We all know that people love to engage and interact with stories. A lot of social media networks have already been using these tappable stories. Google has recently rebranded AMP Stories as Web Stories and now has its own ‘fully immersive,’ ‘best in class’ and ‘amazingly engaging’ version.
Web stories have their own dedicated carousel in Google Discover, giving publishers a great opportunity to create relevant content for getting more organic traffic. They offer a wide range of features, such as videos, graphics, and text. The main goal is to make your brand narratives interactive enough to engage your target audience.
Creating Google Web Stories for search results has many benefits like:
- Increase your competitive advantage;
- Present the unique value proposition of your business idea;
- Get more traffic to your website;
- Appeal to the emotions of your target audience;
- Humanize your brand;
- Entertain and engage your audience.
As a savvy marketer, you need to take full advantage of SEO opportunities for Web Stories. Properly optimized pages appear anywhere in Google across Images, Search, Discover. This is one of their most special features that makes Google Web Stories unique from their competitors.
All SEO practices that we use for any other piece of content also can be used for Web Stories. Besides traditional SEO tactics, you need to implement some story-specific requirements.
Let’s dive into these smart tips to optimize your Web Story to show it on search results of Google.
1. Set the metadata attributes
To get found and indexed on Google Search and Google Discover, you need to input certain metadata attributes for your Web Stories. They require HTML markup to be valid and enhance the user experience. Make sure that your Web Stories stick to the AMP story metadata guidelines.
The following fields such as title, publisher, poster image, and publisher logo are required to include in every Web Story. You can also add a page title, description, Twitter card, and Open Graph data to it.
You can benefit from optional story-specific metadata to make your story accessible in landscape mode and display it on the desktop.
This will make it easy for users to tell what your stories are about and find relevant information. Moreover, metadata will help you ensure the highest compatibility of your Web Stories with search engines and discovery features.
To verify metadata, you can check out whether your Web Story correctly appears in the Web Stories Google Test Tool.
2. Implement Valid AMP Code
To make your Web Story load faster, you need to add valid AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) code to your story. It will help you easily appear on the search results of Google and enhance the user experience.
How to add AMP code to your Web Story:
- Use the AMP- analytics script and add it to the <head> of your file.
- Include the configuration code and AMP-analytics components at the end of the body tag that is inside the AMP-story component.
Once you add the AMP code, a valid AMP story should follow different AMP specifications. You can check out the validity of your AMP Web Story using the Web Stories Google Test Tool.
3. Control crawling and indexing
Make sure that Google has indexed your Web Story. To help Google easily find your published stories, link to them from your website or add them to your sitemap. If you want to be shown in desktop Google search results, add support for landscape display.
Check if your Web Story isn’t blocked to Googlebot through the noindex tag or robot.txt. Use the Index Coverage Report and Sitemaps Report in Search Console to check out whether Google can find your Web Stories.
Make sure to use the canonical tags for your Web Stories. Try to include a link rel= “canonical” tag to each story in the head of your HTML document. For example,
<link rel=”canonical” href=”https://www.yourwebsite.com/url/to/webstory.html“>
P.S. If you have the same story in different languages, use hreflang tag best practices to better serve your target audience.
4. Optimize the design of your Web Story
Web Stories are about images and videos. That’s why they are so visually appealing and attract much traffic. If you want to keep your visitors engaged with your stories, focus on creating high-resolution, edge-to-edge, and vibrant images and videos to render a truly immersive user experience.
To create immersive, high-performing designs, VistaCreate is a great solution to easily make everything for free without violating copyrights. You can also bring any static objects to life with animations and remove unwanted backgrounds from your images or videos.
VistaCreate is freemium, but the paid version has a lot of additional features such as a royalty-free files library, no limits for downloads, priority support, and design with the team.
You can also find a lot of visual content options in Depositphotos as another image and video editing alternative. Use its advanced search filters to quickly find exactly what you want by season, image, location, time of day, orientation, people, and more.
Once you start creating Web Stories, make sure to optimize four main components – logo, title or description, poster image or video, and publishing information. Here are some valuable tips you can use:
- Include your logo in a story as it represents your brand and should be visible to your audience. Follow these specifications: start with the minimum resolution of 96 by 96 pixels, with an aspect ratio of 1:1.
- Keep titles shorter than 90 characters. Use a descriptive title to help users better understand what your story will be about. Use numbers, questions, and power words in the titles to increase the visual appearance and clearly show the position for users.
