Available in nearly 200 languages and powering over 35% of the internet, WordPress is pretty well-known in today’s digital market. It’s pretty easy to see why, too. The CMS platform is easy to use and comes with built-in plugins to help you power your website.
Some of the best WordPress plugins allow you to optimize your website for visitors, but few are quite as comprehensive and powerful as Google Web Stories. The plugin will enable you to display your content in a way that’s conducive to visual storytelling.
You’ve likely seen it as you browse through Google Images or check the stories that appear in the Discover section of Google. Yeah, those! Imagine being able to promote your business, product, or story in such a visual manner.
Want to learn how Google Web Stories can help you? Here’s what to know about this WordPress plugin and how to use it effectively.
What is Google Web Stories?
Google explains this pretty concisely. Simply put, a Web Story that appears on a Google search is a visual representation of the content you publish. Web Stories can appear in Google Images, Discover, and on the Google app.
According to Google, this results in a “tap-through full-screen experience.” These visually-rich stories are best for mobile searches, so if you’re planning to incorporate this WordPress SEO plugin into your content, you’ll need to keep that in mind.
And, it’s also important to know that this plugin is super new. It’s barely been out for a month, and it’s in beta testing, meaning that it’s a great time to learn the ins and outs to capitalize on the trend before it’s too hot.
If you’ve already used AMP as part of your WordPress publisher, then you’ll understand just how much that function can help your content. It’s similar to Google Web Stories.
After completing the WordPress install plugin for Web Stories, you can produce AMP-powered stories directly from WordPress.
But that’s not even the best part. These can be images or videos, making it easier than ever to attract the attention of your audience through imagery.
The backend of Google Web Stories looks similar to Photoshop or any other photo editing app. They’ve gone ahead and provided users with eight free templates to use as a starting base for creating content.
Is Your Content Eligible for Google Web Stories?
AMP stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and the AMP WordPress plugin allowed users to publish content that could be adapted to flexibly fit the platform that a user was viewing it on.
Previously, there was a Stories feature of AMP, and that’s actually where Google Web Stories came from. They’ve built it out as a stand-alone plugin to allow users to get more out of the unique features and benefits that it offers.
However, there’s one main difference. While you just had to download the AMP plugin and choose between a template mode, with Google Web Stories you have to make sure your content is eligible for display on Google Search, Google Images, and Discover.
To start with, Google set some limits. A Web Story can’t have more than ten words and can’t be longer than about ten “pages” long. But, you can monetize web stories just as you might with regular affiliate links via Google Ad Manager.
Aside from that, how do you make the most of this WordPress plugin? Google suggests:
- Starting by building a Web Story with AMP.
- Making sure that the Web Story is ready to publish by using the AMP Test.
- Following the Web Story Guidelines.
- Adding structure to the data so that the content shows in other rich results.
The most important part here is going to be ensuring that your content passes the AMP Test. However, to see real success with this form of visual marketing, they also suggest:
- Focusing on telling a story.
- Maximizing the impact of your cover page (it’s the first thing people will see!).
- If using videos, stick to ones that are shorter than 15 seconds.
- Giving readers something to tap through and engage with.
Sounds easy, right? It is. You can head over to the Google Web Stories GitHub and play around with the features, backgrounds, and tools.
Is Google Web Stories One of the Best WordPress Plugins?
The best WordPress plugins are the ones that enhance your site. It’s as simple as that. However, most website owners choose plugins based on their ability to improve their speed, usability, and security.
Because it’s so easy to customize a WordPress website, plugins genuinely are the building blocks of any WordPress site. You start with a basic theme and then use plugins to build off of that.
So, in terms of answering the question of whether or not this new plugin is one of the best WordPress plugins, the answer is…yes!
While most plugins serve a specific purpose or cater to a particular industry or feature, Google Web Stories is beneficial for any website or business. Anybody, regardless of whether they have a website for a pet store, a lawyer, or a gardening service, can make use of Web Stories.
The dynamic nature of the app is what makes it so great. These “bite-sized” visual treats are perfect for brand awareness, attracting new leads, and even earning money through affiliate links. What’s not great about that?
Think you’re ready to start making the most out of one of the best WordPress plugins? Not so fast. Because it’s in beta testing, you have to download it as a .zip file.
Once you’ve got the file:
- Log into WordPress
- Go to Plugins and click on “Add New”
- Click the “Upload Plugin” button
- Select the .zip file
- Click the “Install Now” button
- Click the “Activate” button once the install is complete
And voila, you’re ready to start using the plugin to your benefit! But, not before learning about how it can benefit your SEO practices.
