There are many benefits to incorporating web stories in your online presence. They are an easy way to garner a new audience and boost your engagement rates. And they do wonders when it comes to brand promotion, and improving your CTR. But, one of the aspects of web stories that is often overlooked is what value they bring to your SEO. Well, in this article, we will take an in-depth look into the value of web stories in SEO and how they can help you
Web stories in SEO
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the way in which Google filters through and sorts websites in order to determine which ones should come up in the search results. Websites with good SEO come up on the first page of search results in almost all searches related to them. As you can imagine, this makes having a good SEO rating a priority for most companies.
Unfortunately, having decent SEO ratings is easier said than done. Google has and continues to develop the SEO algorithm so that it is becoming exponentially difficult to "hack" it. Long gone are the days when you could simply find a couple of niche keywords and hope for the best. Today, SEO management is a serious subject that often necessitates professional help. All aspects of your website, from the content you use, to the way in which you lay it out, will affect your SEO. This is why climbing the SEO ladder is often an arduous, long-term project. But, even experienced SEO managers are surprised at how effective web stories can be in this particular project.
How Google values web stories
Web stories truly came into the marketing spotlight once Google picked them up. Before, story content was primarily reserved for social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and for a while even LinkedIn all promoted story content in a similar fashion. While posting stories on social media platforms is still useful, it doesn't really capture all that web stories can be. Nor does it affect SEO in any meaningful way.
Once Google picked up web stories, they soon became the highlighted content for marketing. Besides enabling them to have far more functionality than they had on social media platforms, Google ensured that web stories bring a ton of SEO value. After all, it was and still is, in Google's interest for people to use web stories. And what better way to motivate them than to attach SEO benefits. For a while, web stories could even be seen as an SEO hack. Even with a subpar web story, you could easily end up on the first page of Google. While it is quite so nowadays, web stories still hold a top place in SEO friendly content.
Beating the competition
One of the main reasons why web stories are currently so powerful in boosting SEO ratings is that not a lot of people are using them. You'd be surprised at how even seasoned marketing managers are oblivious to web stories and what they can bring. Even if they run into them on websites, they tend to put them aside as just another form of content. This, as you can imagine, is the wrong approach. And it is also one of the major reasons why web stories are currently one of the most effective tools in SEO.
When it all boils down, SEO is all about beating your competition. The fewer people are posting related to your brand, the easier it is for your content to shine. Due to how Google is set up, web stories are a new playing field for SEO. Therefore, there isn't much competition to speak of. Yes, there are companies that use web stories to great effect. And you really have to run a niche website to have no competition. But, when compared to standard SEO competitors, web stories are a breeze. How long will this stay the case is hard to tell. But, it is important to know that time is not your friend if you want to make full use of web stories.
How to make web stories SEO optimized
To reap the benefits of web stories in SEO you need to ensure that they are optimized. As we said, SEO is essentially an algorithm. And, and such, it has rules that you need to adhere to in order to get better ratings. If you are already familiar with Google SEO, this should be much of a problem. A lot of the rules and guidelines that apply to standard content are applicable to web stories.
Focus on content quality
With every new version of the SEO engine, Google is trying more and more to filter for quality content. And while you can still get away with having fluff content in your blog posts, there is simply no room in web stories. Therefore, when creating web stories try to focus on quality as much as possible. Make sure that the content you produce is unique, relevant to your brand and interesting to your customers.
Every web story should have a title. While it may not show in the usual format, it will be a part of SEO. So, make sure that you give it due diligence during creation. A standard title is no more than 70 characters. With it, you need to give a clear and precise idea of what the web story is about. If you have any further info that you wish to outline in regards to the web story, save it for the page attachments. This can either be a blog post. Or a written explanatory document.
Google places great value in making your content accessible. So, if you plan on incorporating visual content in your web stories, make sure that you add alt texts or video descriptions to back them up. That way, visually or hearing impaired people can still enjoy your content. Even if you don't feel your content needs work on accessibility, know that it adds to your SEO. So, even if the vast majority of your audience won't see the alt texts or video descriptions, know that they do help.
