What is Google’s Data Highlighter?
Google officially released its Data Highlighter through Webmaster Tools in 2012. Essentially, it teaches Google about your site’s patterns of structured data – which in turn provides more opportunities for your data to be highlighted through different mediums and SERPs.
When the Data Highlighter was first released, it offered a way to highlight specific data referring to current events. Since the release of this tool, Google has been adding more and more features that allow you to define an ever-widening spectrum of non-text features on your website.
What kind of data does the Data Highlighter support?
The data highlighter now offers support for a wide spectrum of data types, including:
- Local Businesses
- TV Episodes
- Software Applications
The data highlighter allows you to input information about any of these types of data on your site directly into Webmaster Tools – without having to change or update your code or anything else on your website.
The tool itself is also very simple to use, it is literally a click and point application – it allows you to choose what type of data you are looking to highlight, and where it appears on your site.
Why should you use the Data Highlighter for SEO?
As different varieties of SERPS multiply and divide across different device types and applications – the use of this tool becomes a simple and necessary way to submit your data so that it can be displayed in a multitude of ways through a variety of applications. The use of the data highlighter for product pages, for example, can allow your individual products and product pages to be aggregated and appear in competitive search results along with reviews of the product, pricing, and whether or not the product is currently in stock.
Any tools that we can utilize to efficiently deliver diversified data to Google’s engine can only assist in the searchability – and therefore the search rankings – of a site. It is in a search engine’s best interest to deliver the best search results to its users – therefore it is our best interest to hand-deliver those results to Google, using the tools they provide us to do so.