Google is not a social media channel per se, but one of its features, Google Web Stories, is similar to the stories format that you’d see on popular sites like Instagram.
It poses a unique opportunity for creators, so read on to learn all about Google Web Stories, what they can do for your business, and how to create them and make an impact.
Table of Contents:
What are Google Web Stories?
Google Web Stories are interactive, video-first pieces of content that creators can use to share information with audiences through tappable pages featuring audio, images, and text. The Web Story format was formerly known as AMP Stories.
Google says that styles that work the best with the format are first-person narratives, evergreen or updating stories, live stories, educational and experiential stories, and quizzes and polls.
Web Stories appear in standard Google Search results and as carousels in Google Discover, and you can also add them to a newsletter and link to them from your social media accounts. The image below shows a Web Story in Google Discover on the left and Google Search on the right.
Web Stories are also individual pages on your website, so they can be indexed and surfaced in relevant results. You can feature them as individual pieces of content within your website or embed them like podcast episodes or YouTube videos. The video below from Google for Creators goes into more detail.
Google Web Stories Format
Web Stories have three parts: a poster, a cover page, and story pages.
The poster is the first thing someone sees in your Story, and Google describes it as the packaging. Your cover page is the first page of the content of your story, and story pages are where you begin to tell your story and narrative with video, text, and your preferred assets.
There is only one poster and cover page per story, but you can have multiple story pages.
Can you monetize Google Web Stories?
You can monetize Google Web Stories with AdSense, Ad Manager, and display ads. You can also include affiliate links as attachments or CTAs.
This Web Story begins with what feels like a real-life experience as a car zooms across the screen and speeds across a race track. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E 1400 Prototype is a standout Web Story because of its expert use of video to draw users in. It embodies the video-first elements Google recommends and continues to be interactive throughout the rest of the piece.
2. Nylon – 10 Black-Authored Books To Add To Your Summer Reading List
Nylon’s 10 Black-Authored Books To Add To Your Summer Reading List Story is an excellent example of expertly using attachments and shoppable links to inspire interaction with viewers and make the user experience seamless. Viewers can tap through and read summaries of each book and, when interested, can click a link to be automatically directed to a site where they can purchase the book.
The Burger Sisters of Kenya is a Web Story about two sisters who own a famous burger food truck in Kenya. This Story is a great inspiration as it features a first-person narrative that feels like a conversation, high-quality video and visuals, and it minds accessibility with captions and audio transcriptions.
How to Make Google Web Stories
This Google format can bring various benefits to your business, like sharing a unique and engaging brand story with your audience, inspiring engagement with interactive elements, driving traffic to your different channels, and the ability to monetize and generate revenue.
Let’s go over how to make them.
1. Storyboard your narrative.
The first step is to storyboard and draft a narrative. Google created a storyboard script template to use to draft your Web Story narrative.
After you’ve created a final draft, pick the editor you’ll use to create your Story. If you have developer skills, you can follow a tutorial from AMP that will guide you through the process of creating a Story with custom functionality.
If you’re a WordPress user, you can use the Web Stories Plugin.
Google Web Stories Plugin
The Web Stories for WordPress plugin, built by Google, will help you easily create and publish your Web Stories on your WordPress site. The editor includes templates, a drag and drop builder, space for custom branded elements, and you can grab existing assets from your WordPress Media Library.
Once you’ve chosen your editor, begin building your Web Story.
4. Test your web story before publishing.
The final step is to enable your Web Story on Google, and this requires testing it with various tools.
To embed a Web Story on your WordPress site, you’d use the Web Stories block. If you’ve created your Web Story with any AMP tools, you’ll receive an embed link that you can paste within your site code.
Best Practices for Creating Google Web Stories
Let’s go over some best practices for creating your Web Stories.
1. Champion video-first storytelling.
Google meant for Web Stories to be video-first. It favors video over all else but welcomes audio, images, and animations that help you create a narrative. You can include text, but when you use it, aim for less than 280 characters, or approximately 40 to 70 words per page.
2. Use engaging elements.
Stories are meant to be interactive and engaging for users, so aim to use interactive elements.
The best way to do so is to have multiple story pages so you capture viewer attention and get them excited to tap and learn more. You can also include interactive quizzes and polls, CTAs, and links to different pages to increase viewer interaction with your content sources.
