As I write this, half my SEO news feeds are filled with how to optimize articles for “Google Web Stories”. Everyone wants to know how they can create stories, and how they can use them to increase their SEO rankings. We see this pattern each time Google issues a new shiny object in SEO, and the rest of us go crazy trying to include the new features in our site, often spending significant time and resources in the process. Some of these changes are good. Some of them are useful only for specific circumstances. My exhortation to you is to pause and think about each new Google “shiny”. Let’s take a look at some examples below.
When Google Says “Jump”!
Over the years, I’ve seen again and again how Google can send the SEO world into a tizzy just with a single blog post, or a tweet from John Mueller. “Nofollow links will be counted in the future!”, “Content length doesn’t matter!”, “Links are useless!”, and more. Each of these statements can change the entire SEO strategy for a company.
But there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to SEO. Sometimes the recommendations are useful, and sometimes not.
Example: Google Stories are Useless for Most Businesses
Google web stories allow website owners to create a short sequence of images and videos with minimal text. These are supposed to be easy to consume by anyone “having lunch” or “on the subway”. They’re built on AMP technology, and can show up in Google results as well as other places in a variety of formats. The idea is for them to be a kind of “presentation” for your product or service, that’s attractive.
Ever since web stories came out, SEO content creators have been filling the news with how to create them, how they’re essential to the success of your website, and more. But as of now, web stories aren’t easy to implement via AMP. Integrating them into your site requires a lot of work.
I submit however, that most businesses are not going to benefit from Google web stories. If you own a flower shop, what is a web story going to do for you? I promote web hosting products on WP-Tweaks.com, including those from NameHero – how is Google web stories going to help me? People search for web hosting, come to my site, and that’s it.
The average person “having lunch”, isn’t likely to be doing heavy research for a complex product like say “VoIP software”. So while they have their purpose, Google web stories have a pretty niche application.
Not Everyone Needs Excessive Mobile Optimization!
It seems sacrilege to say this today, but a lot of people don’t browse certain categories of products and services on their mobile phones. Web hosting, like that offered by NameHero is one such example. I doubt many people sign up for web hosting on a mobile device – something about the process demands a more “serious” approach with a proper desktop or laptop.
So when optimizing your site, your tables, your sidebar, and your menu for mobile, first make sure that your site benefits from a good mobile experience. And above all, don’t sacrifice the user experience on the desktop for a better mobile experience.
Example: The Hamburger Menu
Horizontal menus are a problem in mobile devices, and the classic “hamburger menu” is a popular design choice. But many websites use the hamburger menu on desktop websites as well, and in my opinion, this is an example of running the desktop experience by porting “mobile” concepts onto the big screen. Don’t do it! The horizontal navigation menu is a better experience for desktop users. Switch to the hamburger menu only when the user is on a smaller screen.
It’s easy to be caught up in the new hotness from Google. But keep in mind that Google is merely using early adopters as test subjects to see how things go. They’re famous for dropping support for their products. So don’t invest a huge amount of time and energy into the latest initiative. Think carefully about what they’re saying, and whether or not it’s a good fit for your business. Give the technology time to develop and see which way the winds are blowing. And only then, make your decision to use it or not.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!