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Issues with Google Data Highlighter

3:42 pm on Apr 29, 2017 (gmt 0)

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joined:May 11, 2012
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I been running tests on my shopping cart using Google Data Highlighter in Google Webmaster Tools.

I figured this tool just used rich snippets to access data it wants to spot but the rich snippet tests I run show no problem with my site. BUT the data highlighter tool constantly has issues.

For one of these scans I am asking to highlight articles or posts at /blog/.

I highlight the title, the author, the category, the image, etc. I ask to scan similar pages. Next page it attepts, it immediately spots the title, author, image, etc... but doesn't see the post date. Strange. So again I remind the highlighter of where to see the post date. Scan another blog post. This time it's confused about the title, and it shows nothing. Again I remind the highlighter tool of where to find the posts' title. Fourth try at scanning blog posts and this time, where it's suppose to show the blog's title, it's showing the blog's main article (the actual article itself) and it can't find the post's date at all.

My question, how does Google Data Highlighter look for these elements? Does it look for a particular spot on the page for the author or a particular spot for the data or is there formatting involved? Is there a page that explains proper source code for highlighting the author's name, the post title, the image, etc? I noticed in my blog's source code, near the bottom of the post where the post date was, it says:

Post on May 10, 2012<span class="by-author"> by John Doe</span>.

A few things. #1 is span class the elements that Google data higher looks for? Second, for the author should it not be:

by <span class="by-author">John Doe</span> since "by" is not necessary to be in HIS name?

Also it just says "Post on May 10, 2012" but isn't there a correct span for this such as

Post on <span class="date">May 10, 2012</span>

Again I can't find a data highlighter 101 article on what needs to be highlighter in code, how to highlight, etc.

I notice similar problems scanning other url types such as PRODUCTS

The data highlighter can't find the name, the product image, the product's price, product id, nothing. So I I highlight it all. Again re scan another product page, doesn't seem too bad. I see no immediate issues. Think maybe it got it. Re scan a third attempt, now it completely misses the product's price (doesn't see it). So I remind highlighter tool of where it is. Try again, fourth attempt at scanning a product page and this time, it scans a random page on my site (not a product page, just a random page like about us). Isn't there something on the page that tells Google that THIS page is a product page? I mean, why when I ask to scan product urls why would it scan a normal "about us" page? So that is confusing. Then 5th try, using another actual product url, all looks good. So I try for, on last time, for a 6th time to see if the data highlighter can understand my product page and this time it confuses the product title with keywords! omg

Trying to understand how highligher tool works. What it looks for. Maybe I need to update my product page template and/or blog post template and properly code each element so that highlighter immediately sees the product title, pricing, post title, etc. Just looking for some advice.