Have you been browsing the web recently only to find something resembling an Instagram story or a WhatsApp status? They are the new invention for displaying your content, and it’s called Google Web Stories.
They are Google’s version of the popular story format you see on other platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc.
Research shows that 64% of weekly mobile users prefer tappable Web Stories to scrollable articles.
Google Web Stories allow you to create and host content that engages your audience using visuals like videos, images, texts, animation, and audio. This format will enable you to bring your site’s users an immersive, full-screen experience and bring your content to life.
Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Google Web Stories.
What are Google Web Stories?
Formerly known as AMP stories, Google Web Stories are immersive, visual full-screen experiences that are engaging and tappable. Your audience can watch quickly by swiping through it or tapping from one story to the next.
But unlike those other platforms, where your stories disappear after 24 hours, Google Web Stories are hosted on your website and powered by AMP technology.
So you have complete control over creating and distributing your Web Stories. You can share it directly with your audience or on other social platforms.
Where can Google Web Stories be found?
You can find Google Web Stories on:
- Google Search: This is the regular search engine billions of searchers use worldwide.
- Google Image: This is the image section of Google search where results are shown visually.
- Google Discover App: This is the discovery feed you see when you open Google on your phone. It is a personalized, curated feed for you, available on Apple and Android devices.
Format for Google Web Stories
A Web Story has three parts: poster, cover photo, and story pages.
A poster is the first thing a reader sees on their Google Search result or Discover app. It is like a cover photo for your Web Story, and it will determine whether readers will engage with it.
It gives a preview of what your story is about. A poster should be visually appealing and enticing to pull in the reader and get them to click to watch your Web Stories. Consider your poster as your Web Story packaging.
Remember that the poster has some restrictions; videos and animations are prohibited. The poster must be a photo.
This part is where readers will land after they click on your poster; it is the landing page for your Web Stories.
The cover page is the first part of your story. It should be captivating to grab the reader’s attention and get them to swipe to watch the remaining story.
You would want the poster and cover page to look similar so your readers don’t think they clicked on the wrong link.
There are not so many restrictions with the cover page; you can use videos, animations, texts, and music.
This part is where you begin to tell your story and narrative using video, text, animations, music, pictures, and other visually engaging creative assets.
For Google to distribute your story, each Web Story must be a minimum of four (4) pages, ideally less than 30.
But if you need more than 30 pages to tell your story, you can go for it. Remember that it is important to tell good stories your readers can follow.
Later in this guide, I will show you how to create a storyboard so your stories can flow cohesively.
Storytelling styles for your Google Web Stories
Here are different storytelling styles you can use for your Web Stories:
1. First-person narrative
Using this style, you tell the story from your perspective and pull your audience into the story.
Here you will share your point of view; you can share an experience, your unique way or perspective of doing things, a lesson you learned, etc.
With this style, your audience is emotionally invested in your story.
For example, “How I spent my summer holiday in Greece without breaking the bank.”
2. Third-person narrative
This style involves telling the story from an inactive perspective. For example, “What to do in Greece during the summer.”
The story usually focuses on the subject, so it does not have much human connection and is not very relatable. But it has its place. You can use it for educational purposes or listicles. I will tell you more about these two storytelling styles as we go further.
3. Educational stories
In this story style, you educate your audience on something. It could be how-tos, a guide, a product review, or you are answering your audience’s question.
For example, “How to make homemade pizza.”
4. Evergreen or updating
These stories are like a log or journal you update regularly; it can be every day, once a week, or whatever you choose. These stories have a beginning but no end because you will keep updating them.
For example, you can use it as a travel log or my daily life journal to update daily happenings in your life or a season. You may be working on a project and want to give daily updates or progress.
5. Live stories
These are good for live updates, breaking news, or anything happening. Unlike evergreen stories, you update the stories in real-time, and your audience can see the live update.
6. Experiential stories
This storytelling style allows the audience to experience an event or a place. For example, you visited a place; you went for an event like a concert, a sporting event, a family dinner/vacation, etc.
You are taking your audience with you and allowing them to experience it.
