Advantages and disadvantages of Google Data Highlighter ToolThere are considerable differences between Google Data Highlighter and the markups in the source code. Above all, as we’ve mentioned already, the tool is much easier to use. Additionally, if we have a group of subpages with the same structure (product pages in an online store, for example, where titles, prices, product reviews, etc. are displayed in the same place on a website), we can then create and mark certain page sets. This will make tagging faster, as opposed to entering markups manually on each subpage. Still, Google Data Highlighter has its limitations as well. First of all, we provide only one search engine with all this information. Plus, the subpage that we want to mark has to be indexed first. Even though Google is an extremely popular search engine, we might want to reconsider using the tool and go for markups if we want to rank in countries where it doesn’t have the edge over the competitors. It’s also worth keeping in mind that the Google Data Highlighter tool doesn’t interfere with the source code - it only helps the search engine robots to remember what type of information is coded and kept in what places. It means that if we modify anything within our website, the initial tags might disappear. It applies also to the changes made in the URL. The advice from Google, then, is to delete former page sets and create new ones with the Data Highlighter. The Data Highlighter is still a basic tool, which means that it’s better to use dedicated markups in the source code if such an option is available to us. We also have to take into account that tagging the right information with the Data Highlighter doesn’t guarantee that the data will be displayed in the search engine as we want it to. It’s entirely Google’s choice in the end.
Data types supported by the HighlighterCurrently, Data Highlighter allows marking nine different data types. Actually, this is what specific tags we can use depend on. Of course, if we want to “teach Google” about i.e. product reviews, these reviews have to be on our website first.
- Articles – when it comes to articles, we can tag their title, author, date and time of the publication, featured pictures, its category (i.e. sport), as well as user ratings.
- Events - we can also tag events, provided that they have a unique URL. Thanks to the marker we can indicate the name and the address of the venue, the exact time and date, as well as the name of the event itself. It’s important to include the full name of the event, without any additional details about prices or special deals.
- Local businesses - apart from obvious data, such as the name and address of a company, we can also tag our phone number, opening times, the nature of the business, photos, link to the company website, or user ratings and reviews (if available). When displaying those details in the search engine, Google can also take into account the information entered in Google My Business.
- Restaurants – the available options are very similar to those for the local businesses, apart from tagging the actual nature of the business. Instead, we are allowed to specify the type of cuisine served in the restaurant and provide a direct link to the menu.
- Products – this data type is definitely the most common. It enables us to tag specific details on product pages. Apart from the name and photo of the product, we can indicate its price, availability, current condition, and ID number, as well as user rating & reviews.
- Software applications – in this case, we can tag the name of the app, relevant screens, and visuals, its category (i.e. Game or Productivity), specify the publisher, URL of the app’s web page, the operating system that the application can run on, the date it was released, software version, and average rating and reviews.
- Movies - if we provide details on a specific movie on our website, we can easily tag them with this data type. The information we can highlight is the title, snapshots from the movie, its director and screenplay’s writer, actors, as well as release date, genre, length of the movie, the URL to its official web page, or rating and reviews.
- TV episodes - similar to the previous data type, but this time we can also tag the title, season, and a number of the episode.
- Books - if there is any information on certain books on the website, we can also tag them, by specifying the title, cover (or any other visual), author, publication date, language, ISBN, the name of the publisher, genre, and rating & reviews.
How to use Google Data Highlighter?
- In order to use the Google Data Highlighter tool, we have to log into Search Console first.
- Let’s look for the “Data Highlighter” under the “search appearance” section on the left sidebar and choose “Start highlighting”.
- A screen will pop-up immediately, asking us to state the exact URL of a subpage that we want to tag the information on. We need to make sure we’ve entered the correct address (there’s a difference between including HTTP, https or www) and chosen the category that describes the tags best.
- Then, the next screen will appear. It’s divided into two parts - on the left we’ll find a preview of our website, whereas on the right there will be a table all data tagged. We should take the cursor and select or hover over areas of the page to select the tag that corresponds with what we’re actually highlighting.
- Based on the tagged subpage, we can create a page set for similar pages and Google will automatically tag relevant data the same way. It’s worth mentioning that we can create a few page sets within one website.
- The last step is to hit “Publish”. Before we decide to make all the tags public, though, we can review the data and, if necessary, go back to any of the previous steps and make corrections.