3. Use your brand identity.
Stories show up in SERPs and Google Discover, so you want to include your unique brand elements, so audiences know it’s you.
4. Ensure your stories are AMP valid.
Web Stories run on the AMP framework, so they need to be AMP valid. We recommended various testing tools above, so make sure to use them throughout your process to ensure your Stories can appear on the web.
5. Make your Web Stories accessible.
Although you want to champion visual storytelling, your Web Stories also need to be accessible. Add alt text to your images, transcribe audio, use subtitles and captions, and add metadata to your Stories to ensure everyone can benefit from them.
6. Be mindful of Google’s SEO standards.
As mentioned above, Web Stories are pages on your website. As a result, you want to be mindful of SEO best practices when creating your Web Stories so they can be indexed and ready to appear in SERPs.
Google Web Stories SEO Checklist
The same standard SEO best practices apply to Web Stories. If you already have an SEO strategy for your business, reference it throughout your process. However, there are key Web Story SEO factors to be aware of.
You want to add metadata to all elements of your Web Story, as it will speak directly to search engines and discover features that want to learn what’s in them. You can optimize for this by following along with AMP metadata guidelines.
Your Web Stories are pages on your website, so you want them to be self-canonical. Each of your Stories should have a link rel=“canonical” to itself.
Story titles should be shorter than 90 characters.
Add Web Stories to your site map and don’t include noindex attributes. You can check if you’ve been indexed using the Index Coverage Report.
All Images need alt text to improve discoverability, and video needs subtitles.
Over To You
The story format provides similar benefits on Google as it would on your other channels, so it’s worth considering. If you’re ready to use the feature, leverage the instructions on this list to begin creating a unique, interactive piece of content that is sure to delight your audience.
The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.
We’re back with another SEO recap with Tom Capper! As you’ve probably noticed, ChatGPT has taken the search world by storm. But does GPT-3 mean the end of SEO as we know it, or are there ways to incorporate the AI model into our daily work?
Tom tries to tackle this question by demonstrating how he plans to use ChatGPT, along with other natural language processing systems, in his own work.
Be sure to check out the commentary on ChatGPT from our other Moz subject matter experts, Dr. Pete Meyers and Miriam Ellis:
Hello, I’m Tom Capper from Moz, and today I want to talk about how I’m going to use ChatGPT and NLP, natural language processing apps in general in my day-to-day SEO tasks. This has been a big topic recently. I’ve seen a lot of people tweeting about this. Some people saying SEO is dead. This is the beginning of the end. As always, I think that’s maybe a bit too dramatic, but there are some big ways that this can be useful and that this will affect SEOs in their industry I think.
The first question I want to ask is, “Can we use this instead of Google? Are people going to start using NLP-powered assistants instead of search engines in a big way?”
So just being meta here, I asked ChatGPT to write a song about Google’s search results being ruined by an influx of AI content. This is obviously something that Google themselves is really concerned about, right? They talked about it with the helpful content update. Now I think the fact that we can be concerned about AI content ruining search results suggests there might be some problem with an AI-powered search engine, right?
No, AI powered is maybe the wrong term because, obviously, Google themselves are at some degree AI powered, but I mean pure, AI-written results. So for example, I stole this from a tweet and I’ve credited the account below, but if you ask it, “What is the fastest marine mammal,” the fastest marine mammal is the peregrine falcon. That is not a mammal.
Then it mentions the sailfish, which is not a mammal, and marlin, which is not a mammal. This is a particularly bad result. Whereas if I google this, great, that is an example of a fast mammal. We’re at least on the right track. Similarly, if I’m looking for a specific article on a specific web page, I’ve searched Atlantic article about the declining quality of search results, and even though clearly, if you look at the other information that it surfaces, clearly this has consumed some kind of selection of web pages, it’s refusing to acknowledge that here.
Whereas obviously, if I google that, very easy. I can find what I’m looking for straightaway. So yeah, maybe I’m not going to just replace Google with ChatGPT just yet. What about writing copy though? What about I’m fed up of having to manually write blog posts about content that I want to rank for or that I think my audience want to hear about?
So I’m just going to outsource it to a robot. Well, here’s an example. “Write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO.” Now, at first glance, this looks okay. But actually, when you look a little bit closer, it’s a bluff. It’s vapid. It doesn’t really use any concrete examples.