Almost everyone likes a good list; this storytelling style will help you bring your lists to life.
You can make a top 10 list, list your favorite products, and include your affiliate link. You can even turn some of your list blog posts into a story format to make them more engaging.
8. Quizzes and polls
You can engage your audience with interactive quizzes and polls. You can ask them questions and reveal the answers.
You can take a poll to learn more about your audience and their interest. You can also use it for other purposes, and it functions just like the quizzes and polls you see on Instagram stories.
Google Web Stories examples
Here are some examples of real-life Web Stories as seen on the internet:
Refinery29 made a story about how money is made in their “How Stuff is Made” series.
This story shows how one can turn a boring topic into engaging and immersive content for readers using stories.
Refinery29 used each story panel to show the steps; creative assets like videos, texts, voice-overs, and sounds hooked the readers.
- The Burger Sisters of Kenya – Vice
This is an inspirational story about two sisters who returned from the U.K. to start a food business in Kenya. The story was told in a first-person narrative, pulling the audience into this story.
Different video shots and angles showcased their food truck, behind the scenes of the burgers, and the two sisters talking directly to the camera.
These different shots and the cohesive arrangement of the story made it enjoyable to watch from the beginning to the end.
This Web Story is an example of a listicle. This story showed seven food stores where you could get delicious things at North 3rd Street Market in New York. The videos showed the behind-the-scenes of making the food and the finished product.
This made it more experiential for the audience and made them feel more connected to the story because they watched the process. Instead of just listing the places with a picture of the food, this Web Story created a desire for the audience to try some.
Vogue did a Web Story about an actress in India. The whole idea of the story was to get to know her better. The story used pictures, videos, text, and sound.
The zoom-in and out animation of the pictures kept the reader’s attention, so it was not boring. Having a video come between the pictures made it enjoyable to watch. The videos acted as a pattern disruption, so it was not monotonous; an excellent example of how to mix images and videos for your Web Story. A little animation will make your still photos more interesting to watch.
This creator used the first-person storytelling style for her Web Stories. She took her audience on a journey to the nail salon, showing the process of getting her nails done and the final result.
Her audience got to experience this visit to the nail salon with her. Something about this type of story gets the audience hooked until the end to see the outcome.
How to Use Google Web Stories
Tell your brand story.
Everybody has a story to share, and Web Stories have made it easier for you to share your story engagingly and interestingly. You can share why you started your brand and the journey so far.
Teach your audience something new or exciting.
You can use Google Web Stories to educate your audience. It could be a recipe, a DIY project, how to do something, etc.
You can bring your list post to life with engaging Web Stories.
Use immersive visuals to make your list more captivating and enjoyable to watch.
Use Web Stories to share helpful and valuable tips with your audience. You know those things you wanted to share, but they are too short for a blog post? You can turn it into engaging Web Stories.
Tell interesting or inspiring stories.
You can tell stories about exciting things that happened to you or someone and share stories that inspire your audience. Make sure the story is relatable to your audience and something they will find valuable.
Share personal stories about your life and business, or share your experience. An example is “A Day in a Life of,” “Travel with Me,” “Shop with Me,” etc.
How to make Google Web Stories
Here is a stepwise process to make Google Web Stories:
Decide on the story narrative.
Before creating your Web Stories, you need a compelling storyline/narrative with a definite beginning and end. Clarity is important here because you will build the rest of your Web Story creation process in this phase.
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- What will the story be all about?
- What is the concept of the story?
- What is the title?
- What visuals are needed to tell this story; images, videos, texts, animations, voice-over, etc.?
- What storytelling style will you use?
Start by writing out all your ideas (do a brain dump). It does not have to be perfect. Just write everything out, then you can flesh out your ideas and organize them in the storyboard.
Create a storyboard.
The storyboard is a graphic representation that shows how your story will unfold from start to finish. This part is where you determine the flow of your Google Web Stories. The storyboard is like a road map that guides you while creating your stories.
First, decide how many story pages will be needed to tell your story. You can keep it between 10 to 12 pages; you don’t want your story to be too long that you lose your audience’s attention.
