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New COVID-19 Announcement Tool in Google Search Console

New COVID-19 Announcement Tool in Google Search Console
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Google just released a COVID-19 Announcement Submission Tool. The tool is available in Google Search Console. The tool allows web publshers to create Coronavirus related announcements straight from the Google Search console without having to use structured data.

BETA Tool

This tool is available via Google Search Console. The tool announces that it is a beta tool, which means it’s not considered fully developed and will be subject to change.

The tool is meant for “authority websites” that cannot use structured data. It is is meant to enable these sites to submit the COVID-19 related announcements via Google Search Console.

However, it may eventually roll out to all sites:

“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.”

Here are the situations the announcements are supposed to cover:

“This includes the closure of facilities, rescheduling of events, and new availability of medical facilities (for example, testing centers). Google Search uses this information to better understand the content on your web page and show the important announcement to relevant people.”

The official announcement was made as an edit to the previously published announcement about communicating COVID-19 related announcements via Structured Data.

So this is a second way to make announcements.

The tool has four considerations:

  1. Announcements must expire within one month.
  2. Failure to set an announcement will result in an expiration of seven days to be set on the announcement.
  3. The tool is meant for health and government organizations
  4. The tool is not meant for news sites

Although the announcement said it is for health and government organizations, the Google Search Console includes schools as part of it.

Here’s what the Google Search Console says:

“Authority websites, such as government agencies, official health authority, and schools, can use this tool to submit an important COVID-19 announcement on their site…”

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This is what the new wording about Google Search Console method says:

“The tool is focused on health and government organizations; it doesn’t support news articles.”

screenshot of google search console coronavirus tool

Six Announcement Types

The Google Search Console tool supports six coronavirus announcement types:

  1. COVID-19 Testing Facility
  2. School Closure
  3. Shelter in place
  4. Disease spread statistics
  5. Travel bans
  6. Other / general

Take Due Notice

Even if you or your clients may not be “authority websites” it’s still good to be aware of this information. If you are a client facing search marketing professional, it may be useful to your community to reach out to local schools and government entities to make sure that they are aware of these tools.

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Thanks to @tldrMarketing for the tip!

Updated Special Announcement Developers Page

Submit a COVID-19 announcement for your site in Search Console (BETA)

Google Search Console Special Announcement Tool

https://search.google.com/search-console/special-announcement

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Roger Montti

Roger Montti is a search marketer with 20 years experience. He provides site audits, phone consultations and content and link ... [Read full bio]

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