By Ed Peabody, Content Specialist
If there's one thing every person has in common, it's that we love a good story. Everybody loves to be entertained, enthralled, or invested in a tale that's relatable to them; and this is an aspect of human nature that media platforms have not only embraced but facilitated. In the past few years, we've seen the implementation of stories within Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Now, Google is hopping on the bandwagon. But, the difference here is that a solid web story can actually greatly influence your web traffic and conversions because very few companies are taking advantage of the new feature.
So, What is Google Web Stories Anyway?
Google Web Stories is a free feature that allows creators to tell a tale using video, audio, images, and text. They all come together to create a multimedia slideshow. These stories, powered by accelerated mobile pages (AMP), are displayed on Google in organic search engine results pages (SERPs) above the fold, making it more important than ever to bring your creative A-game if you want to rank well for relevant keywords. While the ideas are similar, this is not like Facebook or Instagram stories -- this is more like a visual blog post.
However, Google Web Stories are currently displayed on mobile-only, so images and video will need to be cropped (or shot) in portrait mode (9:16 aspect ratio). Google Stories are a great way to create bite-sized, consumable media that exhibits your brand, engages audiences, and creates buzz. One key difference, though, is that unlike the fleeting stories common on social media platforms, these are permanent content that lives on your website (like a blog post).
How to Install Google Web Stories on WordPress
Not using WordPress? Read other ways to create Google Web Stories.
General Tips: Creating an Engaging Story
Despite the plugin being mostly drag-and-drop, creating an effective web story takes time and creativity. Below we'll cover the basic elements that go into an engaging web story:
Interest and Immersion
Your story needs to be interesting above all else. Yes, you are showcasing your brand; but this isn't a sales pitch, and you're less likely to get eyeballs on your story if you treat it like one. Try to create content that's inspiring, fun, or at the very least, useful to people. If, hypothetically, you are a bar owner, the topic 5 Craft Cocktails You Can't Live Without leaves more room for creativity and enticement than Why You Should Visit Our Bar. Take the time to plan out what type of content you can offer that's engaging and interesting to users that may not know anything about your business.
This is your opportunity to get compelling clips in front of an audience of potential customers. Where Snapchat and Instagram tend to have videos that are spontaneous and fleeting, Google Stories allows for more calculated, strategic creations that can stand the test of time. Just be sure that the video is shot or cropped in portrait mode (we know, this is heresy to many).
Even if you don't have compelling video on-hand, Google created partnerships with Unsplash and Coverr to create a growing library of free video and images within the plugin, making quality clips accessible to companies of any size.
While there is plenty of room for text in Web Stories, it shouldn't be your main focus. Advice that comes straight from Google is to, "avoid large blocks of text. Keep it to the essentials." Try and keep text minimized to calls to action, clickable links, etc. within your stories. Let the visuals and the audio do the storytelling, while the text supports it when possible.
You want to keep users engaged so they scroll through each of your story's slides. Try to keep attention by building suspense and leaving each slide on a bit of a cliffhanger, eventually culminating into a satisfying end and a call to action.
No Time For Stories? We'll Tell Yours For You.
Google Web Stories are gaining traction among top brands and have already begun to boost SEO efforts. Right now, they are in a bit of a golden age -- few brands are taking full advantage of this new feature, meaning the ones who do are among less competition and getting eyes on their brand. As competition ramps up, it may become harder to break into, so the sooner you get involved, the better.
Our team is ready and willing to help you tell your compelling story -- we just need to hear from you first.