How to Improve Your Google Web Story SEO
With over 5 billion searches per day it’s understandable you want a slice of the action. You spent hours creating a stunning Google Web Story, hit publish then…crickets. It can be frustrating trying to please the Google Gods and with algorithm changes and plugin updates on the daily, it can be tough to stay on top of SEO best practices for web stories. That’s where we come in.
Web stories have the potential to appear on Google discover on Android, iOS, as well as the Google app. Similarly to the blog posts they represent, they perform better when the correct SEO is applied. Your Google web story may be the most aesthetically pleasing, but unless Google finds it worthy of sharing it in results, your story will not convert any traffic.
Fear not, this guide will cover ways to improve Google web story SEO to maximize your story’s potential. One of our clients experienced a 5,000% increase in organic search traffic in a 2 day period, so based on this result and similar, here are our top tips:
Create for Your Most Popular Posts
If there’s one takeaway from this post, it’s this. Web stories will naturally have ebbs and flows – some perform well and others are slow burners. From our own experience, we have found web stories created for your most popular posts will perform best. This is because Google already sees you as an expert on this topic so when you hit publish on a web story for your most popular post, you’re already ahead of the competition.
They Tell a story
As the name suggests, web stories need to flow with a beginning, middle and end that leaves the user craving more of your content. Before you hit publish, ask yourself; does my web story inspire, inform or educate? If the answer is no, what’s enticing a user to click on it?
If your blog post targets and ranks for certain keywords your web story should mirror this. Don’t waste your energy creating web stories aimed at low volume keywords. If people aren’t searching for it, your web story traffic will reflect this. There are tools you can use to determine the keywords your site currently ranks for such as Keysearch or simply your Google Analytics.
A Trustworthy Title
It should go without saying but avoid click bait. While it may work on other platforms, if the reader’s expectations are not met, they will click off your story. This immediately tells Google your web story was not useful which will affect potential reach and may even affect future stories too as the algorithm learns your content isn’t valuable.
If your web story title is “30 best Cafes in NYC” your user expects to read about 30 cafes in NYC within your story and not have to jump through hoops for this info. Web story titles should be clear, concise and contain your target keyword.The title is displayed over the cover image so consider how it will look on Discover to entice users.
Video is King
Google themselves have shared that web stories with video are favored over static imagery. When it comes to our client results we’ve seen both styles go viral but if you have video content, use it! Not only does video make users engage longer, but it helps tell the story without the need for lengthy captions.
If you plan on using video for web stories, we recommend the following tips:
- Ensure clips are less than 10 seconds
- Portrait mode works best (think Instagram stories/Reels)
- Do not use text overlay or captions
Don’t Overlook Accessibility
When you insert a photo or video into your web story from your media library, the alt text will automatically pull through. Therefore, it’s essential when uploading any media that you have the correct alt text inputted. If you don’t, it is easy to input manually using the web stories plugin but then you’re doubling your workload.
Also consider your color choice for accessibility. Although you want your web stories to be on brand, if the background and font colors are too similar this makes it difficult to read. If users (or the Google algorithm) cannot read your stories, they can be penalized in results.
Make Your Site Web Story Friendly
Afterall, the aim of web stories is to increase traffic to your website so make it a two way street by ensuring your site is web story friendly. This includes:
- The web story plugin will automatically create an archives page (yourblogname.com/web-stories). Make sure to link to this archives page from elsewhere on your site such as the homepage, sidebar or category pages.
- Submit your web stories XML sitemap to Google. This can help your story rank faster.
- Link to your web story from within blog posts. Not only does this give your web stories extra credibility but it helps to build integrational linking.
- Don’t embed the web story on your blog post, this will affect site speed.
In order for you to test which web story SEO tips are working and which stories need more work you will need to track the analytics. The easiest way to do this is by setting a profile for web stories on Google Analytics then follow our guide for tracking web story analytics.