Businesses that are continuing to invest in their Search Engine Optimization while balancing COVID-19 updates and operational pivots now have new tools to enhance their search presence. According to a new Google Developers’ Announcement, businesses can now add new COVID-19 related updates on Search Console and create speciality schema data markup to provide new page and content updates.
The new Search Console feature allows a business to provide an immediate short-term update related to COVID-19 testing (medical providers and clinics), operational updates for consumers, and specialty announcements. Webmasters simply have to select the option for the new update within Search Console and provide business details.
New Search Console updates are great for businesses that need immediate 30-day updates for their customers, since the new tool only provides the new updates for a month. However, the special COVID-19 announcement schema markup allows businesses to issue a more permanent update. Google Developers highlights some of the ways in which a business can offer a speciality update through the unique markup type:
*source: Google Developers*
Due to COVID-19, many organizations, such governments, health organizations, schools, and more, are publishing urgent announcements that affect schedules and other aspects of everyday life. This includes the closure of facilities, rescheduling of events, and new availability of medical facilities (for example, testing centers). Here are some examples of special announcements:
- Announcement of a shelter-in-place directive
- Closure notice (for example, closing a school or public transportation)
- Announcement of government benefits (for example, unemployment support, paid leave, or one-time payments)
- Quarantine guidelines
- Travel restrictions
- Notification of a new drive-through testing center
- Announcement of an event transitioning from offline to online, or cancellation
- Announcement of revised hours and shopping restrictions
- Disease spread statistics and maps
Businesses can also provide multiple updates on their pages through unique schema markup. For example, businesses that have new virtual events and purchasing options can add both types of markup within the same code. Important, details must be accurate and follow specialty “special_announcement” rules. Test on Google Rich Results test before adding onto your content pages. TEST SCHEMA
Maintaining SEO Results During COVID-19
As we’ve mentioned before on the BWM blog, local SEO features on Google My Business, consistent communication, and new content updates are still critical to marketing success during this challenging pandemic.
COVID-19 is now forcing businesses to make long-term investments in virtual services, delivery options, and other flexible commerce updates. The same is happening right now with search engine marketing and optimization: new resources and COVID-19-related updates are crucial to helping your business get found quickly online.
If you need an expert to help you navigate SEO strategy during COVID-19, please learn more and contact us to evaluate your search marketing needs.