Google is not a social media channel per se, but one of its features, Google Web Stories, is similar to the form of stories you would see on popular sites like Instagram.
This is a unique opportunity for creators, so read on to learn all about Google Web Stories, what they can do for your business, and how to create and influence them.
What are Google Web Stories?
Google Web Stories are interactive pieces of content, the first videos that creators can use to share information with their audiences through touch-sensitive pages that contain sound, images, and text. The web story format was previously known as AMP stories.
Google says the styles that work best with the format are first-person narratives, evergreen or up-to-date stories, live stories, educational and experiential stories, and quizzes and surveys.
Web stories appear in standard Google search results and as carousels in Google Discover, and you can add them to your newsletter and connect to them from your social media accounts. The image below shows the web story in Google Discover on the left and Google Search on the right.
Web stories are also individual pages on your site, so they can be indexed and displayed in relevant results. You can present them as individual pieces of content on your site, or embed them as podcast episodes or videos on YouTube. The Google Creators video below is presented in more detail.
The format of Google’s online stories
Web stories have three parts: a poster, a cover page, and story pages.
A poster is the first thing someone sees in your story, and Google describes it as packaging. Your cover page is the first page of your story content, and story pages are where you start telling your story and narrative with video, text, and desired elements.
There is only one poster and cover per story, but you can have multiple pages with a story.
Can you evaluate Google Web Stories?
You can monetize Google Web Stories with AdSense, Ad Manager, and display ads. You can also include affiliate links as attachments or CTAs.
Examples of Google Web Stories
1. ENTRY – Ford’s prototype Mustang Mach-E 1400
This online story begins with what seems like a real experience as the car approaches the screen and moves down the racetrack. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E 1400 Prototype is an outstanding online story for its professional use of video to attract users. It embodies elements that are first in the video recommended by Google, and continues to be interactive throughout the rest.
2. Nylon – 10 books by a black author that you can add to your list of summer readings
Nylon’s 10 Black Books to Add to Your Summer Reading List The story is a great example of the professional use of attachments and shopping links to encourage interaction with viewers and make the user experience seamless. Viewers can touch and read summaries of each book and, if interested, can click the link to automatically head to the site where they can purchase the book.
3. Vice – The Burger Sisters of Kenya
Burger Sisters of Kenya is an online story about two sisters who have a famous burger food truck in Kenya. This story is a great inspiration, as it features a first-person narrative that looks like a conversation, high-quality video and visual content, and takes care of accessibility with captions and audio transcripts.
How to Make Google Web Stories
This Google design can bring a variety of benefits to your business, such as sharing a unique and engaging brand story with your audience, inspiring collaboration with interactive elements, directing traffic to your various channels, and monetizing and generating revenue.
Let’s see how to make them.
1. Fold your story.
The first step is to make a story and draft a narrative. Google created a story script proposal to prepare an online story narrative.
2. Select an editor.
Once you’ve created the final draft, choose an editor to create your story. If you have developer skills, you can follow a tutorial from AMP to guide you through the process of creating a story with custom functionality.
If you do not have the skills of a developer, you can use one of the recommended ones editors without coding.
If you are a WordPress user, you can use the web story plugin.
Google Web Stories Plugin
The Online stories for WordPress a plug-in created by Google will help you easily create and publish your web stories on your WordPress site. The editor includes templates, a drag-and-drop creator, space for custom branded items, and existing resources you can take from your WordPress media library.
3. Create your own online story
Once you choose an editor, start building your online story.
4. Test your online story before posting.
The last step is to enable your online story on Google, which requires you to try it out with various tools.
To embed a web story on your WordPress site, use Online stories block. If you created your web story with any of the AMP tools, you will receive an embedded link that you can paste into the site code.
Best practices for creating Google Web Stories
Let’s take a look at some of the best practices for creating your online stories.
1. Champion video-first storytelling.
Google wanted online stories to be video first. Video takes precedence over everything else, and welcomes sound, images, and animations to help you create a narrative. You can include text, but when using it, aim for less than 280 characters, or about 40 to 70 words per page.
2. Use eye-catching elements.
Stories are supposed to be interactive and user-friendly, so strive to use interactive elements.
The best way to do this is to have multiple story pages to grab viewers ’attention and inspire them to touch and perform more. You can also include interactive quizzes and surveys, CTAs, and links to various sites to increase viewer interaction with your content sources.
3. Use your brand identity.
Stories appear in SERP and Google Discover, so you want to incorporate your unique brand elements to let your audience know it’s you.
4. Ensure that your stories are valid AMP.
Online stories operate within the AMP, so they must be valid for the AMP. We’ve recommended a variety of testing tools above, so be sure to use them throughout the process to ensure your stories can be displayed online.
5. Make your online stories accessible.
Although you want to advocate visual storytelling, your online stories must be available as well. Add alternate text to your images, transcribe audio, use subtitles and captions, and add metadata to your stories to ensure everyone benefits from them.
6. Pay attention to Google’s SEO standards.
As mentioned above, online story pages are on your site. As a result, you want to pay attention to SEO best practices in creating your web stories so that they can be indexed and ready to be displayed in SERPs.
SEO Checklist for Google Web Stories
Same standard SEO best practices use for online stories. If you already have an SEO strategy for your business, refer to it throughout the process. However, there are key SEO Factors for a Web Story be aware.
- You want to add metadata to all elements of your web story, as they will speak directly to search engines and discover features that want to know what’s in them. You can optimize for this by following along with AMP Metadata Guidelines.
- Your online stories are pages on your site, so you want them to be self-canonical. Every one of your stories is a must have link rel = “canonical” to himself.
- Story titles should be shorter than 90 characters.
- Add web stories to your Sitemap and do not include noindex attributes. You can check if you have been indexed with Index coverage report.
- All online stories need Structured AMP data.
- All images need alternate text to improve detection, and video needs subtitles.
Back to you
The format of the story offers similar benefits on Google as on your other channels, so it’s worth considering. If you’re ready to use this feature, use the instructions on this list to start creating a unique, interactive piece of content that is sure to impress your audience.