Semantic enhancements and structured data on websites helps to improve your SEO. Usually you use Microformats, Microdata and RDFa/Lite for it but you (or your developers) have to learn the syntax markup and vocabularies first. Now, Google added the Data Highlighter to the webmaster tools: a point-and-click tool that helps you to “show Google patterns of structured data on your website without modifying your pages.”
Google loves structured data because they use it to get more information about your content, better understanding of you content could improve your ranking in search engines. Google pushed a lot of initiatives to invite website owners to create more structured data:
All these initiatives depends on webmasters and developers who are able to add special markup to their pages. The Data Highlighter now “improves” that process because you can use a point-and-click tool to describe your actual content, no markup additions are necessary.
This makes things easier but could harm the web ecosystem because if you use the Data Highlighter to describe your content then only Google knows this description. This may help you to rank your site better in Google but it puts you in a situation with strong dependencies on Google. No other search engine provider like Bing, Yahoo or Yandex can use that structured information, no other indepentent tool can see those semantic enhancements. Second, if you change your site structure and markup you need to perform the Data Highlighter tool again on your website, even if it still contains the same data.
Test and use the Data Highlighter (be aware: it currently only works with events! Do not define your shop items as events :) ), use it to learn what Structured Data is and how it can help to improve your business, but please don’t rely only on this tool. Learn how to add structured data and semantic enhancements directly to your website (or just pay someone who knows how to do it), long term this will perform better.
PubwichFork is a PHP web application that aggregates your latest Social Web & Social Media content across multiple service websites (e.g. your Twitter stream or Flickr photos), and it renders one single website featuring all your content. You can create your own themes, add new services (or just use the built-in services) and it is possible to add filters on data streams. I already wrote about PubwichFork earlier here.