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How Google Web Stories Work

As Google comes up with the versatile format to present content - Web Stories, here is everything you need to know about it.
Akshay Kulkarni Jul 9, 2020

What Are Web Stories?

If you’ve been on Snapchat or Instagram, you might already know about the Stories feature. Now, Google is capitalizing on the Stories trend with Web Stories. These Stories have all the vibrant features of Instagram/Snapchat Stories and in addition, are shareable on the Internet and crawl-able for search engines.

How to Create Web Stories?

To create Web Stories yourself, there are some prerequisites: Basic knowledge of HTML, JavaScript and CSS, basic understanding of AMP’s core concepts, a browser, and a text editor. The coding part for making an Web Story is minimal, as Google provides a sample file on GitHub for you to copy and configure according to your Story.
Each Web Story comprises of 3 components: Story (web-story), Page (web-story-page), and Layer (web-story-grid-layer). Story represents the entire content, while Page represents individual pages, starting from the cover page till the bookend. Layer contains all the AMP HTML elements present on a page.
The AMP HTML elements are essentially HTML tags customized to deliver the need of AMP page, making it load faster. Some of these elements are: amp-img to include an image, amp-video to load a video file, and amp-audio to load an audio file.
The last screen of every Web Story is the ‘bookend’ (web-story-bookend). It concludes the Story, lets you add social sharing buttons, CTAs and links to related Stories, so readers can share your Story, take suggested action and delve deeper into your content. All the information on bookend must be added via a JSON file containing specified URLs, images, etc.
The last step in creating a Web Story is the validation of your AMP HTML pages. You can validate your Web Story with the AMP Validator through Browser Developer Console, Web Interface, Browser Extension, etc. The validation process is vital, as it gives an assurance that your Web Stories are discover-able and distribute-able on Google.

How Web Stories Affect SEO?

Web Stories are visually-appealing and engaging, they organically captivate the readers which increases time on site and reduces bounce rate. Also, they are part of Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) Project which makes them mobile-focused and load quickly. As Google will show them separately on its carousel, ranking with them will be even easier.

How Web Stories Will Work for You?

With their visually rich content and responsive web design, Web Stories can engage, entertain, and educate your audience. Web Stories help you provide an enhanced user experience, boost ranking and web traffic, and increase conversion rate and sales. Thus, irrespective of your field of expertise, Web Stories will prove to be a boon for you.

Who Can Create Web Stories?

From content marketers and webmasters to personal bloggers and writers, anyone can create Web Stories. Crafting them is not an esoteric flair of experts but it’s not a layman’s job either. With an understanding of basic coding concepts, you should also be able to entwine crisp text with rich visuals to create compelling Web Stories.

Is There a Simple Way to Create Web Stories?

If creating Web Stories from scratch is too much for you, don’t worry; 'Web Story Builder', a professional Story creation tool by Visual Stories is here to the rescue. Its intuitive interface, wide-ranging image library, and extensive customization options help you craft top-class Web Stories, even if you are nescient in coding.