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Google Brings “Stories” To Search Homepage

Google Rebrands & Expands Stories In Search 

Another day, another platform launching their version of Stories. If it isn’t any of the giants under the Facebook umbrella, you can be sure it’s got something to do with Google.

Anyone who had that hunch can give themselves a lovely pat on the back, because the search behemoth have revamped and rebranded their AMP Stories.

AMP Stories are now called Web Stories and available on the Google app for Android and iOS. Web Stories can appear on Google across Search, Google Discover, and Google Images.

How Are They Different From Other Social Media Stories?

Instead of being focused on user-generated content, Web Stories are all about the publisher or website owner and that sets them apart from the majority other Story offerings.

Except Snapchat.

They look and feel very similar to the branded Snapchat Stories you see on their Stories tab, except these ones can bring you organic search traffic and an increased opportunity to monetise content for publishers.

Web Stories are an extension of your website, therefore, according to Google, some early adopters of Web Stories are showcasing their stories on their home page, social channels, newsletters and more.

Web Stories: How And Where?

You’ll be able to see Web Stories from a carousel within the Google app, and users will see a range of tappable Stories from publishers. There’s some flexibility in what you can do with Stories, and they can include audio, video and external links.

Just like on any other Story offering, users tap to advance through the narrative and swipe to move on to the next one.

Because Web Stories can appear on search results, they can result in a really nice little boost for traffic and it would certainly be worthwhile adding a Stories element to your production efforts – just to see how they perform, if anything else.

How Can You Create A Story?

You can create Stories for Google Discover using a number of different tools. Google recommends the Web Story editor for WordPress, MakeStories and NewsroomAI.

If you’ve got a team of talented coders, you can also make them yourself.

What is Google Discover?

Google Discover is essentially the search engine’s way of guessing what a user wants to see and is therefore way more fickle and less reliable (in traffic terms) than the good old fashioned search.

Google recommends that publishers use Discover to supplement traffic, not as an avenue to boost reliable numbers.

This is how they describe it on their support page.

“With Search, users enter a search term to find helpful information related to their query, but Discover takes a different approach.

Instead of showing results in response to a query, Discover surfaces content primarily based on what Google's automated systems believe to be a good match with a user's interests.

The content in Discover changes regularly based on newly published web content or evolving user interests.”

You can get your content on Discover pretty easily. As long as you’re indexed by Google and you meet the content policy of Discover (you can find the policies here), you’ll be golden.

Of course, there are some things you can do to make your content stand out in Discover:

  • Engaging titles that aren’t click-bait-ey in nature
  • Avoiding ‘catering to morbid curiosity, titillation, or outrage.’
  • Create content that fits with the current news cycle, is of interest, and tells a story.
  • Provide clear information about who wrote it and who published it.
  • Use excellent, high-quality imagery.

How Are Good Stories Useful For Content Producers?

As Web Stories are fully searchable, they give publishers a different avenue to explore and expand their reach. No doubt creators and publishers will also have had their interest piqued by the ability to create an extra avenue of monetization and that will be controlled through Google Ad Manager.

Vamsee Jasti, Web Stories Product Manager

“For creators and publishers, Web Stories are entirely under your direction, just like any other content on your website. Story authors are in full control of monetization, hosting, sharing and adding links to their Stories.

Plus, the web offers one of the largest audiences for creators, with publishers already seeing strong results, as shown in the stories google showcase.”

Publishers who want to use AdSense are going to have to wait a little longer, as will those keen to get to grips with programmatic ads. But Google says they are coming, so watch this space.

Want Your Web Stories To Rank? Don’t Do This

Be careful to avoid harmful practises that prevent Web Stories from ranking in Google. These include:

  • Using copyright content
  • Using more than 180 words or video that runs at more than 60 seconds
  • Using low quality images and videos
  • Thin narrative. Tell a story, construct a narrative, use a binding theme
  • Incomplete stories – tell the full tale within your Web Story
  • Overly commercial. Adverts are allowed, but the whole Story can’t be an advert

You can learn more about how to create high quality stories on Google’s new stories.google site or with the Storytime YouTube series.

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