How to Best Update Your Canceled, Postponed, or Virtual Events in Search

Google has provided developers new guidelines on how to provide event information so they can accurately relate that information to their users.

How to Best Update Your Canceled, Postponed, or Virtual Events in SearchDue to governmental COVID-19 (Coronavirus) policies around the world, many events are being canceled, postponed, or moved to virtual formats.

Google wants to show the most accurate information about your events, and have added new, optional properties to their developer documentation to help Google understand the status of your events. These properties apply to all regions and languages. This is one part of their overall efforts to schema updates needed to support event organizers, website publishers and Google’s users.

The biggest change is the addition on March 17, 2020 of the new eventStatus property.  Google has provided guidelines on how developers can address various event conditions:

Canceled Event: Set the eventStatus property to EventCancelled and keep the original date in the startDate of the event.

Postponed Event: 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.

Rescheduled Event: Update the startDate and endDate with the relevant new dates. Optionally, you can also mark the eventStatus field as EventRescheduled and add the previousStartDate.

In-person Event Moved Online: Optionally update the eventStatus field to indicate the change with EventMovedOnline.

Online-only Event: Specify VirtualLocation for the event location and OnlineEventAttendanceMode for the eventAttendanceMode property.

When making these event updates to your website, be sure to update Google.    Provide a sitemap to Google, and keep the lastmod attributes up to date. If your site’s content management system generates your sitemap automatically, that’s great, make sure it is listed properly in your Google Search Console account.

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