Connect with us

GOOGLE

What Are Google Web Stories? A Guide for Marketers

Published

on

What Are Google Web Stories - A Guide for Marketers

Back in February 2018, Google announced AMP stories.

This visually rich, mobile-focused content format felt similar to the “stories” functionality popular on many social media sites.

The underpinning technology is based on the accelerated mobile pages that have been somewhat controversial in the marketing world.

In May 2020, Google rebranded AMP Stories as Web Stories, which they explain are “a web-based version of the popular Story format, allowing creators to host and own their content.”

What Do Google Web Stories Do?

Google Web Stories are a visual content format that can be shown across the internet.

You might find them similar to the stories on Instagram in that they allow creators to publish a succession of images, videos, and audio.

Web Stories are billed by Google as being “fully immersive” thanks to their ability to be viewed full-screen.

Some examples of Google Web Stories being used by brands currently include:

Where Do Web Stories Appear?

One thing that makes Google Web Stories fairly unique amongst the myriad of story-telling functionality found in apps is their ability to be seen across the web.

On Your Website

Whereas the likes of Instagram Stories need to be viewed on that platform, Google’s Web Stories can be hosted on a creator’s own website.

This gives publishers more freedom over what is contained in the story as there are no restrictions around content, unlike many apps.

It also means the story can be used to help to drive traffic to your site, not kept within the walled garden of social media apps.

In the Search Results

One of the main benefits of using Google’s stories above other competitors’ social media story format is their accessibility from the SERPs.

Google Web Stories can be indexed like a web page and served as a Google search result.

In Google Discover

In October 2020, Google announced that they were bringing Web Stories to Google Discover feeds in India, Brazil and the US.

The list of stories, called a “shelf” by Google, sits at the top of Discover.

Tapping on the story brings it to full-screen and allows the user to navigate through the list by swiping.

In Your Online Publications

Because Web Stories are hosted on your own servers it means the content can be used across other digital assets, too, like emails and digital brochures.

On Multiple Devices

Although the AMP technology the web stories is based on is designed for use on mobile devices, web stories can be viewed on mobile, tablet, and desktop browsers.

See also  10 Content Marketing Skills You Need to Master (Plus Tips on How to Master Them)

This increases their utility as there is no need to create desktop-friendly alternatives for responsive assets like websites.

How Do You Create Google Web Stories?

Google is taking publishers by the hand and leading them through the creation of Web Stories.

There are several tools to help put them together and even comprehensive development notes for those who want to think more outside-the-box.

Web Stories Basics

At their core, Google Web Stories are built using the Accelerated Mobile Pages format.

In fact, when you click on the link to the “Developer docs” from Google’s stories website, you’re taken to the amp.dev guides and tutorials page.

Web Stories require HTML mark-up to be valid.

They also can support optional mark-up to enhance the user experience. For instance, it is possible to use HTML mark-up make the story accessible in landscape mode and present it in a more immersive way on desktop.

When creating your web story, you need to set the metadata attributes.

These do not serve as the page title or description of the story but as a preview of the story where it is served across the web.

You can also add a page title, description, Open Graph data, and other elements to optimize your story for search and sharing; this is done through traditional HTML mark-up.

Google’s AMP Test tool will help you to identify if there are any errors with your story.

If your page cannot be validated as a Web Story, there are links to documentation and guidance to help you to rectify the problems.

Third-Party Tools

Third-party tools can help you craft your Web Stories without needing a developer or design team on hand.

Two tools that Google links to from its Web Stories site are News Room AI and MakeStories – neither of which are run, or technically endorsed, by Google.

News Room AI gives creators a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) design functionality and a deal with Getty images that grants access to over 300 million images.

MakeStories boasts a zero-code, drag-and-drop functionality to customize your stories including access to Google fonts and “one-click filters” to edit your images.

WordPress Integration

Google has partnered with WordPress to create a plugin that allows publishers to create web stories directly on their WordPress site.

As the stories are built within the WordPress website, they will be included in the site’s XML sitemap allowing for easier discovery by Google.

See also  Should We Write Content for People or Search Engines?

The plugin also gives creators the ability to set their metadata for the story including cover image, excerpt, and logo.

Shopify Integration

ProductStories is an app that enables your Shopify pages to be converted into Web Stories.

Once the app is installed, an AMP version of each product page is automatically created.

A user can choose from two different themes or request a customized theme from the ProductStories team.

