Schema markup, also known as structured data, is not a new concept. It’s many benefits have been written about in some great blog posts on how you can use it with your website, none of which need to be re-written here.

The Digital Relativity Development team has been using Schema for years with website projects for features like events, locations and more. We’ve even optimized our content for Bluetooth speakers to read out loud. We are constantly seeking new opportunities that leverage the strengths of Schema.  

Schema and COVID-19

One such opportunity presented itself in March, when a new Schema vocabulary was released to help make COVID-19 special announcements easier to find by those that needed the information quickly.

“While there is no shortage of coronavirus content on the internet, the American people need access to the most up-to-date public health guidance and most relevant information on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing facilities in their communities. The White House and key Federal agencies are working alongside to help ensure these critical resources surface across online search engine results”

Michael Kratsios, Suzette Kent, and Ory Rinat

The release of The Covid-19 Special Announcement Schema, created as a collaboration between Federal Agencies and, provided additional Schema tags that had the ability for search engines and other online tools to pick up pieces of pandemic-related information and differentiate them from other pages.

Our Development team recognized this opportunity as a way to help several organizations and agencies in the state of West Virginia make critical COVID-19 information more readily available to its citizens. The solution? A simple, ultra-light WordPress plugin that automatically generates the necessary mark-up.

Structured data and schema announcements visible to the viewer.
This is what visitors see.
Structured data and announcements viewable to machines.
This is what “bots” see. The HTML is on the left and the
structured data that is machine-readable is on the right.

How Does it Work?

This plugin does one thing and one thing only: help find critical information quickly. There is nothing to configure. There is nothing to layout. Simply install the plugin and generate a shortcode to place on pages containing important Covid-19 resources and information. 

There are several fields available and only one required field, spatialCoverage. Fields include:

  • spatialCoverage – This is the only required field because we can’t guess it. Where, geographically, does this apply to? We recommend using language like “Fayetteville”, “West Virginia”, “United States” (City, State, Country) or simply the name of the state and the country. 
  • expires – When does this information expire? By default, the system will say “30 days from today.”
  • name – Name of the alert, which defaults to the page name text; the body of the alert defaults to the excerpt of the current page.
  • datePosted – Notification date; by default, uses the date the current page was published.
  • dateModified – Notification modification date. By default, uses the date the current page was last modified.
  • url – Web address associated with the alert; uses the page URL by default.
  • newsUpdatesAndGuidelines – Web address for further updates and guidance; defaults to current page.
  • diseasePreventionInfo – Web address for disease specific info; defaults to current page.

An example of the shortcode: 

[covid_19 name="Travel Alert from West Virginia State Parks" spatialCoverage="West Virginia, United States"]

Name‘ is the title of the alert and ‘spatialCoverage‘ is the geographic area affected by the alert. It supports additional fields, like ‘text’ for custom alert text. The only required field is ‘spatialCoverage‘. Everything else, the plugin will pull from the page it’s on. 

You canĀ download the plugin here.

There are many great Schema WordPress plugins to help with other aspects of your website’s findability. Our favorite, Yoast, has been a go-to for SEO agencies and professionals for years.  

Need some assistance with Schema implementation on your website? We are happy to help. Drop us a line.