Similar principles apply here, but Web Stories display with a different aspect ratio which is good to keep in mind.
How Web Stories appear in Google’s search results with the feature image and the Web Story icon (same as the ‘recent’ tab in the Google App).You can use Google’s AMP Test which now supports Web Stories to see how your Web Story appears with different result types.
This provides a nice indication of how your Web Story could appear and how the image cropping works across different surfaces.
Another aspect is when sharing the content on social media.
If I were to share the article on the left (about CLS issues on Google), I’d get the following preview on Twitter:
Preview of my Web Story cover image as it displays on Twitter. Note how the center of the image is used as the preview.Note how the preview has cropped to the middle of the cover image with the Twitter preview.
So if your Web Story is going to be distributed across social channels, ensure that the middle of the image works as a standalone preview.
7. Ensuring Web Story URLs Appear in the XML Sitemap
In terms of content discoverability on Google, URLs appearing in sitemaps are important.
According to a conference that I went to in 2019, Gary Illyes mentioned that they account for ~20% of how Google discovers new pages.
That ~20% is a portion that you don’t want to miss out on.
To ensure your Web Stories are discovered by Google, you need to first start by ensuring that they are appearing in the XML sitemap.
This is again something that Yoast handles for you with their Web Stories support.
If your Web Story URLs aren’t appearing in your XML Sitemap after publishing, then you’ve got a problem.
Here’s what this looks like for the two Web Stories that I’ve published so far:
It is important that your Web Stories appear in the XML Sitemap after being published to your site.The other ~80% for discoverability comes down to links.
This could be links coming from internal pages on your own site or from external sites.
The XML Sitemap is the foundational point for getting discovered, any other link efforts can go a long way, too.
8. Best Tools for Troubleshooting Your Web Stories
While I’ve already mentioned Google’s AMP Test in tip #6, which works well, there are other tools you can use to your advantage.
But my favorite for troubleshooting at the moment is directly within Google Search Console.
There’s a lot more functionality in there compared to the RRT and AMP Test.
Using the URL Inspection Tool and the Live Test, you’re able to go a bit deeper.
In this example in Google Search Console, I show some of those important areas.
Toggle between viewing the HTML, the screenshot preview, along with details like the HTTP response and more.
When troubleshooting your Web Stories, make sure to use Google’s own tools. My favorite for this purpose is Google Search Console’s URL Inspection Tool.Google Search Console will also provide necessary details about whether your Web Story has been discovered and if it is appearing within Search.
When using the Web Stories for WordPress plugin,
I highly recommend doing a lot of your testing and troubleshooting in Google Search Console.
9. Tracking the Performance of Your Web Stories in Google Search and Discover
The main reason that I got on board with Web Stories is because of the potential early adopter traffic and visibility benefits.
I needed to fully test it out before recommending to my publisher clients.
This is especially true for Google’s Discover Feed, where your content could be catapulted into Discover if there’s an alignment with user interest and your post.
Glenn Gabe went into detail on this in this post – which I highly recommend checking out (for a hand-coded approach).
Aside from the standard Google Analytics integration, where you essentially just see page views of each Web Story slide, along with engagement metrics, there’s also the reporting within Google Search Console.
Web Stories can be added to Google’s Discover Feed. Review performance in Google Search Console, with the Discover Appearance filter.In the example above, you can see that there is a “Web Story” filter that can now be applied to your results in Google Search Console.