Adding structured data to your product pages can help increase click through rates and drive additional traffic and sales by creating more eye-catching search results and allowing your site to display in new areas of the SERPs, like Google Knowledge Graph panels. With structured data, you can tell the engines the price, availability, category, color, review ratings and other details for each product, information which is displays as rich snippets in your organic listings.
To add structured data, you typically must work with a developer to mark up the various elements of each product page using Schema.org vocabulary. Most developers know how to implement structured data and can easily do it. But we all know that developers are busy and don't always appreciate the seemingly never-ending requests made by us SEOs. Fortunately, Google has provided a handy little tool in Search Console that lets us do all the markup ourselves, sparing us from having to beg, bribe, plead and grovel on hands and knees (er, I mean, ask with the utmost professional courtesy, knowing it will be reciprocated) to get it added. Lucky us!
This magical, sanity- and pride-saving tool is called Data Highlighter. It's been around for a while, since 2013 in fact, but I've found that few ecommerce websites are utilizing it. I'd like to change that! Here are details on using Google's Data Highlighter to tag your ecommerce product pages.
How to Get Started with Data Highlighter?
Once you're logged into Search Console, click on "Search Appearance" from the left sidebar menu, then click "Data Highlighter. Now, find the blue button that encourages you to "Start Highlighting."
Which Product Page Should You Tag?
Any page will do, as long as your site is structured in such as way that Google can easily distinguish similar layouts across pages. If this is the case, you can pick any individual product page, and Google will replicate tags across all similar sets of pages. If Google can't distinguish similar layouts, you may have to tag pages one-by-one. Obviously, this isn't an option for sites with hundreds, thousands, heck even tens of products. So, I recommend starting first with sets.
Select "Tag this page and others like it," enter a product page URL and select "Products" from the drop down.
If Google doesn't recognize any similar pages, it may be that some CSS and/or JS is being blocked by your Robots.txt file. Unblock the pages, allow Google to recrawl then try again.
What Data Can You Highlight?
A handful of properties are available (and a few are required) in Data Highlighter:
- Name (required)
- Price (required)
- Product ID
- Average Rating
- Review Text
- Review Rating
- Review Date
How Do You Tag Pages?
It couldn't be simpler, really. Click on the various product elements--name, price, image, review rating, etc.--and Google does a pretty good job of capturing the relevant data, which will be highlighted in yellow. Click and drag to select an entire word or phrase if Google doesn't get it right. Then select the appropriate tag from the drop down that appears. And that's about does it!
Double check what was tagged in the right side bar, and clean up anything that's not correct. If everything looks good, click Done.
What Else Do You Need to Know?
- If you have an email pop up that appears every time a page loads, you may not be able to use it. The pop up often blocks the page elements you must tag. You can try turning it off long enough to highlight the pages, then turn it back on.
- If your page layout changes significantly, you'll want to delete all pages and sets, and re-tag with the new format.
- Data Highlighter is a Google tool. To provide this data to Bing and other engines, you'll need to butter up those developers.
- The information you can tag is pretty basic. To organize more detailed data, such as size, similar or related products, weight, release data, etc., you'll again need those devs.
- It's not just for products though. If you have a blog, brick-and-mortar locations and/or list events on your site, you can tag these as well.
And there you have it! No additional resources or loads of time needed. It really couldn't get much simpler to get the foundational structured data elements you want on your ecommerce site with Google's Data Highlighter. Give it a try yourself today!