The major shift in content consumption has led to every social network adding a short-form content feature to their arsenal. TikTok completely revolves around short, bite-sized pieces of content, Instagram has the famous Instagram Stories and even YouTube offers users digestible clips in their Shorts section.
With that in mind, it was only a matter of time before Google caught on to the immense success (and necessity) of short-form, video-first content. Here’s why treating Google Web Stories as a content powerhouse rather than a passing fad will give your website a serious boost in traffic.
Why use Google Web Stories in 2022?
If boosting traffic isn’t enough of a motivator for you — which would be enticing enough on its own — there are a multitude of other reasons to use Google’s new short-form feature this year.
Let’s start with the most obvious reason to include the website story feature — it’s an additional source of revenue. Google Ads and Google AdSense make all of that attractive Web Stories real estate up for sale. Publishers can use one of their story pages as inventory and open it up to bids from advertisers. It can almost be viewed as a separate source of income from other ad inventory or affiliate links on the site. That is how unique this feature is in Google’s ecosystem.
Speaking of Google’s highly competitive ecosystem, fighting to the top of SERPs is a struggle few manage to overcome. Google Web Stories will allow you to circumvent some of the fierce competition and display your results at the top, in the form of a rich snippet. Not only that, it will also boost your SEO efforts, allowing you to rank highly throughout multiple venues, i.e., Google Search, Google Discover and Google Images.
Content-wise, Google Web Stories is a mobile-first, video-based feature that aims to capture millions of users who browse the internet on their phones. It takes up the whole screen on mobile devices, creating an immersive experience for users. What this means is that you’ll be maximizing the reach of your content, engaging your audience with an easy-to-use layout (simply tap left or right) and giving them content in the format they prefer.
Just as importantly, Google Web Stories support interactive elements such as polls and quizzes. Thereby, Web Stories can supplant many different formats and replace them with one that encapsulates every quality that modern site visitors expect.
There’s a caveat, however. Google is pushing Web Stories as a standalone feature, which is, in a way, good for publishers. But it also means that they’ll be on the lookout for publishers who try to use Web Stories as means to drive more traffic to other content on their sites. If Google catches you providing incomplete content to tease your users to explore other pages on your site, they might penalize you.
Popular Web Story builders
There’s no impossibly high entry bar to beat to become one of the publishers using Stories on Google. So far, builder software and plugins are the answer if you want to learn how to make Google Web Stories.
Web story builders are tools that allow you to create, develop and publish your own Google Web Stories. They’re quite user-friendly and allow you to focus on the messaging rather than any technical hurdles.
Take the Google WordPress plugin for example. It’s a perfect addition to any website using WordPress as a CMS, as it will give you access to a massive library of templates, visuals and various interactive elements. If you’re already using WordPress, this plugin will make your foray into Web Stories seamless and intuitive.
It is only one of many helpful web story builders out there. For example, MakeStories will allow you to put together images, GIFs, videos, illustrations, etc., while Newsroom AI will give you access to a powerful analytics feature.
E-commerce websites love StorifyMe for creating interactive web stories that convert customers along the marketing funnel. You can use it to create a one-of-a-kind storytelling device for your brand.
Web Story design tips
Here’s how to get into Google Top Stories: structure-wise, there are three types of pages you should have in your web story — poster, cover page and story page. Poster is the first page, i.e., the exterior of your Google Web Stories. The packaging if you will. The cover page is the first page your users will see, and just like the poster page, there’s only one of it. As for story pages, you can have as many as you wish or however much it takes to tell your story.
Every page should ooze brand identity — your unique brand elements should be recognizable no matter what stage of the user journey. It should always be clear whose Web Stories the users are viewing.
It’s also an excellent idea to use video as much as you can in your Google Stories. Every Google Web Story should have as many video elements as possible. Google intended it to be a video-first feature, and they’re certain to value stories that contain such content and rank them higher.
On a more technical note, you need to ensure your Google Story supports the AMP framework. You can find various guides on testing AMP pages that will help you ensure just that.
Google Website Stories is unique in many aspects, despite being quite similar in form and function to other short-form content features often associated with social networks. It’s an underestimated way to rank on Google and get views — with the added bonus of additional ad inventory — for your website. Create a story that is worthwhile and memorable and commit to a web story builder of your choice. Soon, you will have content that stands out from all the rest and enhances your brand identity.