Google supporting health organisations during COVID-19
We currently live in a turbulent time. News reports are published throughout the day, updating us all on the COVID-19 pandemic that has affected millions of people worldwide. Unfortunately, alongside the updates that we see from government authorities and reputable sources, there’s also a huge amount of misinformation currently circulating, and an easy way to reach huge audiences with this misinformation is through search.
Fortunately, Google’s algorithms have always been focused upon ensuring that high quality, relevant content is brought to the forefront. This is now more important than ever. Since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, Google have added a number of SERP features for queries relating to the disease. This includes an SOS alert, statistics and information on the virus, all of which have been pulled from high authority sources.
More recently, Google have also released updated guidance for brick and mortar businesses on managing their Google My Business listing if they’ve had to temporarily close due to the Coronavirus. The Google Cloud team, meanwhile, have been working hard to make sure that trustworthy data is being made as easy to access as possible.
A new structured data format has also been released to allow people to mark up data on their site relating to scenarios such as the below:
- 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 center
- Announcement of an event transitioning from offline to online, or cancellation
- Announcement of revised hours and shopping restrictions
- Disease spread statistics and maps
On top of everything that they’re doing to prioritise accurate and helpful information, Google have this morning released an article aimed at helping health organisations make COVID-19 information more accessible.
Whilst Google are doing everything they can to prevent misinformation from rising in SERPs, they ultimately need the help of health organisations to solidify this. The article that they’ve released provides information on how to ensure that your content on COVID-19 is optimised to appear highly for queries related to the virus.
If you’re part of a health organisation, please take time to read and implement the advice that Google is putting out there for you – we’re all in this together.