What are Web Stories?
Web Stories is a rich, scrollable format for visual storytelling for use on mobile devices. Web Stories offers a full screen experience that can incorporate all kinds of content imaginable. Unlike closed formats like Instagram Stories, Web Stories are open and free to distribute. You can create and publish it on your own site. You own your stories
In addition, web stories have their own place in Google search results, right at the top. And that’s not all, because Stories can also appear in Google Photos, Discover, and the Google app. They are all very prominent.
Web stories give you more control over what you publish and how you publish it. You are free to decide the format, where to publish it, and how long you want the story to “live”. These stories fire up fast and provide you with fast, easy-to-understand content.
Note that although web stories are designed for mobile devices, all stories automatically get a simple desktop viewer as well. This means that your mobile content is truly accessible to everyone.
Goodbye AMP Stories, hello Web Stories
In early 2018, Google introduced AMP Stories to quickly create visual stories for the web using open technologies. In May 2020, AMP Stories became web stories, and in October 2020, it was launched on the world’s first platform – WordPress. The Web Stories plugin for WordPress has made it easy to create stories on the platform you own – your website.
Google continues to make improvements to Web Stories as adoption increases. Tools like the Rich Result Test Tools and the Search Console can now recognize web stories in this way. In the WordPress plugin settings, you can configure the Analytics tracking ID. This helps you get an idea of how your stories are performing.
Examples of Web Stories
You can use web stories for a lot of things, and we’ve seen a lot of big media brands do that. Although it seems like the best option for small content, you can dig into your stories a bit. If you can build an engaging story, people might flock to it. This is exactly what can make your content go viral.
Here are some cool example of Web Stories (and its predecessor AMP Stories):
|The BBC made a Web Story about the moon|PCGamesN made a story about battle royal games with only videos
|The Atlantic is always on the lookout for journalistic stories
How to build Web Stories with the WordPress plugin
Getting started with Web Stories is easy if you have a WordPress site. Install the official Google Web Stories plugin and don’t forget to read the Google documentation to prepare your story for the search engine. The outdoor plugin is developed by an amazing team of developers at Google and it is a work of art. It has been officially released so that everyone can create stories.
Once the plugin is installed, go to the editor settings and fill in the required details. Then you are good to go! If you’re lacking inspiration or want to get an idea of what a web story could be, explore the Templates section. Do you see one you like? Click Use Template and the editor will open with the template. Now, you can use different tools to adapt the story to your liking.
Keep in mind
Web Stories are a great new addition to your content arsenal. It’s a completely different tool for a completely different purpose. Of course, not everyone will find these stories useful, but look at the possibilities. Easy to get started, yet powerful!
Here are some things to keep in mind:
Make sure your story urls are available in the XML sitemap (Yoast SEO does it for you)
Add structured schema data to make it easier for Google to understand your stories (Yoast SEO does it for you)
Link to your stories from other (related) parts of your site
Make sure your stories are valuable and of high quality.
You can add ads, but don’t overdo
Don’t add too many links to external sources, it will distract your readers
Keep the story short and quick (Google says 5-30 pages, with a good spot between 10-20)
Make the title short
Don’t use too much text on the pages.
Add alt text to describe images for accessibility
Stories are great for videos, but keep them short
And as Google wrote in their SEO post for Web Stories:
Do all the things you would do for SEO on any other page on your website. If it helps to rank non-fiction pages, then stories probably help too.
One word will pass when you read the list above: short. A good story is short, while still valuable and revealing. try that. Find out what your audience likes to see and in what format. This is still new, so there are no “rules” so to speak. Fortunately, the Google Web Stories plugin for WordPress makes these stories a joy to create.
Don’t forget to test your web stories in the AMP Test Tool to see if your stories can be included in the search results.
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