Data Highlighter Feature – Google Webmaster Tools

Cynthia CloskeyGeneral

If you’ve searched a site recently on Google, you may have noticed information about events or services appear to the right of your primary search results, or in expanded search results.  These are Google snippets, and they are created by setting structured data in Google Webmaster tools.  Google has simplified the process of creating snippets with their point-and-click tool, Data Highlighter. This service is free to use and is a great way to optimize your organic search results with Google.

Verify Your Site

  1. Sign into google.com/webmasters
  2. Click “Add a Site”
  3. Verify your site, if you can, with the recommended method, or use one of the alternative methods listed.

Set Up Data Highlighter

  1. From Webmaster Tools home, click the URL for the site you just verified.  Your Dashboard will open and a menu of options will appear on the right.
  2. Expand the “Search Appearance” options and then click on “Data Highlighter”.  
    Google Webmasters Tools Dashboard

    Google Webmasters Tools Dashboard

  3. Click the “Start Highlighting” button and paste in the URL where your structured data appears.
  4. The Data Highlighter walks you through the steps of highlighting and tagging your data.
  5. After publishing your page set, the data will not be available in search until Google recrawls your site. 

Client Example

Lean Learning Center offers courses about Lean principles, rules, and concepts.  When we redesigned their site, we created a page for each course they offered, which included structured data like course name, date, location, cost, and a link to registration.  We used  Data Highlighter to identify and tag their curriculum event information and present it as data snippets in their Google search results.