Google To Penalize Content Creators Misusing Web Stories


The company’s latest blog post sheds light on how Web Stories are standalone content pieces.

Google published a new blog postOpens a new window to discourage content creators from using Web Stories to increase web traffic.

The blog includes a video that details how creators are using Web Stories as teasers, as a way to encourage visitors to click through and go to the website.

“Web creators around the world are figuring out how Web Stories complement their portfolio. And one particular thing we have seen folks try out is teaser content: Web Stories that are essentially advertisements for some other content, like a blog post or full-length video,” writes Paul Bakaus in the blog.

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Web Stories and User Experience: Not the Perfect Match?

Google states that using Web Stories as teasers provide a poor user experience. This comes from negative user feedback that the search giant received on Web Stories as pathways to other content like articles or videos.

Users must click through the teaser to view the content they expect to see. This disrupts the experience that Google is looking to provide. The company has assured creators that Web Stories can be monetized, and there is no need to trick users into viewing or watching other content to show them advertising.

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In its announcement, the company also stated that quality is a ranking signal and low-quality web stories will not make the cut.

“A critical ranking signal at Google is the quality of your content. And a one- or two-page teaser for your blog post does not tell a satisfying story to a reader, so Google will do its very best to not show these to users.”

Google will not publish Web Stories that promise users a specific content but do not deliver on the promise and force users to navigate the full website to complete their content journey.

What Does This Mean for Content Creators?

Creators can still link to the main site from a web story as long as the story provides users with a more complete content experience. The idea is to discourage creators from engaging in click-bait and unethical conduct to boost web traffic. Google’s Web Stories are standalone content assets providing creators enough opportunity to monetize them.

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With relevance being the focus for Google’s algorithmic updates, the new post does not come as a surprise. The company has reiterated its stance on search experience through its recent updates. Going forward, many publishers that have benefited from Google’s Web Stories will need to alter their strategy significantly and focus on delivering valuable content.