April 2020 Newsletter
We’re updating our analytics code today. An SEO pro tip about special announcements, and info about how we prioritize feature requests.
Analytics Update: We Need Your Eyes!
We will be updating our Search.gov analytics infrastructure code starting today, April 23, at 2 PM ET. For this update, we do not anticipate any interruptions in service. We do need your help though: we ask that you reach out to us if you see any data that seems incorrect or unexpected after this afternoon. Many thanks in advance for your time and help with this request!
How We Work
Prioritization Process for Customers’ Feature Requests
One of our core goals is to provide the highest quality of service we can deliver to our customers. So when building our roadmap, we prioritize our secure and reliable infrastructure, aligning with compliance requirements, and creating a desirable search experience.
When we think of new features (the “desirable search experience” component), we gather requests from our customers through our helpdesk, focus groups, and regular check-ins. To prioritize these requests, we ask ourselves some guiding questions:
- Requests: How many of our customers have asked for this feature?
- Utility: How many of our customers will benefit from this feature? The more that can benefit, the better.
We take our list of feature requests and work with our developer team to understand what it takes to build each feature and prioritize these features around infrastructure and compliance requirements. Our developers are talented, but few in number, so prioritizing carefully is key to delivering an efficient and reliable service.
SEO Pro Tip
Schema.org Markup for Special Announcements
Schema.org has a markup method for urgent, crisis-related information called specialAnnouncement, and the major search engines are implementing it in support of the COVID-19 response. While not for emergency alerts, “the intent is to cover the kinds of everyday practical information being posted to existing websites during an emergency situation.”
It allows you to feed them much of the same data you would include in an Open Graph block, such as title, description, date, and a url, but you can also indicate location coverage information and expiration date, among other data points.
Google and Bing can use this information for special handling. The specialAnnouncement markup won’t improve the SEO of any given page, but when a page ranks high, they may modify the presentation of it.
During these very difficult times we are all going through, we want you to know that we are here for you: to help with your search needs and support you to deliver the most consistent search experience possible to your customers.
For example, if you are interested in learning more about search analytics that are specific to COVID-19 related content, we will be happy to schedule a call with a screen-sharing option to go over this information.
For this and any other inquiries or requests you may have during this challenging period, the Search.gov team is available as always by email or by phone at 202.969.7426.
Want to learn about the latest features, fixes, and focuses of the Search team? We post monthly Release Notes on our website.