Exploring the New Google Search Console
Last month, Google started to roll out their new and improved Google Search Console platform. The main purpose behind the update was to help users explore a simplified process of optimising a website’s presence on Google Search. Whilst the new Search Console is still in beta and is ever evolving, we’ve gone on and taken a look at the platform and its capabilities. Take a look at our findings, below…
When you first visit the new Google Search Console platform, you’re presented with an overview on Performance, Index Coverage and Enhancements – This is very similar to the existing GSC Dashboard, except it’s not at all clear where to access your messages, how to navigate to other areas of the console, and the overview of sitemaps has been removed. Having said that, once you click into the Performance or Index Coverage report, you immediately have access to a lot more information – the presentation of which is very slick and clean.
Performance Report – Previously Search Analytics
When taking a look at the first report covering Site Performance, we immediately see one very big improvement that could prove invaluable to search marketers. Whilst Search Console was always quite restricted when it came to the data available (the date range was always restricted to a maximum of three months), you can now look at search data from up to the past 16 months. You can also still find all of the same data available within the old platform, including information on clicks, impressions, CTR and average position, as well as queries, pages, countries, devices and search type. You can also filter by multiple variables at once, allowing for comparisons which were not previously possible. All in all, not a whole lot has changed – but the increased date range and multiple variable possibilities will definitely be beneficial going forward.
Index Coverage Report – Previously Index Status and Crawl Errors (now combined)
The new Index Coverage report appears to be an amalgamation of the existing Index Status and Crawl Error reports from the old platform. We can now see how well our site is being indexed by Google as well as any errors that have arisen and the reason behind them, all on the one screen. You can also filter these errors / pages by all known pages, all submitted pages or just pages within your sitemap. You can also overlay impressions on top of site errors, as well as choosing to compare all errors with pages which are valid but have associated warnings, completely valid pages which are not showing in your sitemap, and pages which have been excluded.
This report is restricted to the past three months only, unlike the Performance report. However, this shouldn’t be an issue if you’re regularly checking and keeping on top of your website errors. A great thing about the improved platform is that you can click on an error to view all pages affected by an error. Once amended, you can validate your fix and – instead of waiting for Google to recrawl your website and confirm the fix, which could take some time – you can proactively request that Google’s index is updated accordingly. Google have stated that they will “then crawl and reprocess the affected URLs with a higher priority, helping your site to get back on track faster than ever”.
From the main GSC dashboard, you can also click through to Sitemaps – a section which allows you to submit a new sitemap for your website, and take a look at submitted sitemaps as well as any associated errors. This section is very similar to the existing Search Console setup and again is very easy to use.
What’s Next for the Google Search Console?
That’s pretty much it for the new Search Console, so far. There are a lot of areas within the existing GSC platform which haven’t been included within the update. However, as mentioned earlier in this blog, this platform is still under construction. As Google have stated, the new Search Console was rebuilt from the ground up and so the remaining elements will also need to be rebuilt before being added to the updated version. These elements are still accessible within the older version, however, as mentioned within the Google Webmaster Blog: “We started by adding some of the most popular functionality in the new Search Console (which can now be used in your day-to-day flow of addressing these topics). We are not done yet, so over the course of the year the new Search Console (beta) will continue to add functionality from the classic Search Console. Until the new Search Console is complete, both versions will live side-by-side and will be easily interconnected via links in the navigation bar, so you can use both.”.
So, we’ll be keeping an eye on the goings on within Google Search Console… will you? Let us know what you think of the new platform, we’d love to hear from you.