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What is Google Data Highlighter – and Why Should You Be Using It?

| in Google,SEO,SEO Jobs

What do you do if you need to add more structured data to your website but don’t want to get messy with code?  Google – and those real humans looking at search results – like detail. This is why using rich snippets is a must to highlight your site offerings and indicate why they are relevant to search engine users. Google has rolled out the Data Highlighter to make marking up your website much easier. Though limited now to events, such as concerts, benefits, sporting events, or exhibits, Google promises that it will expand the tool in the near future.

The tool allows Google to display event information, such as time, date, and place, right in the search results. But we can already do that with data markup! Yes, but Data Highlighter is a point-and-click type tool that saves time and allows even the non-tech geeks among us to add this useful information without modifying any pages.

How do you do this? Go to your Google Webmaster account to find Data Highlighter. Enter the URL of a typical page on your site that contains structured data. Google pulls up the site, and you simply highlight important fields – event title, time, etc. – and label them from the options on a drop down list. You will be able to see how Google “sees” your website on the right side of your screen.

Here’s the cool part: when you’re done with that, Google will identify pages with similar event information. It’ll show you these pages, already marked up. All you have to do is go through and see if everything is accurate. Click “Publish” and there you are. Google applies this format to your entire site so you do not have to go through each page individually.

Data Highlighter makes structured data easy and quick for the rest of us. If you are already using rich snippets, make sure that any signals you give to Google are clear and consistent so it knows what you’d like it to do. It may be of limited use as of now, but look for its expanded capabilities in the coming months.

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