In regards to metadata, you need not do much. For Google Web Stories, you only need to follow the AMP Web Stories guidelines. For the rest, the standard data will include:
- Meta title.
- Meta description.
- Open Graph protocol.
- Structured data.
- Twitter card.
After creating web stories, you'll need to put them through AMP validation. That way you will make sure that your HTML is correct. And you will give your stories greater SEO value over those that aren't validated.
As web stories will be a part of your online presence, they need to be accounted for in your XLM map. A good idea is to also add canonical tags. That way, you can better describe your web stories.
Using web stories to boost your prior content
Another reason why web stories are so effective in SEO management is that they are quite easy to integrate with prior content. This may come as a relief to some, as marketing managers tend to worry about their prior content getting overshadowed before investing in web stories. After all, if you've spent months if not years improving your SEO through standard content, you'd be a fool to simply forgo it. Luckily, web stories give you an easy way to not only promote new content but also revitalize what you already have.
Second, you can integrate web stories into your content. Besides simple images or videos, web stories can become a standard part of your blog posts. You can even look to incorporate web stories into old blogs posts, therefore revitalizing them. And thirdly, we stories can help connect different blog posts, and highlight how one better explains the other.
Focus on top-rated posts
First, you can use your web stories to promote old content. Here web stories can serve as a preview of what the content is about, and help motivate viewers to actually go through it. The best course of action is to first focus on top-rated posts. More likely than not, there is a good reason why those particular posts yield the best results. If readers tend to go back to them time and time again, it is likely because they are well written and interesting. Therefore, start off safe, and use your first web stories to boost those posts. Once your audience starts appreciating your web stories and the posts they link to, you can start connecting them to less popular posts. All things considered, there is no downside to linking your blog posts to your web stories. The only question is which blog posts to link first.
Use known SEO tactics
When it comes to coming up with ideas for web stories and their integration with your prior content, we strongly recommend that you stick with tried and true SEO tactics. Keyword research. Online traffic analytics. Comparison with the competitors. All of these can be applied to web stories. You can even use them for backlinks and social media posts if you need to. So, instead of simply relying on story format on social media, try to identify all the instances where you can make use of web stories. Then, proceed to apply SEO tactics to those instances.
Submit an XML map
We've mentioned this before, but seeing how important it is, we will mention it again. It is paramount that you submit a new XML map once you've integrated your web stories with your content. The only way to truly reap the SEO benefits of your integration is if Google is aware of it. And the only way to make sure is to submit an updated XML map.
The final thing to note is that it is paramount that you track the performance of web stories in SEO. To do so properly, we suggest that you first set up a Google Analytics Tracking code. Along with it, it is also advisable that you add a Twitter app ID and Facebook app ID. The bare minimum tool you need to use to track the performance of web stories is Google Analytics. Apart from it, you can also utilize Data Studio as it has a dedicated Web Stories Insight dashboard. There are other third-party tools you can use for tracking web stories metrics, but you first need to make sure that they are AMP compatible.
There are two main reasons why it is important to track web stories. Firstly, you need to clearly identify what their contribution is to your online presence. As integration is quite advisable, you need to see what the effect are. Especially if you plan simultaneously create standard marketing content along with web stories. Secondly, you need to outline what your web stories are doing good and what they are not. Good audience engagement doesn't necessarily mean improved retention rates, or even that your Webflow SEO is any better. And if you want to utilize web stories properly, it is important to know what you can do to improve them.
Final thoughts on web stories in SEO
By now it should be fairly obvious that using web stories in modern SEO is worth considering. If you have any experience with SEO, you already know how powerful a new tool can be. And, even though StorifyMe makes creating web stories fairly easy, there still aren't a lot of brands using it. So, the sooner you start integrating web stories in your online presence, and therefore in your SEO, the better.