Google Search Console Offers New COVID-19 Announcement Tool

Brandon LazovicApril 6, 2020

Within the past week Google launched a new COVID-19 Announcement Submission Tool via Google Search Console. This tool allows web publishers to create announcements relating to COVID-19 without having to markup web pages with structured data or rely on tools like SEMRush to perform keyword research or parse through rich results.

COVID-19 Announcement Tool In BETA

Example of COVID-19 SpecialAnnouncement Markup

This tool was designed for authority sites in mind such as testing facilities or government organizations. Because it’s in BETA, it’s not fully developed and is subject to change in the future. According to Google: 

“We are actively developing this feature, and we hope to expand it to include more sites. While we might not immediately show announcements from other types of sites, seeing the markup will help us better understand how to expand this feature.

Please note: beyond special announcements, there are a range of other options that sites can use to highlight information such as canceled events or changes to business hours.”

Situations in which announcements are appropriate include the closure of facilities; rescheduling of events; and new availability of medical facilities. 

What To Consider When Using This Tool

When using this tool, there are four considerations to keep in mind: 

  1. Announcements should be set to expire within one month
  2. If no expiration date is set, Google will automatically set an expiration of seven days for the announcement
  3. The tool was designed for health and government organizations in mind
  4. This tool is not to be used for news websites

Six Announcement Types

Six coronavirus announcement types are supported via the Google Search Console tool: 

  1. COVID-19 Testing Facility
  2. School Closure
  3. Shelter in Place
  4. Disease Spread Statistics
  5. Travel Bans
  6. Other/General

How To Submit A COVID-19 Announcement For Your Site in Search Console

First, go to the special announcement tool in Google Search Console. Select one of the six options provided in the drop down menu. 

How To Submit A COVID-19 Announcement For Your SIte in Search Console

Next, select the Search Console property you want to add a special announcement for, and enter the required fields: 

  • Announcement start and end date
  • Short Title
  • Summary
  • Region or specific location
Required Fields For SpecialAnnouncment COVID-19 Structured Data

Last, enter the specific URLs where users can find the information you just submitted, and submit the information. 

Additional Information To Include For SpecialAnnouncement Structured Data

COVID-19 SpecialAnnouncement Schema

While this tool is useful for those who aren’t technically inclined or able to access their site’s source code, the recommended method is to add COVID-19 structured data directly to your website. For more information, read my guide on the new SEO structured data types for coronavirus-related searches and how to update your Google My Business Hours during COVID-19. You can also check out my latest guide on how to update old content for SEO.

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