Besides that one friend or family member with a BlackBerry or Motorolla Razr, everyone has seen Instagram/Facebook Stories, TikTok videos, or Instagram Reels videos.
Google recently announced Web Stories.
What are Google Web Stories?
Web Stories on Google are multi-format “slides” a user can tap through to consume content in a new experience. It’s a mix of video, images, texts, and animations to let the reader pace through the content by tapping or swiping back and forth. It reminds me of the Carousel format but not as salesy.
Web Stories on Google will be placed in related search results on mobile only with the goal to make it easier to navigate high-level information. My personal thought is that the mobile experience for search results is getting worse than better with ever longer content pieces ranking on the top. Stories will summarize the ideas of the content piece in easily digestible pieces.
Google already announced that the next big SEO Algorithm update will focus on user experiences – especially on mobile. Stories will help your site and audience exactly with that.
Reactively you should already optimize your site for user experience but more so you can proactively create content with Web Stories on Google.
How can I create Web Stories?
If you use WordPress you can use a PlugIn to develop Web Stories and choose from already existing templates. Simply implement the Stories to your page.
Will my Web Stories rank on Google?
This feature is still very new and not many content creators use Web Stories on Google yet. The SEO community assumes that Google waits a little longer until keywords have enough related Stories to provide the user with the best possible experience. While some keywords might have Story results, others may not.
First mover advantage
It’s obviously not guaranteed, but Google LOVES their own products. For example, they might boost your site for local SEO searches if you embed your Google Maps listing onto your site.
We can only assume that similar to early adopters of Reels – for instance – that Google’s algorithm favors new product pioneers. On the other hand, it’s only logical if there is less competition and Google can already gather positive engagement signals from your Web Stories compared to a new story.
Benefits of Google Web Stories
I can see three main benefits for Web Stories – even if they never rank in Google’s Discover section:
User engagement: Touched on earlier, the user can flip through the Web Stories on your site and therefore might stay longer, check out more pages, or even convert. Keep in mind it’s new for users/readers, too. They might be more curious. Which ultimately will be rewarded by Google (now and with the upcoming SEO algorithm update).
Updating your content for “normal” SEO: It’s always good – no mandatory – to update old content to keep it relevant. Going through existing content and recycle it to Web Stories will not just give you an opportunity to add a new piece to your content but maybe also refresh it. For example, you may have a list of 5 tips to diving in your area, and maybe it’s time to update those and add a sixth.
Backlinks: Remember when everyone emailed you to link back to their infographics? When we flipped open our Motorola Razr infographics were the most amazing thing. Web Stories could be the infographics of 2021. It’s more shareable than a 3,000-word piece.
Wrapping up, Google Web Stories are a great way to increase user engagement which is most important. The side effects of potential backlinks and getting ranked in the discovery section are massive, too. Getting started in a non-crowded SEO place is always recommended. Like one of my favorite ad campaigns by Adidas says “First Never Follows”.