Updated: Jan 6
Google has been at the forefront of introducing and integrating changes that have been promoting better access to relevant information amid the coronavirus pandemic racking the world.
In April 2020, Google made a change to the search engine’s algorithm so that news related to the pandemic was highlighted. There were two things organizations publishing COVID-19 related news could do.
Both of these methods are designed to help organizations, especially health and government agencies, publish local COVID-19 news as highlight announcements. The news appears along with other COVID-19 rich results, displaying a short summary.
The more effective way of highlighting coronavirus-related announcements is by adding structured data to your website’s pages. You can keep tabs on the reports through Search Console and update the information in the future as you please as the announcement changes automatically when the page changes.
For businesses that don’t yet have the technical support to add and use structured data to make announcements, they can submit the announcements to Google’s Search Console. Unlike in structured data announcements, submitting them is a temporary solution. You’ll have to manually submit new announcements to make changes to the previous ones. Also, you can’t monitor them.
In May, Google announced further support for COVID-19 announcements by making changes for Special Announcements in the Google Search Console. There are two main changes that are helping sites publish more localized COVID-19 news.
Users can now access a report from the Search Console to see how their structured data is performing. There are metrics users can see such as errors, warnings etc. that will help improve the reach of the announcements.
In addition to errors and warnings, the Search Console also provides complete access to performance reports for the pages marked-up for announcements. From impressions to CTR (click-through rate), you can learn how they are performing and how much traffic they are generating.
Rich Results Test
Rich results include search result features that enhance how key highlights are displayed on search engines. It helps assess the page’s relevance and purpose. Google announced that special announcement pages can now also be tested for rich results.
It can help identify errors and help users tune their pages, so they generate better results in terms of performance and show more relevant news on search results. For example, if you were to search “COVID-19 Maryland”, pages enhanced with Rich results testing will show all relevant news from government agencies, health organizations, and other local businesses.
The purpose of integrating all these Google Search Console specifications is to make COVID-19-relevant information much easier to find. As the situation with the pandemic continues developing, Google will also introduce new channels of support.
Pendragon Consulting, LLC can provide solutions to expand your reach in keeping your audience informed of any COVID-19 related news. As the economy begins to reopen, it is especially important that you keep your current and potential clients apprised of any changes in hours, openings, etc.