Your Guide to COVID-19 Structured Data

Purpose: This document is intended as a comprehensive guide for marking up information about COVID-19. It outlines the schema.org types and properties that can be used to increase the visibility and accessibility of such information, and how Schema App can assist with creating and maintaining this markup. 

What kind of content should be marked up?

SpecialAnnouncement structured data is currently supported by Bing and Google, both of which have the ability to represent properly-marked up content in the form of rich results. Examples of content eligible for the SpecialAnnouncement rich result include:

  • Announcements of a shelter-in-place directive
  • Closure notices (for example, closing a school or public transportation)
  • Announcement of government benefits (for example, unemployment support, paid leave, or one-time payments)
  • Quarantine guidelines
  • Travel restrictions
  • Notifications of a new drive-through testing center
  • Announcements of an event transitioning from offline to online, or a cancellation
  • Announcements of revised hours and shopping restrictions
  • Disease spread statistics and maps

Who should use this markup?

The guidelines put forward by both Google and Schema.org state that SpecialAnnouncement markup should be used for urgent announcements published by locally-oriented organizations such as schools, pharmacies, healthcare providers, community groups, police, and local government.

On April 15th, 2020, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy stated they were adopting Schema.org markup for COVID-19 announcements. They have urged the private sector, State and local governments, and academic community to do the same.

Google has stated that local businesses can utilize SpecialAnnouncement for changes to store hours. While the associated rich result may not show up in search, it still facilitates the understanding of such content for search queries. 

Special Announcement

SpecialAnnouncement markup should be added for time-stamped information updates made by locally-oriented organizations, such as schools, pharmacies, healthcare providers, community groups, police, and local governments. Below are the required and recommended properties as presented in Google’s structured data type definitions for SpecialAnnouncement. 

 

Required Properties

Schema Property

Expected Value

Mapping Notes

datePosted DateTime The date that the COVID-19 announcement was published in ISO-8601 format.
name text The short title of the COVID-19 announcement in plain text. For example: “Stanford announces COVID-19 testing facility”.
Either text or a specific property that points to more information text You must include either text, or one of the following specific properties that point to more information about the announcement, depending on the subject matter:

Google notes that multiple specific properties can be used, and are even encouraged, if they make sense in the context of the announcement.

NOTE! The Schema App Editor automatically transforms a selected date into the required ISO-8601 format.

 

 

Recommended Properties

Schema Property

Expected Value

Mapping Notes

announcementLocation 

LocalBusiness
or
CivicStructure

The specific location that is associated with the SpecialAnnouncement. For example, a specific testing facility or business with special opening hours. Both the LocalBusiness and CivicStructures must, themselves, contain a name, a URL and a PostalAddress by way of the address property. 

For a larger geographic region, like a quarantine of an entire region, Google recommends using spatialCoverage

category

URL

The URL that describes the category for the special announcement. Link to the Wikipedia page for COVID-19: https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q81068910

diseasePreventionInfo

URL or WebContent

A specific property.

Information about disease prevention, if applicable to the announcement.

 A URL linking to the related page is acceptable, but the WebContent type contains additional properties that can be leveraged to further describe the content.

diseaseSpreadStatistics

URL or WebContent or Dataset or Observation

A specific property. 

If applicable to the announcement, the statistical information about the spread of a disease, either as WebContent, or described directly as a Dataset, or the specific Observation in the dataset. These types contain additional properties that can be leveraged to further describe the content.

expires

DateTime

The date in which the content expires and is no longer useful or available in ISO-8601 format. Don’t include this property if you don’t know when the content will expire.

gettingTestedInfo

URL or WebContent

A specific property.

Information about getting tested (for a MedicalCondition) in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

governmentBenefitsInfo GovernmentService A specific property.

