The new Google Search Console – one of the most anticipated launches of the year (so far) – is rolling out for all verified users, after months of comprehensive tests and optimizations. This comes a few months after Google released a beta version to a limited number of users.
Within the coming weeks, all verified users will have access to the new Search Console, allowing them to benefit from the new Search Performance, Index Coverage, AMP status and Job Posting reports.
Search Performance Report
The Performance report shows important metrics about how your site performs in Google Search results, such as how often it comes up, average position in search results, click through rate and any special features associated with your results. Analysts will be able to use this information to improve their site’s search performance.
For example, with the improved performance report, you’ll be able to see how your search traffic changes over time, where it’s coming from, and what search queries are most likely to show your site.
You can also learn which queries are made on smartphones, and use this to improve your mobile targeting AND see which pages have the highest (and lowest) click-through rate from Google search results.
How to view the Performance Report
The default view of the report shows the number of clicks on your pages in Google Search results, for the past three months.
You can choose what metrics you want to see (impressions, clicks etc.) by selecting one or more metrics to show in the report.
You can also change how data are grouped – choosing between page country, query – by selecting a property tab. Also, you can filter your data according to your needs by adding a new filter via the “Add New” button. You can filter data by multiple dimensions. For example, if you are currently grouping data by query, you can add the filters “country=’USA’ AND device=’Mobile'”.
The Performance Report also allows you to compare groups by clicking the Compare button. For example, you’ll be able to compare clicks from the US, to clicks from Canada. You can compare data between two exact values in any one grouping dimension, whether or not it is the currently selected grouping.
Index Coverage Report
The new Index Coverage report will show the count of indexed pages, information about why some pages could not be indexed, along with example pages and tips on how to fix indexing issues.
In addition to this, the improved report will enable a simple sitemap submission flow, plus the capability to filter all Index Coverage data to any of the submitted sitemaps.
So how does that work?
- When you drill down into a specific issue you will see a sample of URLs from your site. Clicking on error URLs brings up the page details with links to diagnostic-tools that help you understand what is the source of the problem.
- Fixing Search issues often involves multiple teams within a company. Giving the right people access to information about the current status, or about issues that have come up there, is critical to improving an implementation quickly. Now, within most reports in the new Search Console, you can do that with the share button on top of the report which will create a shareable link to the report. Once things are resolved, you can disable sharing just as easily.
- The new Search Console can also help you confirm that you’ve resolved an issue, and help us to update our index accordingly. To do this, select a flagged issue, and click validate fix. Google will then crawl and reprocess the affected URLs with a higher priority, helping your site to get back on track faster than ever.
- The Index Coverage report works best for sites that submit sitemap files. Sitemap files are a great way to let search engines know about new and updated URLs. Once you’ve submitted a sitemap file, you can now use the sitemap filter over the Index Coverage data, so that you’re able to focus on an exact list of URLs.
Search Enhancements: AMP and Job Postings
The new AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) fixing experience starts with the AMP Issues report, which will create a more friendly environment for webmasters and a faster feedback.
This report shows the current AMP issues affecting your site, grouped by the underlying error. Users will be able to dive deeper into an issue to get more details, including sample affected pages.
Users will have the option to verify their fix after resolving an underlying issue as simple as pressing the Validate button, which will have Google the pages affected by that issue. In turn, Google will notify you of the progress of the recrawl and will update the report as your fixes are validated. If the page doesn’t pass the test, Google provides you with an immediate notification.
Google also added a new feature, aimed at providing positive feedback during the”debugging” process by expanding the validation log with a list of URLs that were identified as fixed (in addition to URLs that failed the validation or might still be pending).
Similar to the AMP report, the new Search Console will also provide a Job postings report. If you have jobs listings on your website, you may be eligible to have those shown directly through Google for Jobs (although for now it’s only available in some locations).
Until the new search console will be fully integrated with the old one, both will continue to exist concomitantly, the updated version being available through a link in the navigation bar.
“The new Search Console was rebuilt from the ground up by surfacing the most actionable insights and creating an interaction model which guides you through the process of fixing any pending issues. We’ve also added ability to share reports within your own organization in order to simplify internal collaboration.”
Google claims that the new platform will provide an increased transparency into Google’s indexing, creating a more powerful two-way communication between Google and website owners, in order to solve issues faster.
Summary for the new Search Console
The new Search Console will provide more actionable insights, grouping identified issues by what it suspects to be the common “root-cause”, in order to help users identify where they should fix their code.
“We organize these issues into tasks that have a state (similar to bug tracking systems) so you can easily see whether the issue is still open, whether Google has detected your fix, and track the progress of re-processing the affected pages”.
Better Support of the organizational workflow
Google is introducing a sharing functionality that allows users to pick-up an action item, and share it with other people in the group, such as developers who will get references to the code in question.
Faster feedback loops between the webmasters and Google
Google built a mechanism to allow webmasters to iterate quickly on their fixes, so that they won’t waste time waiting for Google to recrawl their site, only to find out that it’s not yet fixed.
“Rather, we’ll (Google) provide on-the-spot testing of fixes and are automatically speeding up crawling once we see things are ok. Similarly, the testing tools will include code snippets and a search preview – so you can quickly see where your issues are, confirm you’ve fixed them, and see how the pages will look on Search”.