10 Benefits & Uses of Google Web Stories

The format, versatility, and ease of creating Google Web Stories make these a beneficial medium for marketers to explore.

Here are the top 10 benefits and uses of the format.

1. Under Your Control

As the stories can be hosted on a publisher’s own website, the copyright of the content is all theirs.

This means the topics they cover are entirely at their own discretion and without the strict limitations often seen in social media.

The use of the content is also at the publisher’s discretion; Google does not assume any rights over the content.

Google does have some restrictions on the content that can be published, most notable being the policy on content that is “overly commercial.

It’s worth taking a look over the guidelines before creating your first story – especially if you are using it for promotional purposes.

2. Monetization

Any ads that appear in a Google Web Story are controlled by the content creator.

That means unlike with the story functionality on social media apps, monetization of the content is entirely at the discretion of the publisher.

Therefore, if you host ads on your web story, you get 100% of the ad revenue.

Google recently released a programmatic ads solution for Web Stories through Ad Manager and AdSense.

3. External Linking

A lot of social media sites with similar story formats dissuade content creators from linking out to other websites.

This usually means having to be creative in linking from the comments or bio.

With Google Web Stories, there are no such restrictions on linking out.

4. Supports Google Analytics for Tracking

As Web Stories act like web pages, they can be linked to analytics platforms including Google Analytics.

This means there is a much greater level of tracking and user analysis available than on standard social media story formats.

This is an integral part of assessing how valuable Web Stories are to your marketing strategy.

5. Stories are Responsive

Unlike AMP which is designed specifically for mobile devices, Web Stories can be responsive to any device type.

See also  Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

This means there is no need to create separate content for display on desktop devices or to suffer the loss of functionality on mobile.

6. Can Be Interactive

Web Stories include the ability to host interactive elements such as quizzes and polls.

This is somewhat limited by your technical ability, as this functionality isn’t supported by all Web Stories creation platforms.

Given the immersive nature of the Web Stories, this added level of interactivity could make for an engaging experience.

7. No Time Limit

Unlike some other Google content such as Google My Business posts, there is no expiration date on Web Stories.

They will not be deleted automatically after 7 days and won’t get lost in a timeline like on social media accounts.

You can feature your Web Story for as long and as prominently as you’d like.

8. Easily Indexed and Linked to

Web Stories are designed to be easily indexed by search engines.

This means getting your content onto the first page of Google won’t require any additional work on your part beyond the standard SEO needed to get any web page ranking well.

There is also the opportunity for it to appear in the coveted Web Stories carousel if you are publishing content for India, Brazil, or the United States.

9. Use Whatever Branding Style You Want

There are no design restrictions beyond making sure that Web Stories meet the general technical requirements.

This means you are free to choose fonts, colors, animations, and imagery that suits your brand’s style.

10. Live Stories

Using the “live-story” attribute on your Web Story will notify the user in real-time that you have added a new page.

This can be particularly useful if you are using the format to cover breaking news or developments.

Conclusion

Google Web Stories is a rich, engaging content format that boasts a lot of potential for marketers.

Unlike similar social media storytelling formats, Web Stories are not time-bound or limited to certain platforms.

The brand benefits of exposure via Google products including Search and Discover are worth exploring.

More Resources:

Search Engine Journal

GOOGLE

How to Write For Google

Published

on

How to Write For Google


Are you writing your SEO content based on the latest best practice tips?

I originally wrote this SEO copywriting checklist in 2012—my, how things have changed. Today, Google stresses quality content even more than before, conversational copy is critical, and there are revised SEO writing “rules.” 

I’ve updated the list to reflect these changes and to provide additional information.

As a side note, I would argue that there’s no such thing as “writing for Google.” Yes, there are certain things you should do to make the Google gods happy. However, your most important goal should be writing clear, compelling, standout copy that tells a story. 

I’m keeping the old headline in the hopes that I can convert some of the “write for Google” people to do things the right way.

Whether you’re an in-house SEO content writer, a DIY business owner, or a freelance SEO copywriter, this 27-point checklist will help you write engaging, Google-happy content—every time.

Items to review before you start your SEO writing project

 

– Do you have enough information about your target reader?

Your copy will pack a powerful one-two punch if your content is laser-focused on your target reader. Ask your client or supervisor for a customer/reader persona document outlining your target readers’ specific characteristics. If the client doesn’t have a customer persona document, be prepared to spend an hour or more asking detailed questions. 

