Latest Google Console Updates – Stuff you need to know

The what you need to know about Google Search Console and it's updates

By Noman Kenneth, 19 February 2019


Google Search Console updates seem to be hitting webmasters and SEOs from all directions recently and in the ever-evolving world of SEO, things sometimes get a little confusing.

And so, we thought it’ll be helpful to summarise them on the one page.

What’s the new Search Console getting?

Google is taking the opportunity to review the reports and the tools that are available to users and be more in line with what the evolving SEO environment requires.

After a few nuggets of information on what is going to be migrated to the new version, Google has finally clarified what is going to happen.

Here’s a list of Google’s plans as they stand.

Performance

The Performance Report was one of the first few things to the launched in the beta version of Search Console. The biggest change in the performance report is was the extension of the date range from 3 months of data to 16 months of data.

The Performance report offers click, impression, CTR, and average ranking metrics at a page, query, country, and device level and replaces Search Analytics.

Index Coverage Report

Index Coverage Report was launched alongside the new Google Search Console built on the previous Crawl Error and Index Status reports. The new Index Coverage provides site level insights covering crawling and indexing issues while reporting issues such as 404 pages, pages blocked by robots.txt, pages marked as noindex and trends on indexed pages. It goes some way towards cutting down on the use of external crawlers such as ScreamingFrog, the information provided can be seen quickly in a readable format, unlike the spreadsheet that you get from ScreamingFrog.

URL Inspection

The URL inspection tool provides detailed URL reports for URLs, including the ability to test live URLs, check rendered pages; detect page resources that couldn’t be loaded and JS errors and as such, allows webmasters and SEOs to debug more granularly. It replaces fetch as Google, crawl errors and block resources section of the old GSC.

Staying Put

Some of the tools are staying just as they are and getting a design overhaul and renamed.

The links to your site and internal links get renamed to Links and Sitemaps reports become Sitemaps while Accelerated Mobile Pages become AMP status and Security Issues becomes Security Issues Report; however Mobile usability stays as it is.

Going Forever

HTML Improvements is a modest report that indicated on page issues as well as issues regarding title tags and Meta descriptions.

It’s been culled because Google recognised that there are many other tools that do a better job at identifying SEO issues concerning title tags, meta description and non-indexed URLs.

Property Sets

SEOs use property sets to group individual properties into one property, such as the variations of HTTPS, HTTP, www and non www domains. It’s being scrapped because according to Google, not a lot of people actually use it. However, Google has an experimental feature called Domain Properties which is invite only… Sorry!

It does provide a much more in-depth view of the domain and negates the need to create separate HTTPS, HTTP, www and non www properties in GSC so it’ll be useful if it gets rolled out to the masses.

Android Apps

GSC delivered the ability to monitor the visibility of apps in Google’s index. You could create an app as a property in Search Console and fetch as Google for apps.

It’s being discarded because App Indexing is taken care of by Firebase, and so there is no need for the functionality to be present in Google Search Console anymore.

Jury’s out

There’s a number of tools which still have their future in the balance so we are yet to see how they will be addressed in Google Search Console.

  • Crawl Stats data (pages crawled per day, KB downloaded per day, page download times)
  • Robots.txt tester
  • Managing URL parameters in Google Search
  • International targeting (managing hreflang tags or setting a preferred target country)
  • Data highlighter tool
  • Reading and managing your messages
  • Change of address tool
  • Setting preferred domain
  • Associating your Search Console property with an Analytics property
  • Disavow links
  • Removing outdated content from the index
  • Blocked resources report
  • Structured data report

We’ve found a number of these tools helpful especially structured data report, data highlighter tool and disavow links.

Google is actively asking for feedback from its users so it might turn out that some of the tools from the list above get to stay and are improved.

We'll see what the future holds! 

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