djbaxter

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How to Add a COVID-19 Announcement to Your Website with Schema
by Nick Pierno, Whitespark
April 2, 2020

Google has provided an additional tool you can use to get out a message regarding your business during COVID-19 Structured data for COVID-19 announcements.

This is brand new, so I thought I’d take a swing at implementing it on a client’s site to see what happens! Then I thought others might be interested to see how it goes, too. Keep in mind that this feature isn’t active yet. We’ve just been given documentation. Here’s what Google said on Twitter:


What are we going to mark up?
For most of my clients, I’ve added a banner to their header and a page (or a pop-up) to their site explaining the changes they’ve made that impact clients. I’m going to use Broadmead Physiotherapy (out of Victoria) as a guinea pig. Here’s how it looks for them:

COVID-19-Update-_-Broadmead-Physio-2020-04-01-16-00-13.jpg

Based on this, here is the information we want to convey in the search results for this business, if possible:
  • We’re still serving clients
  • Our doors are closed
  • We’re offering ehealth/telehealth services instead of in person visits
  • Learn more on our website
Your points might be a bit different, but probably along similar lines.

How do we mark this up?
We’ll be using the SpecialAnnouncement schema type. This requires at least 3 properties:
  • datePosted (The date that the COVID-19 announcement was published in)
  • name (the short title of the COVID-19 announcement)
  • text OR one of the following properties that point to more info about the announcement
    • diseasePreventionInfo
    • diseaseSpreadStatistics
    • gettingTestedInfo
    • newsUpdatesAndGuidelines
    • publicTransportClosuresInfo
    • quarantineGuidelines
    • schoolClosuresInfo
    • travelBans
I don’t think any of those alternative (to text) properties will apply for most local businesses (except for maybe newsUpdatesAndGuidelines, whose purpose is a little unclear to me). For now we’ll use the text property, and treat it like a description.

There are also a bunch of recommended properties to consider including. I think the most applicable ones to our use case are:
  • announcementLocation
  • announcementLocation.address
  • announcementLocation.name
  • announcementLocation.url
  • category

Here’s my JSON-LD snippet that includes the required and select recommended properties:

See How to Add a COVID-19 Announcement to Your Website with Schema for the JSON-LD code.

I think most local businesses will be able to use this exact snippet (with the property values replaced, of course).

I’ve placed this code in the <head> section of every page on Broadmead’s site. I think it makes sense for this markup to go on all pages, and I didn’t see anything that indicates it should be only tied to a particular page, so we’ll go with that for now.

Test your markup
You can test your snippet by pasting it into Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool. Once you’ve confirmed you have no errors, add it to your site.

Note: you might notice that announcementLocation returns an error in Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.


Screen-Shot-2015-11-05-at-8.59.45-AM.jpg


Google says:
Currently, the Structured Data Testing Tool shows an error for the announcementLocation property. This is because the property is new to Schema.org. You can disregard the error, and refer to the documentation for the most up to date set of requirements until we update the tool.
Once your snippet is added to your site, you might also want to run one of your URLs through the testing tool, just to be sure Google can see it (may need to flush your cache on some hosts).

Finally, it wouldn’t hurt to request a recrawl in Search Console, just to make sure Google’s on the up and up.


Read more...
 

Tiggerito

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Google have just added to their SpecialAnnouncement guidelines.

If you want to update your business hours, we recommend that you use LocalBusiness markup or Google My Business. Additionally, you can use SpecialAnnouncement to announce your new store hours. This may not show up in Google Search, but it does help Google understand the data behind COVID-19 announcements while we work on expanding support for more use cases.

In SpecialAnnouncement you can use the announcementLocation property to reference the LocalBusiness it relates to. This could be an @id to a LocalBusiness defined separately on the page.

I've created a free editor to help non-coders create this SpecialAnnouncement structured data:

 
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