The New Google Search Console
The first week of September 2018 saw Google roll out an update to Google Search Console, taking the previous Beta version of the system into a full roll out. This follows the recent launch of Google Ads, replacing Adwords, and also the rebranding of the Google Marketing Platform.
Google has spent the majority of the last 12 months redeveloping and rebranding its free to use platforms, with a focus on making functionality easier to understand and provide a greater depth of data to end users.
What’s new in Google Search Console?
At a basic level Google Search Console allows webmasters, business owners and marketing managers monitor their search presence through data provided by the search engine. This includes numbers of indexed pages, clicks/impressions and any errors Google search crawlers have highlighted in the website.
These staples of the system have been maintained, but data is available for a longer period than the previous 90 days – now offering all data from the previous 16 months, allowing you to get a much deep understanding of website health over a longer period of time.
Further, queries Google expects to be ‘rare’ have been removed – currently causing a fluctuation in data from August 19th.
New features in Google Search Console
There a number of new features which will be hugely beneficial to SEO agencies, business owners and marketing managers.
The Index Coverage Report will provide you with details of pages that are showing errors and will provide individual details of errors and related URLs.
Each report will also include an insight to the errors and where changes need to be made.
A very powerful tool added to the system is the Manual Actions report – this will tell you if your website is being held back from a manual penalty, including through links, bad on-page content or technical elements.
This offers a fantastic benefit if you feel you’re doing everything right, but still not ranking. Google will tell you reasons for URLs, pages or even why your entire website is not ranking in search results pages, or if rankings have been penalised for some reason.
Further, the addition of a URL inspection tool now lets you inspect the live version of a webpage, to allow for the debugging of issues and highlighting any problems which could be apparent in a page you are trying to rank. Previously this would have had to have been done using a previously indexed version of a web page.
So, what does the new Search Console mean?
In most cases, information is just cleaner and functionality improved. However, Google has said further enhancements to the system will be added over time. So, watch this space.
What this does point to however, is an expected update to the Google Analytics interface being on the horizon.