Take a look around. Have you noticed something different about Google Search Console? Believe it or not, it’s been “rebuilt from the ground up” (source). Although a limited number of beta testers have been enjoying the revamped service for months, Google finally released it to the general public earlier this year, announcing the change on January 8, 2018. It’s been unveiled gradually to select groups of users, but in the past few weeks, all users have been able to gain access to it. To better understand this update, its implications, its current offerings, and what’s to come, keep reading.
Before we delve into the specifics of the update, let’s review what Search Console is and why you might wish to use it.
What is Search Console?
Search Console is a free service that Google provides to anyone with a website, helping them monitor and maintain their website’s presence on Google’s search results pages.
Why do people use it?
Search Console is an invaluable tool for anyone who wants to understand or improve their website’s relationship with Google. Using the program, you can perform all of the following tasks:
- See how Google views your website
- Optimize your website to improve your performance on Google’s search results pages
- Submit new content for Google’s spiders to crawl
- Hide content from Google’s spiders, removing it from search results
- Resolve issues that are hurting your website’s performance on Google
- See which search queries are resulting in more traffic to your website
- View and adjust how your website appears in rich search results
- See how your site performs in mobile searches
Who should use it?
If you have a website and you’re interested in its performance on search engines, you should use Search Console. This includes business owners, SEO specialists, marketers, site administrators, web developers, app developers, bloggers, and more.
How do I use it?
The New Google Search Console
So what’s going on with the new Google Search Console? Google claims that they have simplified the optimization process for websites. They have added some of the most popular functions to this new program, and the rest will appear throughout 2018. Plus, the new Google Search Console boasts a clean, streamlined interface that should make it easier than ever for users to interact with the program. Until all of the functions are available, the old Search Console will continue to exist. You can easily hop between the two with the interconnected links in the navigation bar.
What’s new? In the words of a Google webmaster, they began the revamped Search Console by “surfacing the most actionable insights and creating an interaction model which guides you through the process of fixing any pending issues.” After that, they “added the ability to share reports within your own organization in order to simplify internal collaboration.”
You’ll notice changes in the following reports:
- Search Performance: This is the most impressive and powerful update in the new Search Console, fixing many of the previous report’s limitations. In this enhanced report, you’ll find more data than before: 16 months of data, to be exact. The data includes more in-depth information, like clicks, impressions, CTRs, average ranking position, and current position. With 16 months of back-dated data, you can view lengthier long-term trends and perform year-over-year comparisons. In addition to the extra information, you can now filter by multiple variables at a time (like search type, query, page, country, and device) when viewing data.
- Index Coverage: With the new-and-improved Index Coverage report, which combines the old Index Status and Crawl Errors reports, you will receive insight regarding Google’s indexing of your site’s URLs. You can check that your URLs are being indexed correctly, learn why some URLs are not being indexed, and receive warnings about potential issues. The system utilizes a new “issue tracking functionality,” which lets you know when issues arise and helps you fix them. Finally, you can request that Google updates its index after you’ve remedied an issue on your site.
- AMP Status: When errors prevent your accelerated mobile pages (AMPs) from appearing in search results with AMP-specific features, the AMP status report notifies you of the issue and helps you fix it. The new Google Search Console improves issue tracking, speeds up feedback after an issue is fixed, provides positive feedback during the fix process, and allows website owners to validate recently repaired URLs.
- Job Posting: With this report, you can monitor how your site’s JobPosting-rich results are faring on Google for Jobs. You can check that they’re being processed properly and notify Google of fixes and updates. Like the AMP Status report, the new Google Search Console improves issue tracking, speeds up feedback after an issue is fixed, provides positive feedback during the fix process, and allows website owners to validate recently repaired URLs.
As Search Engine Watch notes, the new program is still missing some important reports and features. Although these reports may look different than before in the new Search Console or come in a different package, they will likely be added to the service over the course of the year. They include the following:
- Structured data report
- Rich cards report
- Link report (with internal links and links to your website)
- International targeting report (to target an audience based on language and country)
- Mobile usability report
Overall, the new Google Search Console is being greeted as an improvement over its predecessor. Formerly tight-lipped regarding some search performance data, Google is now opening up and embracing transparency. They’re releasing a greater amount of data that is easy to access, easy to analyze, and straight from the source. In addition, finding and fixing website errors is now far easier than it once was, and website owners can immediately request validation after remedying an issue.
But what do you think of the new Google Search Console? Have you noticed a big difference? Do you think it helps you monitor your website’s success on the search engine?
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