Tomasz Banas

Google’s Data Highlighter Explained

If you want to improve your on-site SEO, Data Highlighter (DH) may be your answer. This free Google-offered webmaster tool allows you to highlight and tag particular sections of your website and to provide structured data for it. DH lets Google refresh how your search results are displayed and present your tagged sections more attractively as content-rich snippets in searches or in Google Knowledge Graph.

Main Usage

Data Highlighter is primarily used to teach Google about various data types on your website. These can include Books, Articles, Events, Local, Businesses, Movies, Products, Restaurants, Software Applications, and TV episodes. For Google to learn which pages contain information, however, the pages need to be a part of a specific page set that doesn’t have a HTML markup.

Implementation Techniques

So, how do you use Data Highlighter? Here are some steps to start you off:

  • Go to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Locate Data Highlighter under Search Appearance.
  • Click on Start Highlighting.
  • Input the URL of an event page on your website.
  • Highlight the fields you want and name them, when your page appears.
  • Review other pages with highlighted data that is suggested by DH.
  • Click Publish, and you’re done.

Now, Google can apply the pattern to your whole website and display results as snippets.


Here are some examples of content-rich snippets:

  • A single event data-highlighter-example-1
  • Multiple events data-highlighter-example-2
  • Google Knowledge Graph data display data-highlighter-example-3

Tips and Tricks

Following these guidelines will simplicity your DH usage:

  • As you create tags, highlight the desired text completely.
  • Tag each item separately, when tagging multiple items that are next to one another.
  • For multiple-page events, start highlighting your page at the top.
  • Tag page sets consistently and in the same pattern, for instance, location at the top.
  • Highlight all required information.
  • Add missing values from the gear menu to provide defaults for pages with incomplete data.
  • Remember that DH uses a link’s URL for an event, which name is a hypertext link.
  • Before finishing, always ensure you don’t have any alert icons and verify the event numbers.

Reasons for Usage

Why should you jump on the DH band wagon? The answer is simple. First, this tool helps you to provide structured data, thus offering a better user experience. This, in turn, increases your click-through rates, which boosts your exposure and, ultimately, your rankings. Second, it can shorten and simplify your work by erasing or minimizing the need to change your site’s codes, thus saving you money that you’d have to spend on a coding specialist.

So, if you’re still thinking about how DH could enhance your on-site SEO, just stop and give it a try. The benefits of this point-and-click markup will surely be worth your effort. Let us know if you need help.

Founder & CEO

An entrepreneur with an eye for good design and advocate of simplicity. He brings a fresh strategy and approach to every project and plays an integral role in clients’ accomplishments through collaboration and close integration. Through his hands-on experience in technology and marketing, he ensures user experiences and technology are on the leading edge.