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New Features in Google Search Console

Google Search Console has long been an important tool for any SEO or site owner, helping users to monitor traffic, rankings and search queries, identify crawling, index and usability errors, and view their site through Google’s eyes. The new Search Console is currently in the beta stage as Google continue to redesign and streamline their product.

Currently those who have been using the new Google Search Console often find themselves needing to switch between old and new versions to be able to access all of the information they require. Whilst this switching between versions may continue until the new Search Console has complete functionality, the addition of 3 new features in the past week allow the user to access a lot more information in this new version.

Still not seeing your favourite reports in the new Search Console? Don’t worry, Google have said that they are working on gradually moving across popular features and have reassuringly mentioned that they will move across anything that they think is relevant. However, they have indicated that there will be some changes in the reports that we will see in the new version, stating that not all reports will be made available in the new Search Console. This does not mean that the data will not be accessible, but it may be in a new format, such as combined with another report, to achieve a more streamlined and efficient set of reports.

The most recent 3 features to be added are the Links Report, Mobile Usability Report, and Site and User Management.

Link Report

The link report provides information about the external links to the site and internal links within the site. In the new Search Console this data is presented in the form of one signle Links report, combining two reports from old Search Console (‘Links to your site’ and ‘Internal Links’).

The new report contains the same information as the previous two reports, and is split into External and Internal Links:

External:

  • Top linked pages (used to be Your most linked content)
  • Top linking sites (used to be Who links the most)
  • Top linking text (used to be How your data is linked)

Internal:

  • Top linked pages (used to be Internal Links report)

You can then click through to each of these sections to gain more in-depth information and help you answer questions such as:

Which are my top linked pages from a specific site? What are the links from a specific site to my page? Which internal pages are linking to a specific page? etc.

Do be aware that there may be discrepancies in the numbers shown in the new link report compared to the ‘Links to you site’ report. Google has said in their help documentation that this is due to the data being more accurate and reported in a more secure way. Therefore, a drop in values does not indicate a reduction in links to your site but is simply a more accurate representation of the true data.

Mobile Usability Report –

Regularly checking the Mobile Usability Report is more important than ever now, as Google has made it clear that the mobile usability of a site has a large influence on its ranking score. In addition, as more and more users are viewing webpages on mobile devices, the mobile usability report helps site owners to identify issues these users might face.

Once these issues have been detected, similarly to the old report in Search Console, Google provides recommendations for how to fix these issues, providing links to useful documentation, and the effected page for live testing. Another new feature that has been added to this report, is the ability to ‘Validate Fix’. This simply lets Google know that you have fixed the issue and sends a reindexing request. This is a feature that can be seen across several reports on the new Search Console and is one of the key benefits of the new version compared to the old one.

Site and User Management –

As with the old Search Console, you now have the ability to verify new sites as well as edit the users and permissions for your properties. There is now a new Settings page linked to in the left-hand sidebar that allows you to edit the ownership verification settings as well as the user and permissions.

Currently, of the five verification methods (HTML file, HTML tag, Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager and DNS), only DNS is not currently available on the new Search Console, however, Google has said that this is to be added soon.

Whilst the new Search Console is still waiting for the integration of some features, the addition of the new reports and settings page will reduce the need to switch back to the old version as regularly. The streamlined reports and the additional ability to Validate Fixes give us an insight into how the new version may look once the migration is complete; more efficient, more accurate and more helpful for site owners. We’ll be excited waiting to see what features will be added next!

If you would like any more information about how to get the best from Google Search Console, get in touch with the experts at Varn today.