In brief, Web Stories are Google’s new, short-form visual content format, available for publishers of digital properties on web and mobile web, which blends images, animation, video & audio with text content.
What are Web Stories?
Being somewhat a web-analogue of the famous Instagram “Stories” format, Google’s Web Stories implies a publisher’s ability to compile, upload and share their content in a brief, engaging and interactive (i.e. w/ tappable links) visual sequence.
Their peculiar feature, however, is that Web Stories are hosted directly on a publisher’s digital property, not a third-party social media channel, for instance, hence are available for further browsing directly on their website, as well as in Google’s Discover app and Google Search (including Images).
More importantly, Google also offers monetization capabilities for its Web Stories format.
Web Stories Specifics
From a technical standpoint, each Web Story basically is an AMP property, hence it needs to adhere to all of the existing framework specifications to be eligible for display in Google Search, or Discover apps.
Tip! To ensure the Web Story is in fact a valid AMP, consider testing it using Google’s AMP Test tool.
Another required aspect in a Web Story is its metadata, which is what actually enables Google to index the content and make it available for browsing to other people.
Here, since Web Stories are AMP properties, as already mentioned herein, the supplied metadata must comply with a range of specifications, too.
Quite predictably, all of this puts a lot of pressure on publishers to not only create visually appealing and engaging content, but also deliver it to viewers via technically valid AMPs, to have them eligible for indexing and display on Google’s properties.
On the bright side, however, Google has been also putting a lot of effort into equipping web content creators with a powerful toolkit in order to simplify their implementation routine, e.g. offering a selection of comprehensive visual editors to work with, and a series of explainer videos, covering the Web Stories production flow.