Data Highlighter Tagging Now Available in Google Webmaster Tools

As many of us plunder through the new changes that come to our stores regularly, none has been as big an advancement as structured data and Google's data highlighting. While the markup can be a real challenge with our dynamic websites, we have been making progress in the implementation of rich snippets for your Zen Cart here.

While this progress is going quite well, Google has been challenged to pick up all of the data correctly, entirely and only on product pages. To this end, we now see that Google recently launched a new tool in webmaster tools to help us help tag them!

The data highlighter now has a way to tag your pages manually and create a "set" for Google to understand them all most of them without having to make edits to your Zen Cart. While I am certain the site edits are more effective, I actually recommend you do both. My reasoning is quite simple, number 1 if you have any errors they will become apparent during the tagging process.... and number 2, more is better =)

To get started login to Google webmaster tools and click "Optimization", then "Data Highlighter" from the left hand menu. Once here you will likely need to locate the "Get Started" button if you have never used the tool before. This will produce the box below.

data highlighting Data Highlighter Tagging Now Available in Google Webmaster Tools

Make sure you enter the full product url FIRST like http://domain.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=9&products_id=86

**Much to my dismay, https:// links are not accepted. I certainly hope Google fixes this quickly as it is quite short sighted for products! I told them here, maybe you should tell them as well.

Once you click "OK" it will take a little while to process, go get some coffee and come back to it in a bit.

Now you will setup an example url so that Google knows the product pages. When asked for the url parameters you will enter the following.

index.php?main_page=product_info*

Exactly like that, including the *

Then the cool part, Google will show you several example pages and ask you to tag them with common data elements such as image, price, etc. This is the part where you may discover some issues with your page's markup!

Pages that are not indexed in Google cannot be tagged, but if you correctly create the set for your dynamic product pages then they will find them anyhow. If you are rewriting your urls and cannot get a common parameter to dynamically tag your product pages... well, we have been telling you NOT to rewrite your urls for years. It's old out of date (1997) SEO and it only hurts your in speed,  response load and now this really cool tool to help you rank that you cannot use!

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