Here’s more information on customer personas.

 

– Writing a sales page? Did you interview the client?

It’s essential to interview new clients and to learn more about their company, USP, and competition. Don’t forget to ask about industry buzzwords that should appear in the content.

Not sure what questions to ask to get the copywriting ball rolling? Here’s a list of 56 questions you can start with today. 

 

– Writing a blog post? Get topic ideas from smart sources

When you’re blogging, it’s tempting to write about whatever strikes your fancy. The challenge is, what interests you may not interest your readers. If you want to make sure you’re writing must-read content, sites like Quora, LinkedIn, Google Trends, and BuzzSumo can help spark some ideas.

 

– Did you use Google for competitive intelligence ideas?

Check out the sites positioning in the top-10 and look for common characteristics. How long are competing articles? Do the articles link out to authoritative sources? Are there videos or infographics? Do the articles include quotes from industry experts? Your job is to write an essay that’s better than what’s already appearing in the top-10 — so let the competition be your guide.

 

– Did you conduct keyphrase research?

Yes, keyphrase research (and content optimization) is still a crucial SEO step. If you don’t give Google some keyphrase “cues,” your page probably won’t position the way you want.

Use a keyphrase research tool and find possible keyphrases for your page or post. As a hint: if you are tightly focusing on a topic, long-tail keyphrases are your best bet. Here’s more information about why long-tail keyphrases are so important.

If you are researching B2B keyphrases, know that the “traditional” keyphrase research steps may not apply. Here’s more information about what to do if B2B keyphrase research doesn’t work.

See also  YouTube Algorithm: 6 Questions Answered

 

– What is your per-page keyphrase focus?

Writers are no longer forced to include the exact-match keyphrase over and over again. (Hurray!) Today, we can focus on a keyphrase theme that matches the search intent and weave in multiple related keyphrases.

 

– Did you expand your keyphrase research to include synonyms and close variants?

Don’t be afraid to include keyphrase synonyms and close variants on your page. Doing so opens up your positioning opportunities, makes your copy better, and is much easier to write!

Are you wondering if you should include your keyphrases as you write the copy — or edit them in later? It’s up to you! Here are the pros and cons of both processes.

 

 — Do your keyphrases match the search intent?

Remember that Google is “the decider” when it comes to search intent. If you’re writing a sales page — and your desired keyphrase pulls up informational blog posts in Google – your sales page probably won’t position. 

 

— Writing a blog post? Does your Title/headline work for SEO, social, and your readers?

Yes, you want your headline to be compelling, but you also want it to be keyphrase rich. Always include your main page keyphrase (or a close variant) in your Title and work in other keyphrases if they “fit.”

Here’s some excellent information on how to write headlines that get noticed (and that are good for Google.) You can also use headline-analyzing tools to double-check your work.

 

– Did you include keyphrase-rich subheadlines?

Subheadlines are an excellent way to visually break up your text, making it easy for readers to quick-scan your benefits and information. Additionally, just like with the H1 headline, adding a keyphrase to your subheadlines can (slightly) help reinforce keyphrase relevancy.

As a hint, sometimes, you can write a question-oriented subheadline and slip the keyphrase in more easily. Here’s more information about why answering questions is a powerful SEO content play.

 

Is your Title “clickable” and compelling?

Remember, the search engine results page is your first opportunity for conversion. Focusing too much on what you think Google “wants” may take away your Title’s conversion power. 

Consider how you can create an enticing Title that “gets the click” over the other search result listings. You have about 59 characters (with spaces) to work with, so writing tight is essential. 

 

– Does the meta description fit the intent of the page?

Yes, writers should create a meta description for every page. Why? Because they tell the reader what the landing page is about and help increase SERP conversions. Try experimenting with different calls-to-actions at the end, such as “learn more” or “apply now.” You never know what will entice your readers to click!

 

– Is your content written in a conversational style?

With voice search gaining prominence, copy that’s written in a conversational style is even more critical.

Read your copy out loud and hear how it sounds. Does it flow? Or does it sound too formal? If you’re writing for a regulated industry, such as finance, legal, or healthcare, you may not be able to push the conversational envelope too much. Otherwise, write like you talk.

See also  Movable Ink and Stensul announce email partnership, integrations

Here’s how to explain why conversational content is so important.

 

–Is your copy laser-focused on your audience?

