You’re making a big mistake if you manage a website without the assistance of Google Search Console. Not only is this handy service free to use, but also it helps you succeed in Google Search by providing tools that allow you to monitor and maintain your search engine optimization (SEO) and repair any issues that arise. When Google first revamped this service in early 2018, we wrote a blog post about “The New Google Search Console” – but of course nothing is new forever. Recent updates are changing the way webmasters use the program, and you don’t want to miss out on these newfangled features.
Updates to Search Console
Review Snippet Reports and Test
In case you weren’t aware, a review snippet is “a short excerpt of a review or a rating from a review website, usually an average of the combined rating scores from many reviewers.” One of the most popular types of structured data, review snippets can appear directly in search results or in knowledge panels.
If you’ve implemented review/rating structured data on your site (or you’re planning to make use of this function), you’ll appreciate the recent updates to Search Console. Earlier this week, Google announced three new tools relating to review snippets:
- Review Snippet Enhancement Report: If you’ve implemented review/rating structured data, you can use the new enhancement report. It displays errors, warnings, and valid pages for markup implemented on your site. If you need to fix any issues, this report will walk you through the process. Additionally, if you troubleshoot an issue, you can use this report to validate it, which will prompt Google’s spiders to recrawl the affected pages.
- Review Snippet Performance Report: If you’ve implemented review/rating structured data, the performance report will show you how well the review snippets are performing. You can view the marked-up pages using the “Review Snippet” filter and then analyze their performances, including their impressions, clicks, and click-through rates (CTRs).
- Review Snippet in Rich Results Test: If you want to test your implemented review/rating structured data, you can do that with the Rich Results Test. You can test a code snippet or submit an existing URL for evaluation.
Fresher Data on Search Performance Report
According to Google, improved data freshness was the #1 request from users prior to its implementation in September 2019. The Performance report helps you understand how your site is faring on Google Search, including statistics regarding your traffic, your top search queries, your top content, your audience, and more. In the past, the newest data users could see on the report came from the previous few days. Now, you can see data that’s less than a day old! This allows you to check the previous day’s data first thing in the morning, which can be especially important following holidays and major events. It’s also a great way to check that your traffic has rebounded after a site repair.
The announcement included two other updates as well:
- The timezone of data is now clearly communicated.
- A new “Dates” table feature makes it easy to explore and export your performance over time.
More Comprehensive Index Coverage Report
As of December 2019, Search Console’s Index Coverage report now features more accurate reporting. If you weren’t aware, the report displays the indexing state of all URLs on your site that Google has visited or tried to visit. According to Google, some pages previously marked “Crawled – currently not indexed” actually were indexed. With this new update, the report should accurately show whether a page has been indexed or not, which will help webmasters understand the health of their websites.
Improvements to the Messaging System
Google often sends users messages to notify them of issues, updates, and opportunities for improvement. In December 2019, Google introduced several changes to the messaging system within Search Console:
- You can now access the messages panel through the bell icon at the top of the page in Search Console. You won’t need to leave your reports to view your messages; your messages will be available no matter where you are within Search Console.
- The bell icon now has a tiny notifications icon that displays the number of new messages in your inbox. From the panel, you can mark one or more message as “read” to clear out clutter.
- Messages are now categorized into different types, including Coverage, Enhancement, and Performance, amongst others. This makes it easier to organize your to-do list and decide which messages to open next.
- You can now access all messages sent to your site, including old messages. This is especially beneficial if you’ve recently gained access to a site and you wish to see the messages the site received in the past. However, the message panel only displays messages sent from May 23, 2019 onward. You can view older messages in your personal e-mail or within the legacy message list.
If you’ve ever wondered how Google views your website, how you can improve your SERP performance, and which issues are dragging your website down in the rankings, Search Console can help. To get started, simply sign up. Whether you’re a business owner, a marketer, a site administrator, or a web developer, you can benefit from this substantial (and shockingly free) service.
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