The next thing is to write and draw a rough representation of what each story page will look like and include visuals and copies that you will need. This is where you will plan out your poster and the cover; it should have the hook, the story pages, where to include the call to action and links and the closing slide.
If you need to shoot some videos, write out the shots you will need and the actions that will be taken during the shots.
Suppose you are making a recipe. What will be the first, second, and subsequent shot, and how will you end it? This way, you have everything planned, so you don’t miss any important shots.
Whether you are sharing a recipe, teaching something, sharing your travel experience, or doing a DIY project, creating a storyboard before you begin to make your Web Stories is crucial.
Also, if you want to use pictures and stock videos, you want to write out the type of videos or pictures you need to communicate your message to your audience.
You can create your storyboard or use templates. Take a look at Google’s Web Story Script Template.
Source your content.
Now that you have drafted your storyboard, it’s time to create or curate your content. You should set aside time to create your content, whether you are using videos or pictures.
And if you already have content you can repurpose or want to use stock photos and videos, you should sort them out and create a folder so it will be easy to access.
Choose your editing tool.
You want to choose an editing tool that works for you and is easy to use. If you have coding skills, you can use AMP technology and follow this guide and tutorial from AMP on creating a custom functional Web Story.
If you use WordPress, you can install the Google Web Stories for WordPress plugin, built by Google. It is a user-friendly editor that will help you create your Web Stories. It includes templates, drag-and-drop tools, easy access to your WordPress media library, and customizable design elements.
If you do not use WordPress, you can use stand-alone editors like Newsroom AI or MakeStories.
Here is a list of other editing tools for your Google Web Stories.
Newsroom AI is an editor with a user-friendly interface with freestyle functionality allowing you to manage shapes, media, or text layers. You can manage your brand element and templates and assign tasks to your team. Sign up with your Google account, set up your account, and start creating.
This editor has different prices with different features, but the free version is enough for you to get started. You can create stories, collaborate with your team, get analytics, and monetize your stories through ads.
With the paid version, you can connect your domain to publish, save or update your stories without any subsequent upload.
Newsroom Studio automatically takes care of your site map so your content is discoverable on the search. The paid version integrates with Gretty images, giving you access to a photo library.
MakeStories is an editor with a simple drag-and-drop functionality. It has a library of templates, designs, fonts, animations, stickers, illustrations, and shapes you can choose from.
When you click “create a new story,” the app guide will walk you through its functions. It is fully packed, and sometimes it might feel overwhelming because of its features, but you will get used to it after creating two to four Web Stories.
This editor also has a WordPress integration. However, it allows you to connect your website directly via FTP and export your story as a zip file to publish directly on your site. You can host your story on MakeStories shared hosting and export it as PNG to use on social media.
MakeStories has a publishing tool that helps you validate your Web Story and verify the metadata.
Other editing tools for Web Stories include:
- JOIN Stories
- Visual Stories
- Tappable Stories
- Viqeo Studio
Create your Web Story.
It is time to create your Web Stories using your storyboard, editing tool, and content. While creating your Web Stories, remember that visual content is vital. Use as many videos as you can and create original content. Design your Web Stories in a way that keeps your audience hooked.
Test your Web Story.
After creating your Web Stories, testing them before you hit the publish button is important. Here are some things you need to check:
- Ensure that the Web Story is AMP valid. Use the Web Story Google test tool to test it.
- Verify the metadata: For your Web Stories to be eligible to appear on Google Search or Google Discover experiences, ensure you include the correct metadata.
- You can refer to the complete list of metadata here.
- Check if the Web Story is indexed. Use the URL inspection tool to check it.
Best practices for optimizing Google Web Stories
- Use videos as much as possible. Remember that a Web Story is first a video format.
- Have a storyline and use a narrative arc to include suspense, making the story more interesting.
- Use high-quality static photos for the poster. Videos and animations are not allowed.
- Ensure you put the most engaging part of your poster’s imagery in the upper two-thirds to avoid it getting cut off.
