Meet Google’s latest SEO tool the Data Highlighter. Google has been adding value to underutilized data such as rich snippets and event calendars. This data helps users find your content. Before now using your site’s HTML code has been the sole indicator of structured data to Google. They are making it easier for websites to deploy their data.
Now webmasters have the Data Highlighter, which is only available in English and for structured data about events. Events can be concerts, sporting events, conferences, or festivals. More languages and data types will soon follow in the coming months.
This is a point-and-click tool that authorized webmasters can use within your site in Google Webmaster Tools. This doesn’t change your HTML code, it just uses the mouse to highlight and “tag” each important piece of structured data on an event page of your website. Here is a video from Google displaying how it works.
Since many people list their events in different formats the Data Highlighter can “learn” the format you display events in. When you are applying tags the tool will suggest additional tags. If you have multiple pages of events for say a musician with tour dates. The Data Highlighter will walk you through a process of tagging through example pages so it can learn your format variations. Generally it takes 5 – 10 tagged pages for the algorithms to understand similar pages on your site within your format.
When done tagging you can review samples of the event data that the Data Highlighter now understands. When you’ve made changes and approve you can “Publish” them.
This allows Google to crawl your site and understand your latest event listings then make them available for enhanced search results. Periodically you can inspect the crawled data on the Structured Data Dashboard. If there are mistakes on the results you can “Unpublish” any of the event listings you aren’t happy with.
How does this show up in SERPs?
After you have used the Data Highlighter tool and “Published” your data to Google. Your results will show up under sitelinks as well as location based searches. Now obviously for larger cities or regions you will be competing for those search results based on your relevancy. For broad searches like “things to do in Dallas, Texas” you might not be found if your band is listing a small gig. You would have better luck being found in “live music in Dallas, Texas”.
As you can see below one URL displays their upcoming events in the sitelinks. This is exactly the search result that will give you an edge in the SERPs and help your CTR.
If your website goals are related to events and location you should quickly jump on this tool. As more data and languages are added to the Data Highlighter expect this tool help leverage your data in many other useful ways. Remember you are still competing versus other regions so including specific locales to the events will be important. Get out and start playing with this tool to get comfortable so you are able to recognize opportunities to get more data crawled by Google.
Learn more about Google tools for your website visit us at Eric Wagner Marketing.
Thumb credits: Jeroen van Oostrom