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Bing’s New Schema Markup, Google Offers Advice to Sites on COVID-19 |March 2020 W4

By howard-go on March 30, 2020

SEO News Updates- March 2020 W4 Edition

Hi, again folks! In this week’s news update, we are seeing a few Google Announcements and news/advice related to the Coronavirus. Let’s dive into it. 

19/03/2020 – Easier resubmissions and appeals of ad policy issues

Google’s Announcement

On the 19th of March 2020, Google announced a new way to appeal to policy issues within Google Ads. 

Previously, you will need to go through the support team to make an appeal. Right now, it’s much more efficient. I’m pretty sure it’s effective too. 

To appeal, go to the “Ads and extensions”table or “Status” column, select the ad you want to appeal and then click ‘edit’. You’ll see an option to appeal now. 

21/03/2020 – One-Page View of the Latest Updates Made to Google Search developer documentation

Lizzi Harvey from Google shared a document on Twitter where you can see all the updates that are happening in the search dev docs for the whole month of March.

Some updates included are as follows: 

  • March 26: New Guidance for how to pause your online business
  • March 23: Added a new recommended field to the Package tracking developer documentation: CanReschedule.
  • March 3: Added hostload issues to the list of error messages in the mobile-first indexing best practices.

23/03/2020 – Google Does Not Prioritise AMP Content on Google Search

AMP, short for Accelerated Mobile Pages was introduced by Google in October 2015. 

We know they’re important because it helps web pages load way faster. If your page is on the featured snippet, users who click on them will be directed to the part of your page where it’s featured. 

Pretty nice. But do Google actually prioritize AMP Content on Search? This was asked by Fellyph on Twitter.

According to Google’s Martin Splitt, it’s a myth. Good that it’s clarified. 

23/03/2020 – Bing’s New Markup

Bing’s announcement

Bing announced that they’re adding new features to keep everyone up to date on announcements related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

They are as follows:

  • SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for government health agencies- Bing may consume case statistics from government health agencies at the country, state or province, administrative area, and city-level that use the schema.org markup for diseaseSpreadStatistics associated with a SpecialAnnouncement. These statistics are used on bing.com/covid and other searches for COVID-19 statistics. 
  • SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for COVID-19 related business updates- If you have an announcement related to the COVID-19 pandemic, you can also use the markup for your business, as long as it’s posted on your official website. Provide clear information like the name of the announcement, date, and expiry time.
  • SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for risk assessment and testing centers- Two schema markups were introduced, namely, gettingTestedInfo and CovidTestingFacility.
  • SpecialAnnouncement schema markup for travel restrictions- Two new markups were introduced here as well, namely travelBans and publicTransportClosuresInfo. Just like the rest, you need to be an official site that’s well-known to use them. 

If this is relevant to you, read more in details here: Bing adopts schema.org markup for special announcements for COVID-19

25/03/2020- Google’s Gary Illyes Offer Advice on Sites during COVID-19 Pandemic

Lastly, we have some feedback from Gary Illyes. 

Question by Reddit user, WanderWithMe

A Reddit user asked for the best practices and implications for their client taking their site down due to coronavirus. 

The question is very clear here so I won’t need to go through it. Gary shared that owners should close their cart and put up a message explaining to the users what’s happening.

Gary also shared that redirects and 503 will have unwanted effects on the site from SEO perspective.

Later, Gary has put up a blog post on the do and don’t, as well as a guide to “how to pause an online business”. 

If you’re in this situation, this is the solution for you. 

And that’s it for this week’s SEO Weekly Update. I hope it’s been informative and I also hope all of you are doing well. 

Stay home and hydrated. Take care!

Updated: 6 May 2021

Howard Go

About Howard Go

Howard is a student of life, constantly learning and progressing. He has always been interested in business studies and fascinated by the capabilities of Marketing in transforming the whole business game.

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