Benefits of Google Web Stories for SEO
In terms of plugins, the best SEO plugin for WordPress is probably Yoast. At least, it’s one of the most well-known at the moment. However, Yoast SEO is built more for on-page content than search display.
If you install the Yoast SEO plugin, you’re able to see how to better optimize your pages by selecting a keyword and following indicators that tell you whether or not the page is optimized. It’ll all show you key factors regarding readability.
This not only helps you produce high-quality content, but it ensures that you’re focusing on keywords from the get-go without having to find out during a website audit that your pages aren’t at all SEO-optimized.
And, while that’s beneficial for SEO, Google Web Stories can act as a great complement to your Yoast plugin.
For starters, instead of having to rely solely on keywords to appear at the top of a search page, you’re now able to use visuals to attract high-quality traffic and high amounts of it.
The brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. We already know that pages with images get 94% more views than text-only pages. So, you can imagine what Google Web Stories might do for your page visits.
As we move further and further into an age where news and trends change every day, it’s essential to learn how to capture the attention of potential website visitors. Text ads simply won’t do anymore, and Google Web Stories can help with that.
Through one short Web Story, you’re able to:
- Tell a complete story from start to finish
- Inject your branding into the story
- Allure viewers with unique visual treats
- Publish content that’s accessible to all viewers
These are just a few of the benefits of Google Web Stories. To truly reap them all, you’ll need to start playing around with the plugin’s features (or hire a development company to do so for you).
Tips for Creating Good Web Stories
Web Stories are like any other WordPress plugin in that you’ll need to know how to truly optimize the features of the plugin in order to make the most out of it.
To maximize the potential of Web Stories, it’s important to focus on a few things.
As is the case with any other type of marketing material on the internet, it’s important to stick to your company’s branding guidelines when making a Web Story.
This means that if your brand’s tone is usually serious, don’t try reinventing the wheel with Web Stories by trying to add in funky music and fast transitions. Think about the types of videos you might upload on YouTube and try to adapt that to fit the lengths of Web Stories.
As well, it’s important to always remember to brand your content. Make sure your brand’s logo appears on all Web Stories where it’s relevant. And, if it’s time-sensitive updates, make sure to include a date as well so that viewers have a bit of context.
This is quite possibly the hardest part of creating any piece of marketing content, isn’t it? As is the case with an Instagram story, a Snapchat, or even a YouTube video, a Google Web Story needs to have a narrative. It needs to tell a story.
If it helps, think of each Web Story as a tiny little book or a short play. Ask yourself:
- Does this story have a beginning?
- Does this story have an arc?
- Does this story have an ending?
- Is this story something I would want to watch?
If the answer is no to any of those questions then it’s time to go back to the drawing board and consider changing the narrative a bit.
It’s usually a pretty good bet to always focus on being authentic. Focus on people and what stories they’re attracted to as it pertains to your business. Use the space to truly connect with your audience.
One of the best features of this kind of material is that you can add subtitles! This is great as it increases the accessibility of your content to reach those who might not be able to hear the audio or simply can’t turn it on at the moment.
Take advantage of this if you’re trying to tell a story that needs the help of a few words to get the point across.
Because Web Stories also allow you to creatively place text across the screen, you might consider taking advantage of that feature and thinking of a few buzz words that can help increase the impactfulness of the post.
Think about words that cause people to feel or to take action. Flash these words across the screen for emphasis when needed.
And, last but not least, the key to turning Google Web Stories into one of the best WordPress plugins? Focus on image quality! A few key pointers include:
- Filming videos vertically instead of horizontally (think about Instagram stories)
- Always using high-quality videos and images (low-res just doesn’t look professional)
- Aim for videos that are less than 15 seconds (that’s really all the time you have)
Remember that people are pretty all over the place nowadays. Between phone calls, emails, social media apps, and tons of news, we click around the internet, especially when browsing on our phones.
Google also suggests cropping mindfully. This means cropping out any distracting elements in the video or photo to allow viewers to focus solely on the main subject or theme.
Ready to Start Making Web Stories?
We’ve learned that Google Web Stories is a cool new WordPress plugin that can help people visually discover your brand while searching online.
We predict that once it’s fully released later in the year, it’ll become one of the best WordPress plugins for savvy website owners looking to take their content to the next level.
If you’re ready to start making Web Stories but aren’t sure how just get in touch with us. We’ll go over your needs and goals and then help guide you along the way, including helping you install the plugin.