First off, Google has launched a new banner option which enables businesses to add a simple notification along the top of their website to highlight key business changes due to the COVID-19 lockdowns.
As explained by Google:
"Once you log into your Optimize account you can add a message to the top of your site by clicking “Add a banner.” You can use our templated banner or customize it by editing the color, size, and text. We recommend you use a color that stands out from the other content on the page. You can also select on which pages of your site the banner should be shown, for example only the homepage or on every page of your site."
It's a simple, but effective way to communicate key changes, like operating hours or functions, which, as Google notes, will stand out to visitors.
Google's also providing a way to create an entirely different version of your website via its personalization tools.
"You may have updated store hours or services available at this time. Use Optimize to create a personalization to temporarily display a different version of your site to people when they visit. You can end the personalization whenever you like and your site will go back to displaying its original version."
The personalization option is more specifically designed for A/B testing, showing a different version of your website to different user groups, and is normally available only for short time periods, but Google is now making it available for an extended period to assist businesses owners in displaying relevant information.
The personalization changes will be in effect till at least July 31st.
Google Optimize provides a range of other website experimentation and data options that can help you maximize performance, outside of these emergency tools. It can be linked to any website (with HTML code insert) and can be a great tool for testing out different approaches.
These additions are more simplified elements, but they may well prove helpful for those seeking to communicate key messages during COVID-19.