Google Data Highlighter Tool

Data Highlighter Tool from Google

Log on to Webmaster tool to get started with the Google Data Highlighter Tool.

In December 2012, Google released its data highlighter tool.  With this tool, it is now possible to tag data fields.  What amazed many people about this development is that no coding is necessary to achieve this goal.  With its release, “event-related data” can now easily be tagged with items like the event name, date, location, image, and url.  Of course, the Googlebot spider has to have recently crawled the page for the Google highlighter tool to work effectively.

Google will be rolling out different ways to use its data highlighter tool in the near future.  Webmasters merely need to organize the website and create batches of “page sets”. A page set is a collection of pages on a site that consistently displays data.  Also it is important to note that the data highlighter tool teaches Google only about pages that are currently in a page set, and only the pages without markup for rich data structures.

The Importance of Rich Snippets

The data highlighter tool is all about rich snippets.  Snippets are the lines of text that appear under various search results.  They give you relevant information about what is on the page and were first introduced by Google back in 2009.  Typically, Google suggests using microdata to create rich snippets.  Currently, rich snippets are supported for different types of content including reviews, people, products, businesses, recipes, events and music.  However, webmasters need to add markup formats in order to allow Google to get this extra webpage data.  With the data highlighter tool, adding this markup is no longer necessary.

As stated above, the data highlighter tool is available even for those who don’t want or have the possibility to add markup code to their sites.  Web owners can simply point and click to tag their sites.  However, if you plan to use the tool to mark up things already today, you can only do so by specifying Events, Articles, Local Businesses, Movies, Restaurants, Software Applications & TV Episode–related data at this moment.

Google's Highlighter Tool for Structured Data

For pages that contain information about multiple events, Google search results can display rich snippets like this.


Google’s Data Highlighter Tool and SEO

Obviously, SEO specialists need to know about rich data and the Google highlighter tool.  If someone is trying to choose between two results on Google, they will be more likely to select the result that offers rich snippets with a variety of additional useful information. The data highlighter tool from Google will ultimately increase click-through rates and likely improve the rankings.

Through the data highlighter tool, website owners can create rich snippets for their events e.t.c.  Many people are excited about the fact that soon Google will be blending events in with other interesting search results.  Businesses should also be sure to register with Google Places to ensure optimal SEO through the Google Knowledge Graph.

While the Google highlighter tool can be a tremendously powerful way to get e.g events into search engine results, it is no guarantee.  Google states “each product applies its own rules when deciding whether and how to display the data. For example, Google search results will display as rich snippets only for events that are in the future and that appear to be legitimate events.”