(SEO This Week) - Google Web Stories can potentially bring a lot of traffic to the sites lucky enough to be included in the SERP page element, and Google likes to test new looks.
If you're not familiar with Google Web Stories and how it works the short version is that it was developed as an answer to popular social media "story" based postings that were capturing a lot of attention. Instagram appeared to have the first use of the idea and Facebook Stories were implemented as well.
Web Stories followed on not long after that, but with a distinction, Google's version was hosted on your own website. This is great for business owners who don't want to depend on third-party platforms and want to drive traffic specifically to their own property.
These posts are highly visual, almost like a set of memes used to tell a story about any given topic. They are then available in the search results, primarily on mobile devices in the Stories carousel which is currently only available in US, India, and Brazil.
As with many other search features, Google tests various presentation styles to help increase the click-through rate of the feature with the ultimate end goal of creating potential ad-block opportunities in the future.
Brodie Clark spotted such a test.
Google is currently testing new formats for their 'Visual Stories' unit for Web Stories. Instead of the normal grid of 4, there's now tests appearing with different sizing, along with a full length view with a variation showing previews. Looks awesome for some branded searches. pic.twitter.com/eSZZmBVtGA— Brodie Clark (@brodieseo) January 4, 2022
SEO's should stay abreast of these features because they potentially could take away from traditional organic listings in the search results, primarily on mobile. They also present an opportunity for an SEO and content team to work together to create Web Stories that drive traffic to a site thus boosting the overall search visibility of a brand.