We are all aware of the Stories format being introduced on various social media channels like Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, etc. Now Google is hinting that this new short-form content is coming to mobile search results with the introduction of the Google Web Stories Plugin on WordPress.
Creation on the Web Stories Plugin
Still in the beta phase of its launch and having a few bugs, the WordPress Webstories Plugin is an interesting new functionality that I had to get my hands on. Installation was easy and Google provided a few starter templates to work with but they just didn’t fit what I wanted to talk about. So I improvised with the template and tried to create my own book format to test out this plugin. If you’ve worked with any image editor like Photoshop or GIMP, this tool should be a breeze to use.
I created a basic SEO guide to help users in the beginning stages of their SEO journey. With every page offering a small byte of content. The page duration was set to change automatically every 7 seconds but this can be adjusted for the time or to a manual change mode.
View my created web story on SEO Essentials 2020 for Digital Marketing.
If you want to add the story to a wordpress post, there is a Web Story block on WordPress to embed your web story. The limitation of this is that on AMP versions of the blog post, the embedded web story will not be visible.
Creating content using the Webstories Plugin was easy. After posting, I soon realized where the bugs were hiding. These are few of the bugs and shortcomings I noticed while using the app.
Google Web Stories Plugin Bugs
The images seemed to break when the story is saved as a draft, even though they were fine in my wordpress gallery. I had to manually redo the some of the images.
Images with a transparent background randomly started showing a black background after posting. You may notice this on the last page of my web story above. Sometimes even transparent backgrounds with gradient colors would just turn white in the live post.
Since I used a regular website without AMP and the Google Web Stories Plugin creates content in AMP format, figuring out how to get tracking installed was a real pain since there is no access to the HTML of the story. Finally, I had to remove the tracking code for GTM from my template and installed the Google Site Kit Plugin which is really awesome. I added an AMP container to my GTM and linked my GTM to the Site Kit Plugin.
Changing the slug for a custom URL is possible and you can even set a cover image. But forget about any other, meta changes for the SERPs. Don’t even mention Schemas. The meta description is randomly generated by the content on the first slide including the ALT text. I removed the ALT text from the images on the first slide but the result was still a mess on the results page.
Tip: You can do a site search with the title of your story to check if your web story has been indexed.
After posting your story, test the live link on the Google Search Console and request for the link to be indexed. This should get your story indexed faster.
I understand that the plugin is still in the beta stage so these bugs are acceptable. The dev team is active on GitHub and constantly working towards bug fixes for the Web Stories Plugin. I got an update a few days after installing the plugin. Hope to see the complete plugin soon.
If you found this article useful or have any other queries or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment or get in touch.