Google Web Stories
What Are Google Web Stories?
Web Stories are a web-based version of the famous “Stories” format that combines video, audio, images, animation, and text to create a vibrant consumption experience. This visual format lets you explore content at your own pace by tapping through it or swiping from one story to the next. You can find web stories across Google Search and Discover as Google supports web stories.
How to create Google web stories?
The complete process of publishing a web story includes four steps:
- creating a web story
- Validate the web stories with AMP
- Verify the metadata
- Check if the Web Story is indexed.
Creating Web Story
Google Web Stories can be created using the Accelerated Mobile Pages format.
Web Stories need HTML markup to be valid.
They also support optional mark-ups to improve the user experience. For example, we can use HTML markup to make the story accessible in landscape mode and present it more immersively on a desktop.
When creating web stories, you need to set the metadata attributes.
These metadata serve as a preview of the story where it is delivered across the web, not as the page title or description of the story.
You can add elements such as a page title, description, Open Graph data, and others to optimize your web stories for search and sharing; this can be done through traditional HTML markup.
To identify if there are any errors with your story, you can use Google’s AMP Test tool.
There are links to documentation and guidance to help you fix the error in the web stories after testing with AMP Test Tool.
- Third-Party Tools for Creating Google Web Stories
Considering that not many can code, google supports several third-party tools that can help you create web stories easily.
Two tools Google suggests for creating Web Stories are News Room AI and MakeStories.
Newsroom AI allows you to create Google Web Stories for free. Even with the free version, you can embed stories onto your website and start getting them out on Google. With the analytics reporting feature, you can track how well your web stories are doing.
News Room AI gives creators what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG ) design functionality. Another fantastic feature of Newsroom AI is the Getty Images integration. With the free version, you gain access to Getty Images’ creative commons images, and with the paid version, get you access to the Getty editorial image library and Getty videos.
MakeStories offers a code-free, drag-and-drop functionality to customize your web stories, including access to Google fonts and “one-click filters” to edit your images.
MakeStories has a catalog of free images, icons, symbols, and more. They also offer templates to get you started.
MakeStories has WordPress integration. It also allows you to export each story in a zip file or publish it to your FTP on your website, and you can also use embed options like iFrame.
- Web Stories Plug-In
This may be the most obvious and seamless option to create web stories if you have a WordPress website. This plugin allows you to create Google Web Stories within your WordPress CMS.
Since the plugin is integrated with your website, your WordPress media library is available to your Google Web Stories. The plugin offers drag-and-drop creation and lets you publish your story to your website. You also have access to many templates to help your design.
Validate the web stories with AMP
After creating the Story, ensure the Web Story is valid with AMP. A valid AMP story adheres to various AMP specifications. This allows the Story to be delivered via the AMP cache and ensures your users’ best performance and experience. You can use the following tools to ensure that your Web Story is a valid AMP:
Verify the metadata
For the Web Stories to be eligible to appear on Google Search or Google Discover, provide the necessary metadata to surface the Web Story in the preview.
1. Guide to the full list of metadata.
2. Verify that the Web Stories preview appears correctly in the Web Stories Google Test Tool.
- Keep in mind that the following fields are required on every Web Story:
Check if the Web Story is indexed.
Use the URL Inspection Tool to submit individual URLs and check whether Google Search has indexed your Web Stories or not.
If your Web Stories are not indexed:
- Link to your Web Stories from your site or add your Web Story URL to your sitemap to make it easier for Google to discover your Web Story.
- Ensure each Web Story has a link rel=”canonical” to itself. All Web Stories must be canonical.
Where Do Web Stories Appear?
- On Your Website
Google’s Web Stories can be hosted on a creator’s website.
This gives publishers more freedom over what is contained in the web stories as there are no regulations around content, unlike many apps.
It also means the web stories can be used to help to drive traffic to your site.
- In the Search Results
One of the main advantages of using Google’s stories is their accessibility from the SERPs.
Google Web Stories can be indexed like a webpage and serve as a Google search result.
- Grid view: Web Stories can appear in a grid view on Google Search. When people search for a generic term, the grid view shows Web Stories from multiple publishers. When people search for a specific publisher, the grid view shows Web Stories from that particular publisher’s site. The option is available in English in the US.
- Single result: Web Stories can appear as a single result on Google Search. The single result view is available everywhere.
- In Google Discover
Google announced in October 2020 that they were bringing Web Stories to Google Discover feeds in India, Brazil, and the US.
- Carousel on Google Discover: Appear on Google Discover on Android and iOS devices via the Google app in the form of a carousel at the top of the feed, which is available in the United States, India, and Brazil.
- Single card on Google Discover: Appear as a single card that is a part of the Discover feed available in English in the US.
- In Google Images
Web Stories can be seen in Google Images as an image card with the Web Stories icon available in every region and language where Google Search is available.
Benefits & Uses of Google Web Stories
- Creators have full Control.
As web stories can be hosted on a publisher’s website, the copyright of the content is all creators.
This means the topics web stories cover and the use of the content is entirely at the publisher’s discretion. Google does not own any rights over the content. Even though Google does have some restrictions on the content that can be published, Web stories don’t have the severe limitations often seen on social media.
- Can Be Monetized
The content creator controls any ads that appear in Google Web Stories.
Unlike social media apps, monetization of the content is completely at the publisher’s discretion.
Therefore, hosting ads on your web stories gives you 100% of the ad revenue.
Google lately released a programmatic ads solution for Web Stories via Ad Manager and AdSense.
- Drive organic traffic
As Google web stories can be hosted on creators’ websites, web stories help you to drive organic traffic to your website.
- Supports External Linking
Many social media sites with similar story formats restrict content creators from linking to other websites. With Google Web Stories, there are no such limitations on external linking.
- Easy tracking
As Web Stories act like web pages, they can be linked to analytics platforms, including Google Analytics, to track the result quickly.
Some third-party plugins also can be used to create web stories which also provide web story tracking within the plugins.
- Web Stories are Responsive
Unlike AMP, which is mainly designed for mobile devices, Web Stories are responsive to any device type.
This means there is no need to create separate content for display on desktop devices or mobile.
- Live Stories
Using the “live-story” feature on your Web Story will inform the user in real time that you have added a new page.
Google Web Stories are rich, engaging content formats that increase the potential for marketers.
Sharing your content via Google Web Stories helps you grow your online reputation and build trust with your customers.
The brand benefits from the exposure they get through web stories via Google products like Search and Discover and google images.