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How to use Google Data Highlighter, part 2

In part two of Ryan Boudreaux's introduction to the Google Data Highlighter tool, he shows you how to create both single- and multiple-page sets of data tagging to spice up your search results display.

In part one of this two-part introduction to Google Data Highlighter, I gave you an overview of how you can use this web tool to tag certain data types included in your web pages, which allows Google search results to present the data in new and exciting ways. In part two, I will actually show you how to creating page sets and tag specific areas of either your individual pages or multiple pages using the Google Data Highlighter.

I will provide a step-by-step tutorial demonstration for both a single page set and a multiple page set, using the local business data type and event data. The demonstration website is a restaurant named The Vine, which is a sample page I created just for the demo.

Creating page sets

Before you start with creating page sets, you need to test to make sure that your robots.txt and sitemap.xml files are updated and running error free. The configuration for all of the page sets takes place in the Google Webmaster Tools, and you will need to make sure that Google can access and crawl your website so that the data can get picked up by the Data Highlighter. If you need assistance with either of these two important files, then check out the Google resources for creating or troubleshooting your robots.txt file and sitemap.xml file. Google uses a site verification process to include your website in the Webmaster Tools list for your Google account, so make sure the websites you want to have included in the Data Highlighter have been verified.

The instructions for creating single  and multiple page sets differ slightly, but I'll go over both. The single page set will handle events or products from one web page, while a multiple page set can handle up to 500,000 web pages of events and products.

Single page set

Single page sets are easy to set up from the Google Webmaster Tools dashboard. For this demonstration, I will use a sample webpage that I have control over within the Google Webmaster Tools Dashboard. (It is my resume page; I am only using this page because it is one that I can access through the tools.)

  1. In Google Webmaster Tools, click the verified site that you want to work in.
  2. Next, click Optimization.
  3. Next, click Data Highlighter (see Figure B):
  4. You will see the introductory page. Click Start Highlighting on the left as shown in Figure C:
  5. Identify the page by entering the URL of a typical page on your site as shown in Figure D. You can also select to tag this and other pages like it or you can tag just that page.
  6. Then you can select the type of information to highlight based on the data types that are available as shown in Figure E:
  7. Once you select the data type, click OK. Note: If Google Data Handler cannot find your website URL, it may be due to a robots.txt file or sitemap.xml file error, or Google is unable to crawl your website for other reasons. Or, it could be that you entered a URL that does not exist. Check out the information for other Data Highlighter Troubleshooting and issues.
  8. Next, we will teach the Data Highlighter how the single page displays content and data by tagging the information. The initial Data Highlighter Tagger page displays the Local Business data type. Continue selecting and clicking the type for all required data and any optional data that is available as shown in Figure F.
  9. In this case the name, address and telephone are required data for the local business data type; next, we will tag the address and the telephone as displayed in Figure G:
  10. Of course you can add optional tags to your local business data such as opening hours, category, department name, telephone and opening hours, an image, a URL, ratings and reviews.
  11. Confirm the data is correct in the right sidebar (I am not sure why it is being displayed in the demo page as a two character column of data).
  12. Once you are happy with the data tagging, then you will want to click the Publish button at the top right of the tagger page.
  13. Once the page is loaded from the tagger page you will get directed to the Data Highlighter Overview page, which lists all your highlighted pages with the page set, the data type, the status, the number of pages, and the date and time when it was last modified as shown in Figure H
  14. The new data set will become available to Google once it recrawls your site, and then the new displays will appear as rich snippets on searches, in the Google Knowledge Graph, or in other Google products. Check out the documentation for more information on creating a page set that contains a single page.

Create a multiple page set

The process for tagging multiple pages is quite similar to creating the single page set; the main departure is at the initial highlighting step

  1. Select the URL of the website, and then the radio button for "Tag this page and others like it" as shown in Figure I.
  2. Click OK and you will be taken to the Data Highlighter Tagger page for multiple pages set as shown in Figure J.
  3. Click Next, and then allow the tagger to find all other pages from the page set with similar pages. Once all the other pages are found, proceed to add data tags as shown in Figure K.
  4. Once you are done tagging all your pages, click the Done button to create your multipage, then review and confirm your tagged data in the right sidebar.
  5. Once you are happy with the data, click the Publish button. Check out the documentation for more information on creating a page set that contains multiple pages.

This completes the two part series on the Google Data Highlighter, a new way to tag and highlight data which gives Google a new way of displaying your valuable content. For more resources check out the list provided.

Other resources

About

Ryan has performed in a broad range of technology support roles for electric-generation utilities, including nuclear power plants, and for the telecommunications industry. He has worked in web development for the restaurant industry and the Federal g...

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