Google’s push for Web Stories adoption draws comparisons to AMP, another lightweight web technology that received a similar push in its early years.
With AMP no longer receiving the support it used to, while being less highlighted in search results, people are asking if the Web Stories format is here to take its place.
Google search attorney John Mueller answered one such question on Twitter from an SEO pro asking if Web Stories is the new AMP.
— Tammy Wood (@crazywoody) February 16, 2022
That’s a good question to ask. In fact, when the Web Stories format was introduced in 2018, it was called “AMP Stories”.
Indeed, AMP is the core technology of Web Stories. However, there is a difference between AMP and Web Stories, which Mueller points out in his answer.
The Difference Between AMP and Web Stories
Unlike AMP pages, Web Stories are not associated with an equivalent HTML page.
Web Stories are HTML pages. They are standalone, although they are built on the AMP framework.
“Sort of – they’re built on top of the AMP framework, they just don’t use the ‘paired’ configuration. If you’re using a tool to generate them, they’re basically HTML pages that you can naturally access from your site.
Web stories can be viewed and linked to any other web page. There is no special link generated when you create a web story like there is with an AMP page.
Why the comparison then?
The comparison between AMP and Web Stories could stem from a number of factors.
Google Discover has a dedicated Web Stories carousel, reminiscent of the AMP carousel that existed when AMP was in its infancy.
The support that Google puts behind Web Stories is also reminiscent of the early years of AMP.
Google has an official WordPress plugin to help publishers easily create and embed web stories on their sites.
Additionally, Google offers a programmatic ads solution for Web Stories that allows publishers to monetize them.
More recently, Google developed a way for publishers to track the performance of Web Stories in Data Studio using a simple model.
This is all designed to encourage adoption of the Web Stories format. The more sites succeed with Web Stories, the more likely other sites will use them as well.
Last June, Google announced that it had reached the milestone of 100,000 new web stories added daily to the search index.
While that’s a significant number, Google would no doubt like it to be higher. This is apparent from the fact that web stories in Google Discover are only supported in the United States, India, and Brazil.
Last year, Mueller said Google could expand support for Web Stories if more sites start using them. So far this has not happened.
Given that the Web Stories format was introduced four years ago, the fact that it isn’t widely adopted isn’t necessarily a bad sign. Although that could mean we’ll see a bigger push from Google to get more sites on board.
One thing is clear – Web Stories doesn’t generate the same scorn among publishers as AMP.
It’s likely that Google needs to spread the word about Web Stories, give people an even easier way to create them, or both.
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