Stories can provide tons of fantastic opportunities for businesses to enhance the way they interact and provide information to their target audience. Even though it only offers ten words, a couple of seconds, and 4-30 pages of stories, you can still make the most out of this time limit in creative ways. Let’s go over some of the benefits you can get from using Google Web Stories to your advantage.
Easy and flexible
Web stories come with preset templates that can be edited to fit your brand, standardized Ui controls, and components you can utilize to share the content on other platforms. It also comes with features that make it painless for users to add any follow-up content. With some minor tweaking of dimensions, it can also double up as Facebook and Instagram stories. That means you can use them to boost your social media, making this content further and beyond. It also comes with its own URL, making it easy to share in other places.
Shareable on open web
Due to Web Stories being content published on the open web, it can be shared and embedded in various sites and apps without remaining in a single ecosystem. This differentiates it from other story systems you post on social media platforms wherein it is only shared from one social media platform to another. This way, you can not only share it on any social media platform you want but different websites as well. Linkable URLs can also be used by others who wish to share what you posted on their blog post. Separate URLs from each Google Web Stories can assist with better SEO practice, and if it meets specific criteria, Google will rank them in Google search, images, and apps.
Fast Loading times
Having to wait for a page to load up can cause someone to lose interest quite quickly. Everyone who’s been running a site long enough is aware slow loading times can hamper the user’s experience. It’s why rapid content should also mean quicker loading times, and you can expect Google Web Stories to be very fast. People will be able to quickly have the story load up and consume it during those few seconds.
Does it help with SEO?
One of the vital questions you may be asking yourself is, does Google Web Stories help with SEO?
The answer to this question would be yes if it involves organic traffic. The story format is rapidly becoming one of the most popular ways for people to consume content. It’s becoming very familiar with most users because of the various platforms that have this feature, such as Instagram, Facebook, Tiktok, and Snapchat. Web Stories may potentially begin to feature on Google search results, which can lead to an increase in organic click rates.
When it comes to whether or not setting Web Stories up helps with ranking for better keywords, it can be considered its own topic. One of the main reasons why people are discussing SEO for Google Web Stories is due to the feature itself coming with metadata for webmasters to configure. Instead of asking if Google Web Stories can assist you with keyword rankings, the real question should be, how can you do SEO for Google Web Stories.
Best Practices for Google Web Stories
With Google having made a massive commitment to make the Internet more visually appealing and engaging, Web Stories has been promoted in Brazil, India, and the United States on top of Discover. Google Web Stories can be used for tons of things, and plenty of well-known brands have used it to their advantage.
While some people may consider it only great for small-sized content, you can go pretty in-depth with your stories. If you can create an engaging story, people will flock to your story. That is just the piece you need to make your content viral.
Pulling off the best possible practices can ensure you gain the attention of enough people that can cause your video to go viral. Leading to greater exposure to your brand and potentially leading people to click on your links and visit your site. Let’s go over several practices you should be aware of.
Make a web story for top ranking articles
Web Stories are typically short, easy to digest pieces of content that use visual, slideshow-like content to summarize a topic that you understand well. A Web Story can be used intelligently to advertise your top-ranking articles creatively.
Think of it like a movie trailer, a well-composed piece of shots that inspires the viewer to find out what the article is concerning. Google will trust your Web Story because it already ranks your blog post on that topic. Furthermore, there is no risk of cannibalization of your work. That’s because your Web Story is interconnected with the blog post, and Google already does a remarkable job contributing to both.
Utilize jump-links to align the story with key passages of your article
The more you connect a Web Story with the article alongside it, the more you can help the readers discover what they require the most.
The way today’s information manages to expand at an accelerated pace, content fragmentation has become a centerpiece and an exceptional opportunity.
If you can quickly lead your readers to where they find the highest value from the content, your mission will be accomplished. That means developing a link from every frame of your Web Story to your article’s relevant segment. While this may seem easy to pull off, it does require some concrete outline in your blog posts.
Creating a jump link is very easy to pull off, and by using Google’s web story editor for WordPress, you can include the URL in the link section. That will allow you to add the link which points directly to the internal segment of the webpage.
Place numbers on each step of the Story and get to the point
Adding a number to each story will ensure the reader can stay on the right track and help them understand the position.
You want to make sure the content you are posting is easy to read, and ensuring things remain easy to read in less than ten seconds is an excellent practice. Keep in mind that the stories don’t need to have tons of content on each slide, it should be short and sweet.
You want the content to be straightforward, easily readable, and indispensable. Placing a massive wall of text will do you no good and merely turn off the reader from proceeding to the next slide.
Use animation and video to deliver the message
Similar to a movie trailer, you need to minimize the complex message in a short, engaging sequence. Lowering the thousands of words in a compelling slideshow requires every bit of creativity you can squeeze out. From animating models separately to utilizing full-screen video backgrounds, try to remain interesting. Ensure you are using every pixel available to you, but never waste the reader’s time doing so.
Don’t forget the logo
Make sure to always include a logo in your Web Stories. The purpose of a logo is to represent a brand, so you must use it in your Stories. Add it in a strategic location, so it remains distinctly visible, mostly at the corner, away from your title and description. The minimum resolution for a logo should be 96 x 96 pixels, with the aspect ratio being 1:1. These specifications will make sure you have the perfect display of a logo on any Web Story.
Title and description
Titles will hold a significant role in gaining the attention of viewers. If you can use the appropriate words and characters for the headline, this should make it stand apart from the rest, letting you get more viewers and clicks. Furthermore, make sure the titles are as short as possible. Google has stated that less than 90 characters, preferably with less than 70. For descriptions, they should be limited to 280 characters. Don’t use filler text, make sure it remains as concise as possible.
An aspect that is common between titles and descriptions would be keywords. The Web Story title should be tied with the focus keyword. For the description, consider using the focus keyword, but if you can’t pull that off, don’t force it. Although utilizing related keywords is highly recommended.
Google Web Stories is growing in popularity, and it will be up to you whether or not to take advantage of this format. Plenty of other brands are already making their own stories and publishing them to a larger audience with fascinating results, so if you do want to get more people on board, considering using this recent addition to the ever-expanding open web.
If you want an all in one custom strategy that includes Google Web Stories, then get in touch with us and we’ll set up an entire done-for-you content marketing strategy for you!