It can be a complicated process to implement schema.org structured data markup and ensure that it is done properly. With all of the nuances that come along with structured data markup, and the fact that even proper implementation does not guarantee rich snippets; your ability to identify any issues can be quite limited. However, Google provides a few tools that can be used to help you with implementation and testing. We explore these tools below, but remember, even with proper implementation, rich snippets may not show for your results.
The Search Engine Result Pages (SERPs) are getting crowded. Thanks to product listing ads, videos, images, and social media results crowding out the traditional organic results, it’s more important than ever to help your pages stand out from the crowd.
Enter Rich Snippets.
Rich Snippets are the result of properly implemented structured data markup. By marking up your page data, you show the search engines – and enable them to show users – some of the most important information on your pages. For a product, this could be customer ratings and reviews, the price and/or available sizes. For a recipe, you might include reviews, cook time or even calories per serving.
In the past we have covered the value of utilizing rich snippets which present search engine users with more detailed information about what is contained on the page before they click through to it. If you are unfamiliar with what rich snippets are, or the possible benefits from using them, take a look at two of our blog posts that cover the subject:
Now that you are familiar with rich snippets, it’s important to keep up to date with resources and tools that can make you or your web team more efficient. It is in this interest that Google has released the Data Highlighter Tool. This tool allows you to tag the data fields on your website using a mouse and does not require any coding. Currently, only event data is able to be marked up using the Data Highlighter, but Google says that more data types will be supported soon!
Event data that can be marked up includes:
Additionally, it is important to note that the data highlighter can only be used on pages that have been recently crawled by their spider Googlebot. One easy way to see if the page has been crawled is to check to see if Google has a recent cached version of the page. This can be accomplished by:
For example – cache:www.example.com/page-1
If Google has a recently crawled and cached version of the page, the page will load with a box near the top that looks similar to the following screen grab:
This tool will be expanded by Google in the near future to support more types of structured data, but if you are more eager to learn about it now, visit the Google’s Data Highlighter page here: http://support.google.com/webmasters/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=2692911&topic=2692946&ctx=topic
Do you see this as being an easier or more efficient way to mark up the structured data of your website? A more detailed post on how to use Google’s Data Highlighter will follow this one, so check back with our SEO blog to learn more.