This article is a part of my FREE Web Stories Made Easy Quick Start Course. If you want to discover not only what Google Web Stories are but also you to use them to move your blog forward, then my course is exactly what you're looking for.
While everyone is talking about Google Web Stories, many bloggers aren't always sure how they can work them into their blogging strategy.
Welcome to my Web Stories Made Easy Quick Start Course! This is the fourth article and we will be diving into how you can approach which Google Web Stories you will want to create first!
There's two main ways people currently use web stories. I call them the "Standalone" and the "Companion" methods.
The Standalone method is about creating a self-contained story that doesn't rely on any other content on your website. It may point off to other articles, use affiliate links, or point to recipes but it's not specifically tied to any one thing.
Maybe you did a fun pasta-making demo, put together a story from a tradeshow you attended, or just wanted to talk about your favorite kitchen tools.
All of these would make great stories, and could drive affiliate money, but they don't need to have a specific corresponding page on your blog, they can stand alone by themselves.
It's something people can hit and enjoy all on its own. You can start creating these from any good content or assets you have.
That's where the Companion method comes in. Companion web stories are all about bringing in users and trying to get them to click through to an article of yours.
See What Makes a Good Google Web Story for more information)
Companion stories are not "teasers" or "previews" or "snippets", they are Companion pieces to an article. Just like an associated YouTube video or photograph would be.
They are a full story that takes a different approach than the main recipe or article does. They maybe a condensed version, a behind-the-scenes look, or a side story about one of the ingredients.
They may use more video, more images, or provide additional information or asides.
Then at the end they point to the main article or recipe for people that are looking for more information, detailed instructions, a place to print the recipe, or any other type of additional information.
And an easy place to start for these types of Companion web stories is by looking at your top posts.
They are already getting lots of traffic, Google already thinks you're an expert in that topic, and people are searching for it.
Creating Companion web stories for these articles will continue to increase your authority in that area, Google will be more likely to recognize them quickly, and you can link to them from the main posts, creating additional value for your Fans.
This is the method suggested by both Casey Markee and MediaVine, though for slightly different reasons than each other, and I think it's a very solid strategy.
However, this is a surprisingly controversial question!
Google says that you should embed web stories whenever it makes sense to do so. And this is because they are trying to create a great user experience.
It makes sense to embed Google Web Stories for the same reasons it makes sense to embed YouTube videos, Instagram posts, or Tweets...because it gives your readers all of the information they need in one place.
For instance, here's the embedded version of the above web story.
Two main reasons are given.
The first is that people don't click on ads in Google Web Stories, so your whole goal should be to get people out of them as quickly as possible.
It's not surprising to me that they suggest this, as a lot of the "how to maximize your ad revenue" comes down to inconveniencing your Fans, which is a tradeoff we all struggle with.
I completely get that!
Though be sure to check out my free Beyond the Ad Network course, it'll give you some ideas to supplement your ad income!
The second reason not to embed is from Casey Markee, and is a more nuanced take.
His chief concern (from my understanding of what he's said) is from an SEO standpoint and comes down to whether or not embedding web stories will slow down your page.
Web stories are highly graphical, or have videos, and that could adversely affect your page speed, which would hurt your Google ranking.
You would think so... but not in my experience.
Google (and Alphabet) has like 135,000 people working for them (literally, I was shocked). The different departments tend not to care what the other ones are be doing.
It's the same reason why installing Ad Sense and following their recommendations is heavily penalized by Google Search, they just don't care about the other departments.
So I think Casey has a very valid point. I'm do think it is offset some by increasing your time-on-page metric, since you are giving your Fans another reason to stay on your page for longer and interact with it.
I definitely see the benefits of embedding Google Web Stories, especially for user experience, but I understand the potential downsides for SEO purposes and I'm not an expert in that arena like Casey is.
Thanks to Megan Porta and her amazing Eat Blog Talk community, I got to have Casey answer a more direct question about embedding them. Megan graciously let me embed his answer, so here you go! (And if you aren't a part of Eat Blog Talk, you're missing out on some amazing content and networking!)
Regardless of whether you embed web stories or not you should be practicing a good internal linking strategy and treat web stories like any other page on your website.
Use links whenever it makes sense to point readers to the web stories so Google can better rank them.
Luckily for you the next lesson in the Web Stories Made Easy Quick Start Course will focus on all about how Google Web Stories can affect SEO and other site considerations!
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.