SEO News: Google Structured Data for Coronavirus Updates

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Discover the latest SEO news, from marketers choosing Google Ads over SEO, to search visibility for health organisations.


SEO News: Google Structured Data for Coronavirus Updates

What’s been happening lately in the world of SEO? In this update, I’ll be talking about all of the latest SEO news – from Google structured data to assist with coronavirus announcements, to marketers opting for Google Ads over search engine optimisation.

Google Structured Data for COVID-19 Announcements

On the 1st April 2020, Google released new documentation to help organisations add structured data specifically for COVID-19 announcements. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Google has recognised that organisations such as governments, health services and schools, “are publishing urgent announcements that affect schedules and other aspects of everyday life” (Google Search).

As part of this documentation, Google provided the following examples of announcements:

  • Announcement of a shelter-in-place directive
  • Closure notice (for example, closing a school or public transportation)
  • Quarantine guidelines
  • Travel restrictions
  • Notification of a new drive-through testing centre
  • Announcement of an event transitioning from offline to online, or cancellation
  • Announcement of revised hours and shopping restrictions
  • Disease spread statistics and maps

Marketers Would Choose Google Ads Over SEO If They Had To

In a time of revenue decline, budget freezes and temporary shutdown, many marketers are turning their attention to the question of which marketing channels are going to have the greatest impact. A recent survey carried out by Best SEO Companies has provided insights into the thinking of marketing professionals and small business owners during these uncertain times.

Best SEO Companies surveyed 496 marketing pros and small business owners about the benefits of Google Ads and SEO methods, as well as 522 search engine users about their perception of paid and organic search results. When asked about each technique for attracting customers, the feedback provided was overwhelmingly positive, with many respondents commenting that both tactics are ‘constructive’ and ‘complementary’:


But what happened when participants were asked which platform they would choose if forced to select just one? In short: nearly two thirds chose Google Ads.

Many respondents commented that customers who were referred from Google Ads converted at higher rates and completed larger transactions. While this statement disregards key nuances (for example, search ads can be used to remarket to previous organic visitors), marketing professionals also commented on the ease and simplicity of using Google Ads:

“Compared to SEO, most respondents said Google Ads was better for generating fast results, ease of implementation and measurement, and overall traffic volume… Although SEO offers tremendous value over the long term, it’s hardly a straightforward or short-term investment. To reap the rewards of your SEO efforts, you’ll need the right team and the patience to let their work pay off” (Best SEO Companies).

Do you agree? Is your business willing to work for the sustainable success SEO affords, or will you opt for the simplicity of Google Ads instead? Let us know by tweeting @clickthrough.

Google’s Temporarily Closed Status Won’t Hurt Your Search Rankings

On Monday 30th of March 2020, Google posted on Twitter that businesses marking their status as “temporarily closed” will not impact their search rankings:

For more information on using the temporarily closed status, check out Google My Business Help.

Google Assists Health Organisations with Search Visibility

Due to the increase in health organisations providing information to help with the COVID-19 epidemic, Google has created a best practices article to assist these organisations with search visibility. The announcement states that:

“By default, Google tries to show the most relevant, authoritative information in response to any search. This process is more effective when content owners help Google understand their content in appropriate ways. To better guide health-related organisations in this process (known as SEO, or “search engine optimisation”), we have produced a new help centre article with some important best practices” (Google Webmasters Central Blog).

Barry Schwartz (@rustybrick), author at Search Engine Land, sums up these best practices as the following:

  • How to help users access your content on the go
  • The importance of good page content and titles
  • Ways to check how your site appears for coronavirus-related queries
  • How to analyse the top coronavirus related user queries
  • How to add structured data for FAQ content

As part of this initiative, Google has also set up a support group for health organisations, focused on helping them to publish information about coronavirus with search related questions. Google will be reviewing requests to join the support group on a case-by-case basis, starting by accepting only domains under national health ministries and US state level agencies.

What do you think of this initiative? Will it enable health organisations’ COVID-19 information reach a wider audience? Let us know by tweeting @clickthrough.

If you’d like to discuss any of the latest SEO news included in this update, get in touch with our SEO experts today. You can also tweet me @tommy_iv.

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