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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.
Welcome to my part two in my Web Stories Made Easy Quick Start Course! Today we are going to dive into what makes a good Google Web Story and how you can approach building them to be successful!
When I started learning about Google Web Stories, I didn't realize just how different they were than the other "stories" out there.
When I pictured a web story, I thought it was just like most Instagram stories - a collection of sometime related images and videos. But it turns out they are a lot more than that.
So read on as I go over my biggest takeaways about what makes a good Google Web Story.
Basically, web stories are meant to be a full, stand alone piece of content that tells a visual story. Google also wants them to be full stories, not a "teaser" into something else.
Google also stresses that they want web stories to be "snackable". So they are pushing for shorter, quicker-to-consume content and prefer pages with less words, shorter videos and more short form content.
As they say in their best practices document: "Ensure each bite engages and delights...creating a satisfying snackable Web Story."
Let's just simmer down some, food blogger, they don't mean it literally!
But if you get one takeaway from this, it's that you should tell a short but interesting story.
If people spend time in your story and engage with it, eventually Google will highlight it over other stories.
It will completely depend on the story you are trying to tell, but a mix is probably best.
From a practical standpoint, it also depends what content you already have on hand.
If you already have videos of all your content, definitely work them in, but if you only have photos, don't stress about it!
Google does want the web stories to be visual though, so images or videos will often be the main focus, with the words supporting them.
Google says as part of being "snackable" they prefer 10 words / 200 characters or less and recommend shorter videos that are less than 15 seconds long - though like on Instagram they can be strung together.
But if you need more to tell your story, there's no limit.
And you can also use the "swipe up" / "page attachment" feature to add more detailed text or details for your story.
They also want full screen vertical images, not partially cropped ones. You can see all the current recommendations on my Web Story Cheat Sheet or the official AMP Web Story guide.
And like anything, breaking out of the mold in a thoughtful way can be a great way to stand out and provide value.
If you notice a lot of the Web Stories held up as great examples tend to break those rules, but they still tell a compelling story.
How long should a book be? Long enough to tell the story.
Fine, fine! Google specifically recommends 10 to 20 pages. Others have suggested 7 to 10 is fine.
Google's current limits are that Google Web Stories need to be more than 4 and "ideally" less than 30, except when needed.
And this is evolving, but it's clear though that Google wants you to tell a story, and it's hard to do that in 1 or 2 pages.
Not at all! They work great as standalone content, and I think that role will expand over time.
But currently, many experts like Casey Markee recommend using them to point to existing content on your site, especially for the top ranking posts you already have.
Nope, Google frowns on that!
In the long term, the Google algorithm will penalize stories that require clicks to "complete" the flow of information.
You can still have web stories point to recipes, guides, or more detailed information on other pages, it just can't be required information.
You need your web story to tell a full story first.
An example of how to use them properly is having a full, step-by-step story that visually goes through the steps in your recipe. Then the final slide can be "for more information or to print this article go to my full recipe".
An example of a bad implementation is having a full, step-by-step story that visually goes through the first 4 steps of your recipe then says, "For the rest of the steps click here".
In the first example, the story is a standalone piece of content that doesn't require a click, in the second, it's not giving you all the information you need.
Not at all!
Just break apart what other stories you can tell behind an existing post. Here's a few ideas:
Luckily for you the next lesson in the Web Stories Made Easy Quick Start Course will focus on how you can actually create Google Web Stories.
If you want to read some more about this, here are a few helpful links.
What are the best examples of web stories you have seen? Let me know in the Makin Bacon Facebook Group or the comments below.