It doesn’t really read the room. It doesn’t talk about sort of how our industry might be affected more broadly. It just uses some quick tactical examples. It’s not the worst article you could find. I’m sure if you pulled a teenager off the street who knew nothing about this and asked them to write about it, they would probably produce something worse than this.
But on the other hand, if you saw an article on the Moz blog or on another industry credible source, you’d expect something better than this. So yeah, I don’t think that we’re going to be using ChatGPT as our copywriter right away, but there may be some nuance, which I’ll get to in just a bit. What about writing descriptions though?
I thought this was pretty good. “Write a meta description for my Moz blog post about SEO predictions in 2023.” Now I could do a lot better with the query here. I could tell it what my post is going to be about for starters so that it could write a more specific description. But this is already quite good. It’s the right length for a meta description. It covers the bases.
It’s inviting people to click. It makes it sound exciting. This is pretty good. Now you’d obviously want a human to review these for the factual issues we talked about before. But I think a human plus the AI is going to be more effective here than just the human or at least more time efficient. So that’s a potential use case.
What about ideating copy? So I said that the pure ChatGPT written blog post wasn’t great. But one thing I could do is get it to give me a list of subtopics or subheadings that I might want to include in my own post. So here, although it is not the best blog post in the world, it has covered some topics that I might not have thought about.
So I might want to include those in my own post. So instead of asking it “write a blog post about the future of NLP in SEO,” I could say, “Write a bullet point list of ways NLP might affect SEO.” Then I could steal some of those, if I hadn’t thought of them myself, as potential topics that my own ideation had missed. Similarly you could use that as a copywriter’s brief or something like that, again in addition to human participation.
Even experienced coders often find themselves falling back to Stack Overflow and this kind of thing. So here’s an example. “Write an SQL query that extracts all the rows from table2 where column A also exists as a row in table1.” So that’s quite complex. I’ve not really made an effort to make that query very easy to understand, but the result is actually pretty good.
It’s a working piece of SQL with an explanation below. This is much quicker than me figuring this out from first principles, and I can take that myself and work it into something good. So again, this is AI plus human rather than just AI or just human being the most effective. I could get a lot of value out of this, and I definitely will. I think in the future, rather than starting by going to Stack Overflow or googling something where I hope to see a Stack Overflow result, I think I would start just by asking here and then work from there.
That’s all. So that’s how I think I’m going to be using ChatGPT in my day-to-day SEO tasks. I’d love to hear what you’ve got planned. Let me know. Thanks.
This afternoon, HubSpot announced it would be making cuts in its workforce during Q1 2023. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing it put the scale of the cuts at 7%. This would mean losing around 500 employees from its workforce of over 7,000.
The reasons cited were a downward trend in business and a “faster deceleration” than expected following positive growth during the pandemic.
Layoffs follow swift growth. Indeed, the layoffs need to be seen against the background of very rapid growth at the company. The size of the workforce at HubSpot grew over 40% between the end of 2020 and today.
In 2022 it announced a major expansion of its international presence with new operations in Spain and the Netherlands and a plan to expand its Canadian presence in 2023.
Why we care. The current cool down in the martech space, and in tech generally, does need to be seen in the context of startling leaps forward made under pandemic conditions. As the importance of digital marketing and the digital environment in general grew at an unprecedented rate, vendors saw opportunities for growth.
The world is re-adjusting. We may not be seeing a bubble burst, but we are seeing a bubble undergoing some slight but predictable deflation.
Kim Davis is the Editorial Director of MarTech. Born in London, but a New Yorker for over two decades, Kim started covering enterprise software ten years ago. His experience encompasses SaaS for the enterprise, digital- ad data-driven urban planning, and applications of SaaS, digital technology, and data in the marketing space.
He first wrote about marketing technology as editor of Haymarket’s The Hub, a dedicated marketing tech website, which subsequently became a channel on the established direct marketing brand DMN. Kim joined DMN proper in 2016, as a senior editor, becoming Executive Editor, then Editor-in-Chief a position he held until January 2020.
Prior to working in tech journalism, Kim was Associate Editor at a New York Times hyper-local news site, The Local: East Village, and has previously worked as an editor of an academic publication, and as a music journalist. He has written hundreds of New York restaurant reviews for a personal blog, and has been an occasional guest contributor to Eater.