SEO: Diving Into Google’s New Data highlighter

March 25th, 2013 by

Google data highlighter

Google recently launched a new Webmaster tool – Data Highlighter – aimed to encourage website owners to add more structured data to their websites. This is geared to improve search engine results and spruce up their knowledge graph boxes with rich snippets like listings, events, reviews and other relevant information. Previously, adding this kind of metadata or RDF markup to a website required knowledge and expertise in coding. However, the new Data Highlighter tool offers an easy way to add metadata to your site without employing any code. 

This ‘codeless’ approach simplifies a crucial component of technical SEO especially for non-developer webmasters. The tool makes it easy for Google crawlers to capture event driven pages on the website resulting in enhanced search results.

Some of the key features of Goggle’s new Data Highlighter include:

1. Page Sets

In order for the Data Highlighter to extract information on site pages, webmasters need to create one or more page sets. A page set is a collection of pages on a website that display data consistently and are organized in such a manner that all URLs follow a consistent pattern. This is important because Data Highlighter will only extract data from pages that are in a page set.

2. Rich Snippets

Google’s Data Highlighter enables webmasters to easily incorporate structured data without the need to enter microdata into the pages HTML. This results in critical information getting displayed in the search results as rich snippets.

3. Knowledge Graphs

Data Highlighter works by extracting data about events then displays the information in form of rich snippets in Google Knowledge graph or other products. Knowledge graphs are more detailed and illustrative about the event than snippets since they feature maps, dates, location and event reviews. As a general rule Google search results will only display as knowledge graphs or rich snippets events that are slated to occur in the future and are legitimate.

4. Events Schema

Events consist of properties like location, date and name. In this light, Data Highlighter recognizes the following event properties: name, date, location, image, official URL, category performer and ticket (information about the type of event and price of the event).

Using Data Highlighter not only allows you to improve SEO by making your site more crawlable by Google, but allows opportunities for site information to be more visibly displayed on search pages using rich snippets and knowledge graphs. Canny webmasters can use this to achieve much greater prominence than Google has allowed before.

Author Bio: Jason Stevens from jason-stevens.com / Freelance web developer, tech writer and follower of cloud computing trends. Follow him on Twitter: @_jason_stevens_.

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