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Anyone Using Google's Data Highlighter For Event Listings?


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4 replies to this topic

#1 Mikl

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:42 AM

I wonder if anyone here has any experience of Google's new Data Highlighter tool - or can point me to a site that uses it?

 

As I understand it, the tool has similar aims as rich snippets, but does not require any coding. At present, it can only be used with event-listing sites, such as those that show concerts or sporting events. As far as I know, it is Google-specific.

 

The reason I ask is that I run an event-listing site that might benefit from this tool. But I'm anxious about how much information Google will give away in their search results page. I don't want my potential visitors to get all the information they need from the SERPs, and therefore not have any reason to visit my site.

 

Any advice or info would be welcome.

 

Mike



#2 Alan Perkins

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Posted 17 December 2012 - 07:58 AM

You need to separate inputs and outputs.

 

Historically there have been (to keep it simple) two inputs to Google's search results, these being structured and unstructured data.

 

Once the input is there, it can be used in a number of ways by Google.  Some ways may affect ranking.  Other ways may affect snippets.  These are outputs.  Structured inputs have been shown to have beneficial effects on rich snippets, making the effort of structuring the data worthwhile.

 

With the addition of this new tool, Google has added an input.  The input is roughly equivalent to structured data, but it's not as precise.  If you're capable of marking up your content with schema.org markup, then IMO you should continue to do so.  It's far more accurate.  The highlighter tool may be better if you're not capable of marking up your content, e.g. because you find it too technically difficult or because you use a CMS that does not allow you to edit the code at the level required.  

 

The results (i.e. outputs) of using the data highlighter tool should be roughly equivalent to using schema.org markup - you're modifying the inputs when using the tool. Thus, use of the tool may give similar rich snippets to those available using schema.org markup at present.

 

 

 

The reason I ask is that I run an event-listing site that might benefit from this tool. But I'm anxious about how much information Google will give away in their search results page. I don't want my potential visitors to get all the information they need from the SERPs, and therefore not have any reason to visit my site.

 

 

Typical event results can be seen at

 

http://support.googl...n&answer=164506

 

You should decide if such listings would be beneficial to you.  In my experience, they normally are.


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#3 Mikl

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:15 AM

Thanks for that very helpful answer, Alan.

 

I note your point about schema.org being more accurate. I certainly don't have any problem in incorporating that sort of markup, especially as my event-listing site is generated automatically, using a system which I wrote myself. If I decide to go ahead with this, I would definitely take your advice about using schema.org markup rather than the highlighter.

 

My main concern was that visitors would see all the details of the event on the SERPs, and so not bother to click through to my site. But reading the schema.org specs in detail, I can see how I can control things so that they see just enough to convince them to click through, and no more.

 

I'll probably give it a try as soon as I can grab some time.

 

Mike


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#4 Jill

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Posted 18 December 2012 - 11:23 AM

I just tried it for my upcoming seminar page. It's super easy to use! I can't wait until they come out with it for things other than events. 

 

Will let you know if it works and they show anything different in the SERPs.



#5 Mikl

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Posted 19 December 2012 - 10:29 AM

Thanks, Jill. Once it's had a chance to work its way through the system, I'll do some sample searches for your seminar page to see how it looks.

 

Mike






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