New properties for virtual, postponed, and canceled events
In the current environment and status of COVID-19 around the world, many events are being canceled, postponed, or moved to an online-only format. Google wants to show users the latest, most accurate information about your events in this fast-changing environment, and so we’ve added some new, optional properties to our developer documentation to help. These properties apply to all regions and languages. This is one part of our overall efforts in schema updates to support publishers and users. Here are some important tips on keeping Google up to date on your events.
Update the status of the event
The schema.org eventStatus property sets the status of the event, particularly when the event has been canceled, postponed, or rescheduled. This information is helpful because it allows Google to show users the current status of an event, instead of dropping the event from the event search experience altogether.
- If the event has been canceled: Set the eventStatus property to EventCancelled and keep the original date in the startDate of the event.
- If the event has been postponed (but the date isn’t known yet): Keep the original date in the startDate of the event until you know when the event will take place and update the eventStatus to EventPostponed. The startDate property is required to help identify the unique event, and we need the date original startDate until you know the new date. Once you know the new date information, change the eventStatus to EventRescheduled and update the startDate and endDate with the new date information.
- If the event has been rescheduled to a later date: Update the startDate and endDate with the relevant new dates. Optionally, you can also mark the eventStatus field as EventRescheduled and add the previousStartDate.
- If the event has moved from in-person to online-only: Optionally update the eventStatus field to indicate the change with EventMovedOnline.
For more information on how to implement the eventStatus property, refer to the developer documentation.
Mark events as online only
More events are shifting to online only, and we’re actively working on a way to show this information to people on Google Search. If your event is happening only online, make sure to use the following properties:
- Set the location to the VirtualLocation type.
- Set the eventAttendanceMode property to OnlineEventAttendanceMode.
For more information on how to implement the VirtualLocation type, refer to the developer documentation.
Note: You can start using VirtualLocation and eventAttendanceMode even though they are still under development on Schema.org.
Update Google when your event changes
After you make changes to your markup, make sure you update Google. We recommend that you make your sitemap available automatically through your server. This is the best way to make sure that your new and updated content is highlighted to search engines as quickly as possible.
If you have any questions, let us know through the Webmasters forum or on Twitter.
Posted by Emily Fifer, Event Search Product Manager
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