You may have heard about Google’s new feature called Google Web Stories. If you haven’t yet, you’re in for a treat, because this is a new opportunity for your business to create content. One that could double or triple your current traffic and open up opportunities for more users to discover you on Google search.
What are Google Web Stories?
Google web stories are visual features in the form of images and videos that appear inside Google. You may be thinking, “It’s like Instagram or Facebook stories.” Well, not quite. Yes, they are tappable stories that occupy your entire screen when viewed. But these stories can be posted on your own website, so they have a URL, and they aren’t time-bound. Additionally, you can add your own links, calls-to-action, and Google Ads in them. Another factor that makes web stories unique is that it’s responsive, which means it works well on desktop and mobile devices, depending on how you want them to look. Take this web story by INPUT as an example. It has 11 stories that take up the entire screen when viewed on desktop. Aside from your website, Google web stories can appear on any Google platform, like Google Discovery, Google Search and some apps.
Why Explore Web Stories for Content Marketing?
People love tapping on stories and watching them unfold. This is why Facebook absorbed Instagram’s story feature and added it to their platform. Google is the largest search engine in the world with over 7 billion searches a day and nearly 4 billion users. These are data that marketers should take advantage of and work with, and web stories will help you do both. Here is why.
It Allows Your Website to Show Your Brand’s Human Side
About 4 billion people use Google, and the majority of them love stories. Use this to let people know more about your brand, what you’re learning, and what the brand is doing behind the scenes. Having these stories posted on your website will create a more personable brand that resonates with your prospects, visitors, and customers.
It Gives Your Complete Control Over Your Content Marketing Strategy
Your story can be accessed on different parts of the web, but because it’s hosted on your website, you have complete control over every decision, this includes how you monetize your story, and if you want it to stay longer than 24 hours. All up to you.
It Can Be Optimized for Mobile and Desktop
Google web stories can be optimized for mobile and desktop. You can decide on every creative aspect, like how the story will look on desktop or mobile, so you can design the overall theme to fit your brand. Having the control over the look will allow you to publish more immersive content whether it’s full screen videos, photos, or audio. Many of your audience, mainly the ones in the B2B spectrum, still do work on their desktop or laptop, and you want your stories to reach them, too. Since web stories can be optimized for all devices, your site will be more responsive, thus, improving user experience.
It’s Not Time-Bound
As mentioned above, web stories don’t have any time limit. You have the ability to make it watchable for as long as you require. Unlike other social media stories, where the content can only be viewable for 24 hours before they disappear, you can fully customize and control how long your web stories can be viewed.
It Gets Your Content More Traffic
If you’re using image SEO to drive traffic to your website then web stories will increase your SEO value since they have a better chance of showing up in Google platforms, like the search results. Similarly, you can add links and CTAs to your stories, which will boost traffic to your site. Each Story has a URL for Better Reach This will make it easier to share or embed your stories, and it can be quickly viewed on other platforms as well. With a URL, you can also link to your other content, whether it’s on other websites or on social media, which enables them to be seen on search engines. This is different from social media stories where they’re mainly seen by people who follow your brand. Also, since it’s a Google feature, it will be pushed in its other platforms: Google Images, Discover, search engines, Gmail, and so on.
How to Create Your First Web Story
Now that you know what web stories are and how it can benefit your content marketing efforts, it’s now time to create your first web story. Google Web Stories run on AMP framework, so if you have a web developer on your team, they can read the guide and tutorials on the AMP website for more information. However, if you’re creating stories yourself then you need to have the proper tools.
You can use MakeStories or Newsroom AI. If your website runs on WordPress then you can use their own web stories plugin. It’s pretty easy to start. Just download the necessary plugin, and then you can begin creating your story from scratch. There are templates you can use as these tools will have professional templates ready for you. You can also create your own and then upload it. Although you can upload stories one at a time, like you do on social media, to maximize the capabilities and effects of web stories, view it as a “self-contained editorial story”; there should be multiple stories uploaded at the same time with a beginning and an end.
Tip: Like any content creation process, planning and drafting the content of your story is a must. Analyze what story will engage your audience most before creating it. On the tool, design each page of the story as you have envisioned them, and then publish it. When the story is published, it can be linked to and indexed by search engines.
Make Google Web Stories Work for You
Google stories will be a helpful addition to your content marketing strategy, it will also boost your SEO efforts. Since it’s still in its early stages, nobody knows how well it will take effect in the future, but with how many people are finding stories immersive and engaging, the future is looking bright for this new Google feature. Now is the best time to enable web stories; compared to Instagram or Facebook stories, just a few savvy people are using and benefiting from this method for now. Tell your brand’s story in a fun and engaging way. Share your Google Web Stories and boost your content marketing efforts as well as your online reputation.
About the author: Dan Smink is the founder of C1 Partners, a Denver SEO company that helps small to medium enterprises with their digital marketing strategy. Dan comes from a background of 20 years in business leadership and has a track record of helping businesses achieve million-dollar revenue values. He is an active community leader and a contributor to the Forbes.com’s Agency Council spreading the word on how digital strategies can make a positive impact on today’s businesses. You may connect with him on LinkedIn.