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Why you should be using Google’s New Data Highlighter

By Alexandra Gavril - December 13, 2012

Google is constantly trying to improve its search engine results and help users find exactly what they’re looking for and fast. Now it has released a Data Highlighter tool that allows site owners to create structured data, currently only for events and only in English. Soon enough it will extend the functions for this tool to other data types and languages.

By using the Data Highlighter on your site, Google will be able to show rich snippets in its search results for your future events, concerts, exhibitions, etc. In other words, if you have a site where you list events such as upcoming concert dates, sports events or exhibitions you can use this great tool to have your events and general info about them listed on Google’s search results page.

Data Highlighter example

The great thing about this new tool is that it’s so easy to use that you don’t have to be tech-savvy to use it on your site. You don’t even need to edit any code. You only have to click, drag and highlight the data fields and name them (for eg. Date, Address, Location, etc).

Getting started with Data Highlighter

To get started, go to Google’s Webmaster Tools and start tagging. Watch this short video that explains exactly what steps you need to follow to get started with Google’s Data Highlighter tool:

Another great thing about this tool is that if you use a specific format to list all your events, Google will crawl your site regularly for new event listing and will automatically add them to its search results. Google says that “5 or 10 manually tagged pages are enough for our sophisticated machine-learning algorithms to understand the other, similar pages on your site.”

However, it also mentions that using the Data Highlighter to add events data does not guarantee that your events will always show up in Google’s search results.

“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,” Google mentions.

All things considered, this should not stop you from using it as it can only benefit your business.

What do you think about Google’s new Data Highlighter tool? Will you be using it for your business?