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Google Web Stories, everything you need to know about it.

Google Web Stories | Everything You need to Know about Google Web Stories and How They Work

December 4, 2020
SEO
Education
Analytics

Google Web Stories are a new version of Google's already popular “Stories” publishing format which combines video, animations, audio and images to provide you with a unique content experience. The web stories format allows you to surf for content as you please by scrolling through different pieces of content to the next, much like you can do with Instagram and TikTok. 

In this article guide we will go through all the different places that Google Web Stories can appear. how to properly enable them so you can enhance your online experience and also how you can create your own web stories. Google Web Stories can be a serious source of exposure if you are content creator and can also be a new marketing channel for your business and brand. 

Let’s dive right in.


What are Google Web Stories?

Google Web Stories are visual format pieces of content which feature a sequence of images and videos along with text and audio. They are split up into sequence for the audience to scroll through in the order in which you specify. Google Web Stories are a great way to introduce your audience to a concept, product or idea in a structured format which entertains them and keeps them engaged. 

In some ways they function like Snapchat and Instagram, but don’t disappear after 24 hours. This gives marketers and publishers the ability to create evergreen content that their users can enjoy and come back to. 

Google Web Stories are not meant to be long articles.They are meant to be less than 280 characters of text and it’s recommended that they feature some sort of video or audio in order to enhance the audience's experience of the content on their mobile device. They are primarily geared to better accommodate the user experience on mobile.

Common Features of Google Web Stories

Some of the most common features behind Google Web Stories include: 

  1. The ability to include images, sound, video and motion animations. 
  2. Each web story features its own unique page which has a it’s own URL. This makes it easy for people to share online.
  3. Web stories can be indexed by search engines so they provide content creators the ability to be discovered organically by people
  4. They are featured in a search snippet for top news stories so they have the ability to drive massive amounts of traffic. 
  5. They give you the ability to create multiple pages which can drive the bounce rate on your website down. 

Where and How Google Web Stories Appear in Search?

Google Web Stories can appear in 3 different locations for users. These include Google Discover, Google Search and Google Images.

  1. Google Discover

Inside Google Discover, Google Web Stories appear in Android and IOS from the Google app in a carousel style format similar to that of Instagram and Snapchat. 

Carousel 

How Google Discover shows as a carousel format, image showing how it looks

The carousel style format is geared towards lifestyle content such as fitness, beauty, health, entertainment and celebrities. 

The other option for Google Web Stories inside Google Discover is the “single card”. This tends to be a single piece of content that is inside Google Discover which takes up the whole mobile channel. 

Single Card

google discover showing as a single card
Google Discover - Single Card
  1. Google Search

Inside Google Search web stories can appear in a grid style view. Say for example someone searches for “things to do in New York”,  the grid view will give people different options from different publishers. 

Grid View

How Google Search looks like in a grid view, example on how it looks


The other option under Google Search is the “single result”. This shows you a single publisher result at the top and smaller scale ones right below it.

Single Result

Google web stories within google search, as a single result


  1. Google Images

The third way that Google Web Stories can appear is inside Google Images. They were the same way as the search option. Once you hover over to Images when you perform a search query you will be presented with some of the different options. 

How to Enable and Create Web Stories on Google


Google Web Stories are small pieces of content layered in multiple sections and should be created with the user experience in mind, just like creating any standard blog post or article. There are two main ways to get started:

These two methods are the easiest and most intuitive in getting started with Google Web Stories as a content creator. There are a few technical integrations involved but the process is extremely simple.

Ensure Your Google Web Story is Valid AMP

After you have created your story, it’s important to make sure that your story is valid AMP which allows the story to be served through the AMP cache and provide the best experience for users.

Review the AMP specs here

If your website is hooked up to the Google Search Console you can test if your web story is valid AMP through there with the following steps below. 

There are other ways to check it, but these are the quickest and most effective.

Verify Metadata

In order for your Google Web Stories to appear and get indexed in search you have to make sure you provide the necessary metadata. 

  1. Checkout the list of required metadata 
  2. Verify that your Google Web Story appears in the Google Test Tool by typing in the URL of your web story. See below. 
how to check if your page is apm or web story valid

Check that Your Webs Story Has Been Indexed 

Once you have completed all the steps above it typically takes roughly 24-48 hours for your URL to get indexed by Google’s search engine. You can either search for your link directly in Google or you can check inside your Google Search Console using the Index Coverage Report. 

It’s also important to make sure that you specify all your Google Web Stories as canonical in order to make sure that it gets properly indexed and ranked on Google. See example below. 

https://www.example.com/url/to/webstory.html">

After all these things have been completed you should be able to see your Google Web Story in search and it should be visible to your audience. 

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