Updates: The New Google Search Console
Google is even more data-oriented these days then it was in the past. This is evidenced by such things as a move towards machine-learning with the RankBrain algorithm.
Another way the search engine giant processes and presents search data is with Google Search Console (GSC) – the place where webmasters can go to tap into detailed, personalized reports based on real Google searches.
But with change comes the opportunity for bugs, glitches, and potential fixes….
The first hint of planned changes to Search Console came in August, 2017 with new index coverage and AMP issues reports, although the official announcement of GSC updates came in early 2018. As with anything Google-related, there can be some confusion when changes are made.
On September 4th, 2018 Google officially released the new Google Search Console from beta. Don’t be alarmed though you will still be able to access the classic version of GSC until Google says other wise.
To help you out, here’s a rundown of what’s going on with the new and improved Google Search Console.
You Get 16 Months of Data
At one time, getting the useful comparison data I needed for clients involved aggregating data via an automated script. This is why one of the GSC reports I’m most excited about is being able to access 16-months worth of data with the Search Performance report. Thus updated report also allows you to:
- View clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position
- Filter by web, image, or video search results
- Segment by query, page, country, or device type
An issue appears only for “Queries not containing” Filter
More comparison models and filter controls practically eliminate the need to export the data to draw reports from. Also, query-filtered results no longer include anonymous queries.
Data Comparison Loading Issues
On the 28th of August 2018 it was stated by Chase Alyeshmerni in SEO Signal Labs that if you filter the search performance report by comparable dates you get a never ending load screen. However, this is only displaying for the chart while the rest of the data tables do propagate.
In-Depth Google Index Coverage
The Index Coverage Report in GSC is definitely something you’ll want to check regularly. It shows URLs that are properly indexed and provides indexing issue warnings. You also get useful insights about why some of URLs aren’t being indexed by Google. The indexing portion of Search Console is also the go-to place for error reports and diagnostic and troubleshooting tools you can directly access.
Great addition to the index coverage reporting. So simple, but will save you tons of time. There are now icons that show up for “inspect url” & “visit url in new tab” right from the reporting. I wasted so much time having to copy & paste urls from the reporting. This is great. ~ Glenn Gabe
Since Google is all about mobile-first these days, it’s not surprising that one of the new GSC updates involves more insights and support to help correct mobile issues. You’ll get details about things like text that’s too small to read or situations where clickable elements are too close together.
Internal Links Report
Links can positively and negatively impact your website at any given moment. With the Internal Links Report in GSC, you’ll be able to see how much “SEO power” is being passed through your internal links. You can view both internal and external link status.
One of the things I noticed when trying to understand how the new linking section functions is that the informational/help icon doesn’t display anything for any of the sections. In fact, it gives you this error message “Oops! We can’t seem to find the help you’re looking for.”
URL Inspection Tool
The URL Inspection Tool is especially prominent in the new GSC because, let’s face it, it’s not good to ignore issues with URLs for too long. If you are having issues with a certain URL, this tool will present the following info:
• Whether or not the page was successfully indexed
• Last crawl date (and the status when this crawl was performed/attempted)
• Indexing errors and the canonical URL for the page
• When the page was last successfully crawled (if the last crawl attempt was unsuccessful)
• AMP and structured data errors
• Indexing issues
If you are having difficulty with rankings, indexing, and/or crawling of a url the index coverage details will tell you how they access a URL, when the last time they crawled a URL, and whether the page was successfully fetched or not.
AMP Status Updates
If you use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMPs) to create and distribute mobile-friendly content, I’d recommend checking the AMP Status Report in GSC. It shows any errors and warnings that apply to AMP URLs. You can even fix and test the issues to make sure the AMP URL is valid.
Much like what happened with the big mobile-first switch, Google is rolling out updates to its Search Console in stages. Granted, they do this to make it easier to digest changes. Even so, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s going on with GSC – or anything related to the many other updates Google makes on a regular basis.
Keep checking back here on a regular basis and I’ll keep up to date on what’s going with Google Search Console and other SEO and digital marketing topics. Also, feel free to comment below in regards to any changes you see that are not mentioned above. I will be happy to source you in this article.