Information about new government benefits in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

GovernmentService has it’s own set of required properties. For a full description, see the Government Benefits Info section below.

newsUpdatesAndGuidelines

URL or WebContent

A specific property.
A page with news updates and guidelines in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement. This could be (but is not required to be) the main page containing SpecialAnnouncement markup on a site.

publicTransportClosuresInfo

URL or WebContent

A specific property.
Information about public transport closures in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

quarantineGuidelines

URL or WebContent

A specific property.
Guidelines about quarantine rules in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

schoolClosuresInfo

URL or WebContent

A specific property.
Information about school closures in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

spatialCoverage

Place

The geographic region that is the focus of the special announcement, if applicable. For example, the announcement may be about a shelter-in-place that affects multiple regions. This can be called out by way of Place. A Place is best defined by way of a Wikipedia or Wikidata URL.

If the announcement affects both a region and a specific location (for example, a library closure that serves an entire region), use both spatialCoverage and announcementLocation.

text

text

The textual summary of the COVID-19 announcement. The text may contain HTML content such as links and lists. Valid HTML tags include: <h1> through <h6>, <br>, <ol>, <ul>, <li>, <a>, <p>, <div>, <b>, <strong>, <i>, and <em>.

This can be used instead of, or alongside specific properties.

travelBans

URL or WebContent

A specific property.
Information about travel bans in the context of COVID-19, if applicable to the announcement.

Some of the listed properties link to other schema.org types. Here is more information to clarify what these types are, and how they can be used:

  • Dataset: A body of structured information describing some topic(s) of interest. More information about the term within the context of schema.org can be found in the data and datasets overview.
  • DateTime: A combination of date and time of day. Schema App’s Editor allows you to select a date from a calendar, and automatically transforms it into ISO-8601 format.
  • CivicStucture: A public structure, such as a town hall or concert hall. This type inherits all of the properties associated with Place.
  • LocalBusiness: A particular physical business or branch of an organization. This type contains required properties that may result in errors if they are not fulfilled. For a full tutorial of creating LocalBusiness markup, see Schema App’s How-to Guide for Local Business Schema Markup.
  • Observation: Schema.org describes Observation as a type  used to specify observations about an entity (which may or may not be an instance of a StatisticalPopulation), at a particular time. The principal properties of an Observation are observedNode, measuredProperty, measuredValue (or median, etc.) and observationDate (measuredProperty properties can, but need not always, be W3C RDF Data Cube “measure properties”, as in the lifeExpectancy example). See also StatisticalPopulation, and the data and datasets overview for more details.
  • Place: Entities that have a somewhat fixed, physical extension. A Place is best defined by way of a Wikipedia or Wikidata URL.
  • WebContent: WebContent is a type representing all WebPage, WebSite and WebPageElement content. In some cases the WebContent type can be used in place of a URL. It contains additional properties that can be leveraged to further describe linked content.

Government Service

The governmentBenefitsInfo property can be used to provide more specific information about government benefits related to the SpecialAnnouncement. This property expects a GovernmentService data item which, itself, expects the following properties and values:

Required Properties

Schema Property

Expected Value

Mapping Notes

audience Audience The audience that is eligible to receive the government benefits.

An Audience data item requires the name property to describe the intended audience. For example, “Small Businesses”.

name text The name of the government benefits. For example, “Paycheck Protection Program”.
provider GovernmentOrganization The government organization that is providing the benefits.

A GovernmentOrganization data item requires the name property to describe the government organization that is providing the benefits. For example, “US Small Business Administration”.

serviceType GovernmentBenefitsType The type of government benefits that support the COVID-19 situation. Use one of the following enumerations:

If none of the listed enumerations are adequate to describe the benefits type, a textual description can also be used.

url URL The URL to more information about the government benefits.