A big mistake some writers make is creating copy that appeals to “everyone” rather than their specific target reader. Writing sales and blog pages that are laser-focused on your audience will boost your conversions and keep readers checking out your copy longer. Here’s how one company does it.

Plus, you don’t receive special “Google points” for writing long content. Even short copy can position if it fully answers the searcher’s query. Your readers don’t want to wade through 1,500 words to find something that can be explained in 300 words.

Items to review after you’ve written the page

 

– Did you use too many keyphrases?

Remember, there is no such thing as keyword density. If your content sounds keyphrase-heavy and stilted, reduce the keyphrase usage and focus more on your readers’ experience. Your page doesn’t receive bonus points for exact-matching your keyphrase multiple times. If your page sounds keyphrase stuffed when you read it out loud, dial back your keyphrase usage.

 

– Did you edit your content?

Resist the urge to upload your content as soon as you write it. Put it away and come back to it after a few hours (or even the next day.) Discover why editing your Web writing is so very important. Also, don’t think that adding typos will help your page position. They won’t.

 

– Is the content interesting to read?

Yes, it’s OK if your copy has a little personality. Here’s more information about working with your page’s tone and feel and how to avoid the “yawn response.” Plus, know that even FAQ pages can help with conversions — and yes, even position.

 

– Are your sentences and paragraphs easy to read?

Vary your sentence structure so you have a combination of longer and shorter sentences. If you find your sentences creeping over 30 or so words, edit them down and make them punchier. Your writing will have more impact if you do.

Plus, long paragraphs without much white space are hard to read off a computer monitor – and even harder to read on a smartphone. Split up your long paragraphs into shorter ones. Please.

 

– Are you forcing your reader onto a “dead end” page?

“Dead-end” pages (pages that don’t link out to related pages) can stop your readers dead in their tracks and hurt your conversion goals. 

Want to avoid this? Read more about “dead-end” Web pages.

 

– Does the content provide the reader with valuable information?

Google warns against sites with “thin,” low-quality content that’s poorly written. In fact, according to Google, spelling errors are a bigger boo-boo than broken HTML. Make sure your final draft is typo-free, written well, and thoroughly answers the searcher’s query.

Want to know what Google considers quality content — directly from Google? Here are Google’s Quality Raters guidelines for more information.

 

– Did you use bullet points where appropriate?

If you find yourself writing a list-like sentence, use bullet points instead. Your readers will thank you, and the items will be much easier to read.

See also  Should We Write Content for People or Search Engines?

Plus, you can write your bullet points in a way that makes your benefit statements pop, front and center. Here’s how Nike does it.

 

– Is the primary CTA (call-to-action) clear–and is it easy to take action?

What action do you want your readers to take? Do you want them to contact you? Buy something? Sign up for your newsletter? Make sure you’re telling your reader what you want them to do, and make taking action easy. If you force people to answer multiple questions just to fill out a “contact us” form, you run the risk of people bailing out.

Here’s a list of seven CTA techniques that work.

 

– Do you have a secondary CTA (such as a newsletter signup or downloading a white paper?)

Do you want readers to sign up for your newsletter or learn about related products? Don’t bury your “sign up for our newsletter” button in the footer text. Instead, test different CTA locations (for instance, try including a newsletter signup link at the bottom of every blog post) and see where you get the most conversions.

 

– Does the page include too many choices?

It’s important to keep your reader focused on your primary and secondary CTAs. If your page lists too many choices (for example, a large, scrolling page of products), consider eliminating all “unnecessary” options that don’t support your primary call-to-action. Too many choices may force your readers into not taking any action at all.

 

– Did you include benefit statements?

People make purchase decisions based on what’s in it for them (yes, even your B2B buyers.) Highly specific benefit statements will help your page convert like crazy. Don’t forget to include a benefit statement in your Title (whenever possible) like “free shipping” or “sale.” Seeing this on the search results page will catch your readers’ eyes, tempting them to click the link and check out your site.

 

– Do you have vertical-specific testimonials?

It’s incredible how many great sales pages are testimonial-free. Testimonials are a must for any site, as they offer third-party proof that your product or service is superior. Plus, your testimonials can help you write better, more benefit-driven sales pages and fantastic comparison-review pages.

Here’s a way to make your testimonials more powerful. 

And finally — the most important question:

 

– Does your content stand out and genuinely deserve a top position?

