16th April 2020
Special Announcement Structured Data – How to highlight announcements in SERPs
In our recent blog regarding updating your website with information about coronavirus, you may have noticed that we mentioned a new form of schema markup recently introduced by Google: Special Announcements. In this blog, we’re going to take a closer look at how structured data can now be used to highlight announcements within search results, and how it might help your business.
Special Announcements schema markup was introduced last month, to help websites communicate urgent crisis-related information, in order to provide clarity in the search results about everyday practical information regarding their business. This was created predominantly for organisations such as schools, pharmacies, police and local governments, so that they can associate online announcements with COVID-19.
Interestingly, Google have stated that they’re still actively working on this structured data feature, hoping to eventually expand it to include more sites. Whilst you might not immediately start seeing announcements from other types of websites included within SERPs in the same way, Google are referencing live uses of this structured data in order to research and better expand the feature in the future. Google stated the following:
“When SpecialAnnouncement structured data is added to a page, that content can be eligible to appear with a COVID-19 announcement rich result, in addition to the page’s regular snippet description. A COVID-19 announcement rich result can contain a short summary that can be expanded to view more more. Please note that the format may change over time, and you may not see results in Google Search right away.”
How can I add Special Announcement Schema Markup to my website?
There are two ways in which you can add this new form of schema markup to your website. The first and most popular method, recommended by Google, is to add the necessary Structured Data to the code within each relevant page. Structured data is a standardized format for providing information about a page and classifying the page content. If you’re not familiar with how to create and add schema markup to a page, let us know. We can work with you to implement this data – alternatively, take a look at Google’s guidelines.
The second option is to submit special announcements via Google Search Console. If you don’t have access to your site’s HTML, or you need to quickly submit the announcement, you can choose to submit the announcement in Google Search Console. The tool is only for short-lived announcements that are set to expire within a month of posting. Also, there is currently no way to update your announcement. With structured data, your announcement highlights can automatically update when your pages change. With the tool, you’ll have to manually update announcements. Again, either method is a viable option but Google does recommend the former.
What might Special Announcements look like?
Google have provided an example of what these announcements currently look like (below) – although they have stated that their format is likely to change over time.
Useful Structured Data Resources:
For a step-by-step guide on how to add structured data to your web pages, take a look at the Google Structured Data Codelab. You can also use the Rich Results Test tool to test and validate the code within your web page(s). For additional information and help with implementing structured data and schema markup, simply contact the experts at Varn. We would love to hear from you.