How to add Structured Data to COVID-19 Announcements (BETA)

JSON-LD from Video Example

<script type="application/ld+json">
{
    "@context": "http://schema.org",
    "@type": "SpecialAnnouncement",
    "category": "https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q81068910",
    "name": "AdventHealth Durand",
    "datePosted": "2020-04-15T00:00",
    "text": "If you are experiencing any symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, and or coughing) please register for our drive-in Covid-19 screening.",
    "newsUpdatesAndGuidelines": "https://www.adventhealth.com/coronavirus-resource-hub/coronavirus-covid-19-screening-and-testing",
    "announcementLocation": {
        "@type": "CivicStructure",
        "address": {
            "@type": "PostalAddress",
            "streetAddress": "1220 3rd ave",
            "name": "Durand Location ",
            "addressLocality": "Durand",
            "addressCountry": "USA",
            "addressRegion": "WI",
            "@id": "https://www.adventhealth.events/event.cfm?id=7489#PostalAddress"
        },
        "url": "https://www.adventhealth.com/coronavirus-resource-hub/coronavirus-covid-19-screening-and-testing",
        "name": "AdventHealth Durand",
        "@id": "https://www.adventhealth.events/event.cfm?id=7489#CivicStructure"
    },
    "@id": "https://www.adventhealth.events/event.cfm?id=7489"
}
</script>

Other Opportunities for Enhancement

Most pages that are eligible for SpecialAnnouncement markup likely contain other information of interest. Adding structured data to this content can both provide more context for your SpecialAnnouncement, and benefit from being informed by the SpecialAnnouncement’s markup. Here are some examples of schema.org types that may be of interest, and the properties that can be used to connect them to your SpecialAnnouncement.

Other Types and Properties

Schema Property

SchemaType

Mapping Notes

mentions Physician Physicians mentioned on a SpecialAnnouncement page can be marked up using properties like availableService, hospitalAffiliation and medicalSpecialty.
hasPart  FAQPage The SpecialAnnouncement page may have an FAQ section that can be called out with the hasPart property. Marking up your FAQs can make them eligible for rich results in search, improving the visibility and accessibility of this essential and informative content. For more information about marking up FAQs, see our tutorial Creating “FAQPage” Schema Markup Using the Schema App Editor.
subjectOf Article or BlogPosting Articles and Blog Posts that have the SpecialAnnouncement as their subject, and are listed or linked to on the SpecialAnnouncement page, can be called out using the subjectOf property. If they pertain to another related topic, use the mentions property. If they are cited within the SpecialAnnouncement, use the citation property. For more information about marking up Articles and BlogPostings, see our tutorial video How to Optimize an Article with Schema App Editor.
subjectOf MedicalWebPage A web page that provides medical information can be marked up using the MedicalWebPage type. If the SpecialAnnouncement is the subject of this page, use the subjectOf property. If it pertains to another related topic, use the mentions property.
subjectOf VideoObject Using the VideoObject type allows you to call out Videos existing on the Special Announcement page. The subjectOf property ensures that search engines know the SpecialAnnouncement is the subjectOf the VideoObject. If the video pertains to another related topic, utilize the video or associatedMedia properties instead.  For more information about marking up videos, see our tutorial video How to Optimize a VideoObject with Schema App Editor.

Since Google’s documentation is currently in beta, it is expected that the required and recommended properties will change over time. Schema App’s tools will be modified to accommodate these changes as they occur.

For more information, see the resources listed below, or contact us at support@schemaapp.com.

Resources

Connecting Americans to Coronavirus Information Online (Whitehouse Office of Science and Technology Policy; April 15th, 2020)

Latest updates (Google Search; April 16th, 2020)

Introducing a new way for sites to highlight COVID-19 announcements on Google Search (Webmaster Central Blog; April 03, 2020)

Schema for Coronavirus special announcements, Covid-19 Testing Facilities and more (Schema.org blog; March 16th, 2020)

Bing adopts schema.org markup for special announcements for COVID-19 (Bing blogs; March 23rd, 2020)

Add structured data to COVID-19 announcements (BETA) (Google Search; March 16th, 2020)

 

 

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