Google has announced that it will shortly be rolling out support for ‘special announcement’ website markup, enabling organisations to deliver announcements relating to COVID-19.
The new type of markup, part of the Schema.org structured markup movement, enables website owners to mark up announcements with new tags, eventually enabling Google to display announcements directly in the search results.
Google is yet to deliver the support for this new feature, however, has encouraged website owners to add the markup to their websites in advance of support being confirmed.
The new markup can be used to make important announcements relating to your organisation with examples provided by Google including to announce closures, travel restrictions, revised hours and movement of an event from offline to online.
The announcement comes after Bing announced similar support for the markup on 23rd March 2020.
This news is going to be most important to governments and other public bodies who need to communicate with as many members of society as possible. Being able to display a critical announcement directly on Google or Bing’s results page is a surefire way to reach a large number of people.
The news however should also catch the interest of financial services firms who are in many cases experiencing record demand for their support and services.
We’ve already written about the increase in demand for financial services and the fact that the banks are on the front line of government support initiatives.
It should come as no surprise that a number of banks have installed messages on their websites warning of ‘unprecedented demand’ on their telephone lines, requesting that wherever possible customers refrain from phoning unless absolutely necessary.
As a result, clear and accessible online guidance is more important that ever, so the option to deliver clear and timely announcements directly within the search results is going to help brands to communicate and potentially reduce the strain on potentially overstretched online infrastructure.