- Include the markup of a meta title and meta description, OGP, structured data to meet the AMP story metadata guidance.
- Select the focus keyword that matches the whole Web Story. Your title and description must be around this focus keyword or a related phrase.
- Limit your description to 280 characters and keep it concise without filler text.
- Add captions to your videos to help people better understand your Web Story. Make sure that your captions don’t overlap with other content or don’t get cut off the screen.
- Add Alt tags to your images to improve visibility and indexing in search engines. Use a keyword in your Alt tag.
- A portrait image or video should be at least 640 by 853 pixels with an aspect ratio of 3:4.
- The video length shouldn’t exceed 15 seconds per page or a maximum of 60 seconds for the overall video story. The story play must be in an auto-advance mode to let people watch content in a relaxed manner.
- Include your name or brand’s name together with the logo that will appear at the button of your Web Story on every page.
- Add external CTAs to your last page to make your content more engaging.
5. Deliver high-quality content
Whether you create content about business insurance or cooking recipes, you need to focus on the quality to satisfy your audience’s doubts and render a feasible solution. To make it interesting and useful to your readers, try to include a complete narrative and use these storytelling best practices. Your stories should make sense and have a logical beginning and end.
Here is a good example of high-quality Google Web Stories from Paul Bakaus, who tells about SEO for web stories. High-quality images, the first-person storytelling format, an attractive color scheme, dynamic visuals, and valuable information – all these things make web stories unique, engaging, and eye-catching.
Think long-term if you want to build the authority and increase the visibility of your Web Story. To achieve this, you need to publish evergreen content that will be in demand for years to come. This way will help you rank on the top of search results for a competitive keyword.
6. Focus on internal linking
To help Google learn about your stories, you need to link to them from your homepage or relevant category pages. Google recommends building a separate Web Story landing page that will publish links to all your stories and then link from your homepage to that landing page. You can create the default landing page that WordPress makes for this post type (e.g., yourwebsite.com/web-stories/).
Focus on internal linking. Try linking your Web Stories in your sidebar that will be noticeable enough to get the job done. The main goal is to keep the landing page one click away from your homepage. Two clicks from your Web Stories to pages and vice-versa. That will give you a good chance to rank your content higher on Google.
To link your pages from stories, you can create links as Page Attachments in the Web Stories for WordPress plugin. It will look like a “swipe up” link on the page.
7. Measure the performance of your Web Stories
As the saying goes, you can’t improve what you don’t measure. The earlier you measure the performance of your Web Stories, the more insight you will get to go forward. To better understand how Google finds the content, site owners can use Search Console to analyze traffic and detect potential issues that prevent your Web Stories from standing out in Google Search Results.
If you can’t see any impressions for your stories in Search Console, ensure to meet all requirements using Google’s testing tool. It will show you how your Web Stories look like in Google to decide whether you need to improve anything for them.
You can also use Google Analytics to measure how people interact with your stories, how much time they spend on them, and whether they click on your CTA links. Try to create a separate Google Analytics profile to evaluate the success of your Web Stories because your website traffic is not the same as the traffic to Web Stories.
To discover more information about conversions, user behavior, events, and mobile users in a click, I recommend Finteza as a great advanced analytics solution for your stories. It makes it easy to measure the quality of traffic from any source and hundreds of events.
You can monitor stories using the Finteza dashboard or its WordPress plugin. It allows you to build up your funnels to compare your different events and check out what leads to the final conversion.
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Telling your story through Google Web Stories is a great way to engage with your audience and increase your brand’s reputation. In contrast to its competitors, Google Web Stories are not time-constrained. I mean, they can appear anywhere, anytime, without any restrictions.
You can create a story on any topic you want to cover, from a new product release announcement to an extension to any of your current articles. All you need to do is understand the main idea of Web Stories and use all SEO tips mentioned in this article.
Here’s a quick recap of the seven great tips to improve your Google Web Stories for search results:
- Set the metadata attributes
- Implement Valid AMP Code
- Control crawling and indexing
- Optimize the design of your Web Story
- Deliver high-quality content
- Focus on internal linking
- Measure the performance of your Web Stories
Written by our guest writer Irina Weber
Irina is an expert on Content Marketing. Irina is an experienced content marketing supervisor and brand manager at SE Ranking. After working in content marketing for enterprises and startups for more than eight years, she wants to exchange ideas and share information learned with other content marketing experts. She is passionate about digital marketing and always up-to-date with the latest trends.