SEO writing is more than shoving keyphrases into the content. If you want to be rewarded by Google (and your readers), your content must stand out — not be a carbon copy of the current top-10 results. Take a hard look at your content and compare it against what’s currently positioning. Have you fully answered the searcher’s query? Did you weave in other value-added resources, such as expert quotes, links to external and internal resources (such as FAQ pages), videos, and graphics? 

If so, congratulations! You’ve done your job. 



Source link

Continue Reading

GOOGLE

Google Ads Serving Issue For Ads On Desktop Gmail

Published

on

Google Ads Serving Issue For Ads On Desktop Gmail

Google has a new serving issue with Google Ads that is impacting ad serving on the desktop version of Gmail. So if you are serving Google Ads on Gmail, your ads may not show to a “significant subset of users,” according to Google.

Google posted the incident over here and wrote “we’re aware of a problem with Google Ads affecting a significant subset of users. We will provide an update by Dec 24, 2021, 2:00 AM UTC detailing when we expect to resolve the problem. Please note that this resolution time is an estimate and may change. This issue is specific to ads serving on Gmail on Desktop browsers only.”

The issue again only impacts ads serving on Gmail on Desktop browsers only.

It started yesterday, December 23, 2021 at around 2pm ET and is still currently an issue. Google is working on resolving the issue but has yet to resolve it.

You can track the issue over here.

Forum discussion at Twitter.

Source

See also  Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps
Continue Reading

GOOGLE

Google Loses Top Domain Spot To TikTok

Published

on

google-loses-top-domain-spot-to-tiktok

Google is no longer the world’s most popular domain after being dethroned by TikTok, according to rankings from web security company Cloudflare. The list of most popular domains is part of Cloudflare’s Year in Review report and represents domains that gained the most traffic from one year to another.

Google.com — which includes also includes Maps, Translate, and News among others — ended the previous year as the leader in Cloudflare’s rankings. At that time, TikTok was ranking in the 7th position. TikTok.com is now ending 2021 with a leap toward top spot ahead of Google, Facebook, Amazon, and other world leading domains.

Here’s the full list of the top 10 most popular domains as of late 2021:

  • TikTok.com
  • Google.com
  • Facebook.com
  • Microsoft.com
  • Apple.com
  • Amazon.com
  • Netflix.com
  • YouTube.com
  • Twitter.com
  • WhatsApp.com

Cloudflare describes TikTok’s journey toward becoming the most popular domain throughout the year 2021:“It was on February 17, 2021, that TikTok got the top spot for a day.
Back in March, TikTok got a few more days and also in May, but it was after August 10, 2021, that TikTok took the lead on most days. There were some days when Google was #1, but October and November were mostly TikTok’s days, including on Thanksgiving (November 25) and Black Friday (November 26).”

Also included in Cloudflare’s report are lists of the most popular social media domains, most popular e-commerce platforms, and most popular video streaming sites. To no surprise, Amazon ended the year as the most popular e-commerce domain, followed by Taobao, Ebay, and Walmart.

See also  Google Announces New Ways to Hide Personal Activity, Including Incognito Mode in Maps

The list of most popular video streaming sites was dominated by giants such as Netflix, YouTube, and HBOMax. Interestingly, Twitch didn’t manage to crack the top 10.

Putting These Rankings In PerspectiveDoes this mean TikTok is now the biggest social media site? No, it still has a long way to go before reaching those heights. What this means is TikTok.com received more traffic than any other domain, according to Cloudflare. That doesn’t mean TikTok has more users than Google or competing social media sites. Insider Intelligence (formerly eMarketer) reports TikTok surpassed Snapchat and Twitter in global user numbers, but is well behind Facebook and Instagram.
In other words, TikTok is the third largest social media platform worldwide. The number of global TikTok users number grew 59.8% in 2020, and went up by an additional 40.8% in 2021.Further, Insider Intelligence estimates TikTok will see a 15.1% growth in global users in 2022.

Should that estimate hold true, TikTok will hold a 20% share of overall social media users by the end of next year.
If TikTok isn’t part of your social media marketing strategy for 2022, these numbers are a good case for making it a priority.

Source: Matt Southern
https://www.searchenginejournal.com/google-loses-top-domain-spot-to-tiktok/431026/

Continue Reading

DON'T MISS ANY IMPORTANT NEWS!
Subscribe To our Newsletter
We promise not to spam you. Unsubscribe at any time.
Invalid email address

Trending