3 min read

Data Highlighter Vs. Schema Mark Up – Which is best to use?

You may have heard there are numerous ways you can implement structured data to your website. By adding schema code to your site directly, using the Data Highlighter in Google Search Console and even by using Google Tag Manager. You’re now asking yourself, which method should I use? It’s completely up to you but here are some pros and cons of using both Data Highlighter and implementing Schema code, from an SEO perspective. For those interested in schema, we have a more in depth insight into how schema can affect your website.

Pro’s of Data Highlighter

  • Great to use if you do not have access to the website code
  • Quick and easy to do if you have no time or budget
  • It’s a tool offered by Google and accessible within Search Console
  • Perfect to use if your only optimising for Google as it’s so quick and easy to do

Con’s of Data Highlighter

  • Other search engines such as Bing do not pick this up. Only works on Google
  • You are limited by the choice of properties you can mark up. For example, you cannot mark up reviews, people, and organisations. The only elements you can mark up are articles, restaurants, movies, events, products, TV episodes, local business, software applications and books

Data Highlighter is perfect for you if you are just optimising for Google and do not have much time, resource or access to the code you need to mark up. Simply go to your Google Search Console, enter the URL of the page you wish to mark up and get tagging.

data highlighter ithinkmedia

Here is a quick step-by-step guide to help you get started.

  1. Open GSC and go to data highlighter under search appearance
  2. Select ‘Start Highlighting’. A URL box will open, simply enter the page URL you wish to mark up
  3. Using the drop down menu, select the schema type you are going to mark up (You can solely mark up this page or enter numerous URLs that it be the same on
  4. Start highlighting elements such as name, product description, author, contact details etc.
  5. Check everything you have marked up in the right hand navigation and click publish!

Pro’s of Schema Mark Up

  • Accessible on all search engines so great if your not just optimising for Google
  • There are different formats you can upload schema data in. (Using Mircodata or JSON-LD, RDFa)
  • It provides the search engine with more detail to what the page is about and what it contains
  • It can generate rich snippets for things such as Address, Reviews, Video
  • Range of schemas available to use. Reviews, organisation and product are just a few

Here is an example of review schema by Holland & Barratt displaying review and product schema:

schema mark up example Honchō

Con’s of Schema Mark Up

  • It can be confusing writing and implementing the code in the correct place

You can view the list of Schemas here, which will provide you examples of the different codes.

Schema mark up is for you if you’re not just focusing on Google but Bing also. Great for marking up product info and reviews, which will encourage rich snippets to be pulled through into the SERPs.

Schema mark up is going to become increasingly essential over the next few years with voice search developing. Google may become reliant on it to quickly gather information without having to crawl your site for it. Check out Barry Adams post on The Future of the Web; Websites as Data Sources.

What do Honchō recommend using?

Schema Mark Up.

We would recommend implementing schema mark up because it can produce rich snippets which help search engines better understand your website. Even if these rich snippets aren’t triggered, the search engine will have a much better understanding what’s on the page. Schema mark up also helps search engine users as you can see the mark up being displayed in the search results. If your site is marked up with schema, you’re more likely to rank higher in the SERPs. A study by Search Metrics showed a site with schema mark up will rank an average of 4 positions higher than a site without.


If you need any help with implementing schema mark up then do get in touch with our team of in-house SEO experts who would be delighted to train you through the process or implement themselves on your behalf. 

2019 Update

As of 3rd June 2019 Google has announced the beta of Rich Results Tester for mobile and desktop. This is a great way to check your rich results validity, since the dawn of mobile first indexing. Google will continue to develop this in the coming months.

Find out more about Rich Results and visual search here

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