Google Data Highlighter Tool: Still Functional but with Limitations
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Google Data Highlighter Tool: Still Functional but with Limitations

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In the ever-evolving landscape of SEO and web optimization, Google’s Data Highlighter Tool, a feature introduced in 2012, stands as a testament to enduring utility, albeit with notable caveats. This tool, designed to assist webmasters in improving their site’s understanding by search engines, continues to function today. However, its relevance and ease of use have come under scrutiny.

John Mueller of Google, in a recent discussion on Mastodon, highlighted a shift in the digital terrain. The advent of numerous plugins that automate similar tasks has rendered the Data Highlighter less convenient than its contemporary counterparts. Despite this, the tool’s generated markup remains valid and is still recognized by Google Search.

Yet, there’s a twist in the tale. Ryan Levering from Google points out that not all schema types used by the Data Highlighter are actively involved in Google Search’s visual features. Some haven’t been updated to support newer feature requirements, suggesting a partial obsolescence.

While the tool offers a basic level of functionality, Levering expresses hope for an upgrade to match the capabilities of direct markup methods. The latter, as Mueller notes, provides more control, making it a preferred choice for webmasters.

The New SEO Center‘s report suggests that while the Data Highlighter Tool is a viable option, its utility is overshadowed by the advantages of direct markup. Markup offers more control and is more in tune with the current requirements of Google Search’s evolving algorithms. This shift indicates a preference in the SEO community towards more direct and controlled methods of website optimization.

In conclusion, while Google’s Data Highlighter Tool is operational, its diminished ease of use and partial feature support present significant caveats, nudging users towards more modern, automated solutions.