Google, after upgrading the interface of Google Ads, is changing the look of Google Search Console as well. Are there any new improvements of the new GSC compared to the old version? What are the new features and how you can make the most out of them? Let’s find out!
Tools that help marketers perform their job more efficiently are developing rapidly day by day. Sometimes it’s hard to keep track of Google an its development of new tools and features. If you want to stay in the picture, you constantly need to educate yourself, try out new things and keep testing. Here, at CoolStránky, testing of new tools is one of our favorite things to do – it enables us to find new ways and opportunities which can help our clients meet their goals, increase the traffic of their website and conversion of products, in other words, their profit.
Google Search Console is an essential and irreplaceable SEO tool which displays search queries, page traffic based on the search query and website indexing. Moreover, it allows you to upload sitemaps of your web and provide many other useful features. The new Google Search Console, apart from its new look, has a few new features you should definitely know about.
The New Google Search Console Change History
September 4, 2018 Google announced that Google Search Console won’t be available in BETA version anymore. They added the functionality to inspect the URL of a website and other manual actions.
August 21, 2018 Google implemented additional features: links report, mobile usability and site management.
January 1, 2018 Google released the beta version of Google Search Console for all users. Available reports: coverage, performance, AMP status.
August 1, 2017 Google released the new Google Search Console to a small set of users for testing.
Inspecting the URL Of A Website
One practical feature, that was missing from the old version of GSC, is the inspection of URL of a website. GSC retrieves the URL in real time which means that the information about the page are up to date, rather than based on the last crawling data in the Google index. You can use the URL Inspection to see if the URL is indexed by Google or whether it’s located in your sitemap. Furthermore, you can see its canonical, date of the last crawl or the referring site. To see all this data, just click on the magnifying glass. You can find it in the left-hand corner of the navigation, in the performance overview, or in the coverage report of each URL.
Hopefully you won’t ever need this, but if Google were to give you a manual penalty, you would get a notification in the main report. In the old version of GSC, this feature was deeply buried in the navigation and was hard to find.
Mobile usability was also part of the old version of GSC, but now it’s got a whole new look. It identifies problems concerning the responsibility of the pages of your website. It also got a new feature – Mobile friendly test – that takes a look at the submitted page and determines whether it’s mobile-friendly or not, identifies the issues and recommends solutions (e.g. text is too small to read, content is wider than screen, clickable elements are too close together).
You can find the summary of internal and external links in the left-hand corner, under the Links tab. Its functionality doesn’t differ much from the old version, apart from the added filter.
New Google Search Console – UX Interface
“The feedback of users played a significant role while creating the UX interface of the new GSC.” can be read on the Google Webmaster Central Blog. And we have to say the User Experience engineers from Google did a remarkable job. Layout of the features is clearer, the navigation is more intuitive and the filter offers a whole new experience.
More Data and Better Filtering
The old GSC displayed data only from the last three months. This inconvenience could be solved by backing up the data in Google Spreadsheets followed by filtering it in OpenRefine and searching for your relevant info. Let’s be honest, this wasn’t really the most practical solution. The new GSC offers data overview over the past 16 months and provides improved filters (several filtering criteria), which gives us more flexibility to get the most out our data.
Another useful change is that Google now reveals how its crawlers think when indexing webpages. Previously, there were available data such us number of indexed pages, crawl errors and 404 pages. But that was it. Now, the coverage overview provides us with more complex data. Google divides pages into four categories – error pages, valid with warnings, valid and excluded pages.
After fixing the pages labeled as errors or warnings, you can submit them for validation and receive feedback from Google, whether they have accepted your fixed pages or not.
Valid indexing status of URLs is the ideal condition we all strive for – exception are the pages we don’t want to be indexed, of course.
We get the most information about the pages labelled as excluded, where we can find the reasons why our pages are not being indexed by Google. Mind that, not all of them are errors. Some were excluded from the index intentionally, e.g. redirection, canonical, etc.
Search Console Help
There’s also a new, more sophisticated and transparent Search Console Help, which answers all your questions about the new GSC.
Not All Functions Are Available Yet
For those who don’t like changes that much or acclimatizing to them takes a bit of a time, Google made the new GSC available along with the old version. You can easily switch between the two by clicking the icon in the left navigation. However, maybe you’ll find yourself missing some of the features you use every day – they’re not available in the new GSC, yet. Google is adding them one by one. After completing the update, Google plans to say farewell to the old version of GSC once and for all.
We’re already using the new Google Search Console and are paying close attention to the upcoming features and changes. We will keep you posted.
Tomáš Lukáč Junior SEO specialist