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Google’s 7 Tips for Web Stories & Video Series via @martinibuster

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Google published a guide with tips to help creators create more compelling Web Stories. The goal of the tips is to encourage publishers with ideas of how to create better Web Stories.

Web Stories Content Format

Web Stories is a form of content meant to be consumed as snackable content for users who are typically on the go or needing to quickly pass the time with light content.

Google promotes Web Stories across various properties including Search, News and Discover. This gives publishers an opportunity to attract more traffic.

Web Stories can be considered as an additional traffic channel. For example, YouTube and podcasting are traffic channels, ways to obtain visitors that goes beyond the traditional blue links in search results.

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As such, Web Stories are an opportunity to tap into and grow a devoted following that returns day after day for more content.

Web Stories Creative Tips

Along with the 7 creative tips, Google also linked to a YouTube series devoted to getting publishers introduced to the Web Stories format and all the creative possibilities.

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1. Use Video

2. First-person storytelling.

3. Take Advantage of Your Brand Identify

4. Display Infographics and Dynamic Visuals.

5. Get a Boost from Illustrations

6. Post Quizzes and Polls

7. Build Excitement Through Animations

Google explains that using videos is useful because they are engaging. The Web Stories format requires using a 9:16 aspect ratio that’s in portrait mode.

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Here’s are examples of portrait mode videos:

Portrait Mode Web Stories Videos

Screenshot of Google Web Stories

Screenshot of Google Web Stories

Google doesn’t explain why the first-person storytelling format is beneficial other than giving the Web Stories a “personal touch.

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The encouragement to use your brand identity makes sense in the context of having a visually recognizable logo and color scheme that story consumers immediately identify with your brand in a pleasant way. When they watch a new video there’s going to be a sense of familiarity and comfort associated with the visual continuity of your Brand Identity.

Google recommends original illustrations or cartoons for livening up the Web Stories. They say that (sometimes) stock images and videos aren’t enough.

In my experience, stock images can be considered a starting point for your images. If you have an image processing software like Photoshop, one can alter a stock image or combine two more stock images and create a unique image.

That said, good original content can be best.

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Storytime – Google Web Stories Video Series

Google’s also published a video series that provides insights on how to make great Web Stories. The helpful video series is called Storytime and the playlist is available here.  The videos are short and do not demand much attention or commitment of time.

The topics begin with an introduction, offers examples of high quality web stories and moves on to production tips, how to build a narrative, how to surface your Web Stories content for more traffic and other topics related to the technical aspects of creating attractive Web Stories.

Put in the Effort and Reap the Rewards

Web Stories may sound like a daunting way to bring more traffic. But that slight learning curve can be considered a barrier to entry to the lazy, untalented and the unambitious. Which means there’s more opportunity for those willing to put some time into learning the new format and enjoying the rewards.

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Citations

Read Google’s Tips

7 Creative Tips to Improve Your Web Stories

Google’s Storytime Video Playlist

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Google December Product Reviews Update Affects More Than English Language Sites? via @sejournal, @martinibuster

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Google’s Product Reviews update was announced to be rolling out to the English language. No mention was made as to if or when it would roll out to other languages. Mueller answered a question as to whether it is rolling out to other languages.

Google December 2021 Product Reviews Update

On December 1, 2021, Google announced on Twitter that a Product Review update would be rolling out that would focus on English language web pages.

The focus of the update was for improving the quality of reviews shown in Google search, specifically targeting review sites.

A Googler tweeted a description of the kinds of sites that would be targeted for demotion in the search rankings:

“Mainly relevant to sites that post articles reviewing products.

Think of sites like “best TVs under $200″.com.

Goal is to improve the quality and usefulness of reviews we show users.”

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Google also published a blog post with more guidance on the product review update that introduced two new best practices that Google’s algorithm would be looking for.

The first best practice was a requirement of evidence that a product was actually handled and reviewed.

The second best practice was to provide links to more than one place that a user could purchase the product.

The Twitter announcement stated that it was rolling out to English language websites. The blog post did not mention what languages it was rolling out to nor did the blog post specify that the product review update was limited to the English language.

Google’s Mueller Thinking About Product Reviews Update

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Screenshot of Google's John Mueller trying to recall if December Product Review Update affects more than the English language

Product Review Update Targets More Languages?

The person asking the question was rightly under the impression that the product review update only affected English language search results.

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But he asserted that he was seeing search volatility in the German language that appears to be related to Google’s December 2021 Product Review Update.

This is his question:

“I was seeing some movements in German search as well.

So I was wondering if there could also be an effect on websites in other languages by this product reviews update… because we had lots of movement and volatility in the last weeks.

…My question is, is it possible that the product reviews update affects other sites as well?”

John Mueller answered:

“I don’t know… like other languages?

My assumption was this was global and and across all languages.

But I don’t know what we announced in the blog post specifically.

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But usually we try to push the engineering team to make a decision on that so that we can document it properly in the blog post.

I don’t know if that happened with the product reviews update. I don’t recall the complete blog post.

But it’s… from my point of view it seems like something that we could be doing in multiple languages and wouldn’t be tied to English.

And even if it were English initially, it feels like something that is relevant across the board, and we should try to find ways to roll that out to other languages over time as well.

So I’m not particularly surprised that you see changes in Germany.

But I also don’t know what we actually announced with regards to the locations and languages that are involved.”

Does Product Reviews Update Affect More Languages?

While the tweeted announcement specified that the product reviews update was limited to the English language the official blog post did not mention any such limitations.

Google’s John Mueller offered his opinion that the product reviews update is something that Google could do in multiple languages.

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One must wonder if the tweet was meant to communicate that the update was rolling out first in English and subsequently to other languages.

It’s unclear if the product reviews update was rolled out globally to more languages. Hopefully Google will clarify this soon.

Citations

Google Blog Post About Product Reviews Update

Product reviews update and your site

Google’s New Product Reviews Guidelines

Write high quality product reviews

John Mueller Discusses If Product Reviews Update Is Global

Watch Mueller answer the question at the 14:00 Minute Mark

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