With the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, many universities and businesses are working to communicate important and timely coronavirus-related information that impacts our everyday lives. To help highlight these announcements, Google has introduced Special Announcement structured data that can be added to web pages or in Search Console.

How does it appear in search?

When SpecialAnnouncement structured data is added to a page, a COVID-19 announcement rich result will be displayed alongside the page’s regular snippet description. This announcement can contain a short summary that can be expanded to view more. Google is actively working on this feature, so the format may change over time and you may not see results in Google Search right away.

How to add structured data to COVID-19 announcements to your webpage

Google has developed a learning environment, Codelab, to teach you how to add structured data to your webpages. Google’s preferred format for structured data is a JavaScript-oriented object notation, JSON-LD.

  1. You will need to define the script in the <head> or <body> tags of all pages that you will have structured data. 
  2. Then within the script you inform Google that you will be using the schema.org structured data by setting @context to http://schema.org.
  3. Next define the content that you are describing by setting @type to one of the main content types within schema.org. Example content types include: Event, Organization, Person, Place, (LocalBusiness, Restaurant, etc.) Product, (such as an Offer). And now SpecialAnnouncement
  4. Each type will have its own required and suggested properties that you will define. For example SpecialAnnouncement properties include: announcementLocation, schoolClosuresInfo, and newsUpdatesAndGuidelines. You can see all of the required and suggested properties for SpecialAnnouncement
  5. Besides the new properties for SpecialAnnouncement, just like all other structure data, you can combine properties from other types. For example from Thing you can add Description, Image, and URL

After adding all required and suggested properties, you can validate your structure with Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool.

Example: School closure announcement

Submit COVID-19 announcements in Search Console

If you don’t have the technical ability or support to implement structured data, you can submit a COVID-19 announcement in Search Console. This tool is still in beta testing, and you may see changes. 

Using Search Console for this is only a short-term solution and requires manual updates, so you will want to be working on implementing structured data into your web site so that the information will be always up-to-date.

If you do need to submit this way, you’ll need to first be verified in Search Console. Then you can submit a COVID-19 announcement.

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