The New Google Search Console Updates: What You Need to Know

Posted on 30 Aug 2017   |   Filed under Marketing, SEO

The New Google Search Console Updates: What You Need to Know

By Alison Freeman

Google announced earlier this month that they are working on a beta of the new Google Search Console and shared some new reports of what they might offer new users.

In its official Google Webmaster Central Blog, the search engine revealed the redesign will include the adding of two new features including an Index Coverage Report and AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) fixing flow report.

The Index Coverage Report will show webmasters which pages have been indexed by Google and why some could not be indexed. It will offer advice on how to fix these issues and a 'simple sitemap submission flow' to make it possible to filter all Index Coverage data to any of the submitted sitemaps.

The AMP fixing flow report will show the current AMP issues and how they are impacting the ability of some sites to show your AMP content in search. The new report will allow you to investigate and fix the issue and then verify the fix so Google can recrawl the affected pages.

The new Search Engine Console reports have been rolled out over the past few weeks to a 'small set of users'.

Google Webmaster Tools

Until now, Google Search Console, formally Google Webmaster Tools, has allowed users to submit and check a sitemap, check the crawl rate, and view statistics about when Googlebot accesses the site, write and check a robots.txt file to help discover pages that are blocked in robots.txt accidentally.

It also allows you to download a list of links to your site, see which keyword searches on Google led to the site being listed in the SERPs (which is especially useful for SEO after Google largely stopped a similar function showing this data in Google Analytics), and view the click through rates of these listings. (Previously named 'Search Queries'; rebranded May 20, 2015 to 'Search Analytics' with extended filter possibilities for devices, search types and date periods).

Furthermore, you can set a 'preferred domain' which establishes how the site URL is displayed in search engine results pages, set international targeting, check mobile usability and choose to demote sitelinks for certain search results. Google will also send you a notification if you have received any manual penalties, so you can take action when required. 

Redesign

As part of the redesign, Google hopes to offer 'more actionable insights' by grouping the identified issues by what the search engine suspects is the common 'root-cause' to help users find where to fix any code issues. It will then enable you to track the progress of reprocessing the affected pages.

Google also plans to offer 'better support of organisational workflow' whereby they will introduce sharing functionality which allows the user to pick up an actionable item and share it with other members of your group - such as web developers.

The search engine also wishes to bring 'faster feedback loops between you and Google' so users can check on fixes quickly and more effectively rather than waiting on Google to crawl the site only to inform you the problem is still not fixed - a feature which will most welcomed by SEO practitoners. Google says 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'.

If you are interested in finding more about how to use Google Search Console as part of a wider SEO strategy, contact one of our team at SCS Marketing & PR on +44 (0) 1252 621 293 or email info@scsmarketingandpr.co.uk 

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