Google recently announced that they are providing support for websites to add structured data to COVID-19 announcements. As enterprise brands seek new ways to communicate critical changes to their business operations, we recommend the use of structured data on your local landing pages to better highlight important updates and announcements, such as:
- Closure notice
- Travel restrictions
- Quarantine Guidelines
- Shopping restrictions
- Social distancing protocol
- Sterilization procedures
- Events transitioning from online to offline or being canceled completely
Whether your enterprise brand has a COVID-19-related announcement on every page or a separate, dedicated resource page, it is imperative to get the most out of your efforts by using structured data. This messaging:
- Will help you communicate critical information with your customers
- Directly impacts user-behavior
- Improves SEO signals
- Can provide rich results in search results
Here is an example of how rich results appear in Google Search:
Google notes, “A COVID-19 announcement rich result can be a short summary that can be expanded to view more”. It’s important to note that this format may change over time, and you may not see results in Google Search immediately. To learn how to add structured data to COVID-19 announcements, click here.
Google has also provided an option for government agencies, official health authorities and schools to submit COVID-19 announcements via Google Search Console. This option doesn’t require any changes to your website via structured data and will not apply to organizations that fall outside Google’s required category. Google announced they will be prioritizing health and government agency sites first and foremost, before rolling out this feature to expand to more industries.
There is no drawback to applying relevant structured data to your local landing pages. The additional markup helps search crawlers better comprehend your website and improve your chances of getting a rich result. However, structured data isn’t the only way to highlight COVID-19 announcements. Next, we will cover other ways you can highlight other COVID-19-related activities your business needs to communicate with searchers.
Additional Opportunities to Highlight COVID-19 Announcements
Modify your hours in GMB: If your business has new hours of operation, we recommend utilizing special hours. Your business can also indicate temporary closures, however, we recommend using special hours instead to minimize the amount of manual effort needed to reverse a temporary closure
Add a Google Post: Google recently announced COVID-19 Posts, which are a great opportunity for brands to showcase special announcements you have related to COVID-19. This Post type appears prominently in both Maps and Search, similar to how Offer Posts display.
Update your events: If your business holds events, review the new properties for marking them as virtual, postponed, or canceled.
Highlight your FAQs: Bring your FAQs to the surface, especially questions you are receiving about COVID-19. By adding FAQ markup, Google Search can better surface your answers.
Health and government sites: Google has compiled a list of recommendations and best practices to make important information about COVID-19 visible on Google Search.
We are continuously updating our own COVID-19 resources, where we share the latest in local marketing as well as best practices. If you need any support during this time, the Rio SEO team is here to help! Please contact our support team with any questions or concerns you have with your local marketing during these uncertain times.