- Use captivating covers to hook readers in; you want to pull in your audience so they can watch until the end.
- Be concise and avoid block text. Don’t use more than 280 characters in your story pages. Too much text will make it difficult to read.
- Ensure text legibility. Choose font styles, sizes, and weights that are legible. Use text contrast or background fill to make the text stand out.
- Keep texts within the safe zone so they don’t get cut off when people view them on different devices.
- Use engaging elements: animation, quizzes, and polls can increase engagement and make your stories more interesting.
- Use animation thoughtfully and use animation styles that suit you or your brand. Too much animation might make it difficult to watch.
- Add captions to videos to keep the audience engaged. Some people watch stories without sound, so using captions in your stories will make them more accessible.
- Use your branding identity. Use your brand colors, logos, and other elements to create a cohesive feel. You want your audience to know that it is you.
- Use CTAs that are relevant to your Google Web Stories. Let people know the next step to take after watching your story.
- Optimize your Web Stories for Google search. Verify the metadata of your Web Story.
Benefits of Google Web Stories
It’s a new way for people to find you.
Web Stories can be a source of traffic to your site because they can be found on Google Search and Google Discover. More people will be able to find you when they search on Google, and using the CTA, you can drive traffic back to your site. Remember that Google is one of the most powerful search tools.
You own the content.
Unlike other social media platforms where the stories disappear after 24 hours, you have complete control over the ownership and distribution of your Google Web Stories. You can embed them on your site or share them with your audience on other platforms.
You will be bringing an immersive experience to your website.
The immersive nature of Google Web Stories helps to bring your story to life and engage your audience with a full-screen immersive experience.
They have unique ad opportunities.
Using a programmatic ads solution, Google is making it easier for creators and brands to monetize their Web Stories. The Web Story ad is an engaging, fascinating full-screen experience that flows naturally with the storyline and makes the user experience seamless. Depending on your story’s purpose, you can include calls to action for a product, a landing page, an affiliate link, etc.
Your audience will enjoy watching them.
The story format is already widely popular on social media platforms, and the engaging format makes it interesting to watch. Your audience will enjoy consuming your content in a different format.
They are fun to create.
Web Stories are another way to express your creativity. You can have fun creating and telling different types of stories and experiment with different styles of stories to see what works.
Google Web Stories SEO best practices
- Provide high-quality content.
- Keep the title of the poster between 70 and 90 characters.
- Add metadata to all elements of your Google Web Stories.
- Add alt text to images to increase discoverability.
- Ensure you don’t include a noindex attribute to your story and add your Web Story to your site map.
- Make your Web Stories self-canonical. Make sure your Web Story has a link rel=“canonical.”
- Include structure data in your Web Story to help Google Search understand the structure and content of your Web Stories.
- Integrate Web Stories into your website.
- Ensure your Google Web Stories are AMP valid.
- Use the proper aspect ratio for your poster and logo.
- Add support for landscape displays to enable Web Stories to appear on Google Search results.
FAQs for Google Web Stories
What are Google Web Stories?
Google Web Stories are immersive, visual full-screen experiences that are engaging and tappable. Your audience can watch at their pace by swiping through it or tapping from one story to the next.
Where can you find Web Stories?
You can find Web Stories on Google Search, Google Image, and Google Discover App, available on Apple and Android devices.
Can you make money with Web Stories?
Yes, you can. You can monetize your Web story using a programmatic ads solution that creates a seamless ad experience for your audience. You can include calls to action for a product, a landing page, an affiliate link, etc.
Do Web Stories disappear after 24 hours?
Your Web Stories can exist for whatever time you desire, and you have complete control over them.
Web Story allows you to reach more people and engage your audience with an interactive, captivating experience hosted on your site.
The best part is you have complete control over creating and distributing your content.
You can customize your Web Stories with drag-and-drop editors and ensure you follow the tips and guidelines I have shared to get the most out of your Google Web Stories.
Don’t sleep on this opportunity that Google has provided to get more traffic, engage site users, and monetize.
Start sharing your stories today!
Will you start using Google Web Stories on your website?