Google Search Console Updates: What They Are and What They Do

By January 23, 2018 No Comments
google search console updates

On January 8th, Google announced the beta release of the new Google Search Console updates. Though the introduction is gradual, Search Console users can expect to see new functionality in the coming weeks. The new modules include Search Performance, Index Coverage, AMP status, and Job Posting reports, which give users new insights into how their webpages are understood, displayed, and used by Google.  

Since at least July, a select group of beta testers used the Google Search Console updates. As usual, Google refined the new Search Console around user feedback, implementing a number of new functions webmasters have been waiting for. For now, the original Search Console (previously Webmaster Tools) will live alongside the new version, a click away using the navigation menu.

Here’s a rundown of what the Google Search Console updates are and what they can do.

The Google Search Console Updates And How To Use Them

Search Performance Report

google search console updates

The new Search Performance Report

google search console updates

The original Search Analytics Report

The Search Performance Report builds from the existing Search Analytics report. Though much of the data remains the same, a few key advantages make the Search Performance Report a powerful evolution.

New Features

  • 16 months of data available (originally a 90 day limit)
  • Cleaner design, easier to read
  • Easier to utilize multiple results filters

What It Does

This Google Search Console update allows you to compare traffic month to month over a much longer time period, something webmasters have pined for. With over a year of results, it’s easier to analyze seasonal changes, see how site overhauls impact long-term site performance, or analyze growth throughout the year.

Individual analysis by query, page, country, device, and search type remains, and the new layout makes it easier to apply multiple filters, such as traffic from multiple countries or from two different devices. With this, you can aggregate the most meaningful data into one report, or filter specific data sets.

Index Coverage Report

The Index Coverage Report evolves from the Index Status report. The changes here are more significant, making the tool much easier to use and allowing you to see what Google sees in greater detail.

google search console update index coverage report

The new Index Coverage Report

google search console updates index status report

The original Index Status Report

New Features

  • See types of issues including error, warnings, valid, and excluded
  • See explanations of statuses
  • Fix issues more intuitively
  • Validate fixes
  • Share problems with other users

What It Does

Three big advantages stand out on the new Index Coverage Report. The first is the ability to analyze site problems in more detail. Instead of categorizing pages as either indexed or blocked, the new version states index status in four categories, and provides explanations.

Fixing site problems is also much easier. By simply clicking the issue, the user can see how to potentially fix the problem, and then quickly validate the fix instead of waiting for the next crawl. Applying these fixes can improve the quality of your site and improve your SEO. 

Third, the ability to share the problem with other users allows teams to work together easily, a convenient change for teams involved in site management.  

The AMP Status Report

The AMP Status Report is relatively new, with the only the Mobile Usability report sharing functionality in the previous version. Besides measuring whether a site is mobile-friendly, the AMP Status Report measures whether it is optimized for mobile devices. The AMP Status Report focuses on expanding and creating Accelerated Mobile Pages, which perform significantly better on mobile devices than other pages.

New Features

  • New ability to measure AMP pages
  • See and fix problems affecting mobile functionality
  • Optimize pages for mobile display
  • Validate AMP page fixes
  • Share issues with other users

What It Does

The AMP Status Report looks similar to the Index Status Report, except it measures the validity of AMP pages. Separated into errors, warnings, and valid pages, you can easily optimize your site for mobile users. Like the Index Status Report, you can drill down on these issues and see how to fix them, and prioritize pages marked with errors. Also like the Index Status Report, you can validate the fix to see if it worked, and share the problem with other users to help fix it.

The AMP Status Report reflects Google’s ongoing push towards optimal mobile functionality. With more than 60% of searches now mobile, the AMP Status Report is proof of Google prioritizing mobile searches. It’s not just about making regular web pages mobile-friendly, but about making dedicated pages that perform better on mobile devices. The ultimate takeaway is this: ignoring mobile search data now means ignoring a majority of users.

Job Posting Report

google search console update jobs posting report

Google job postings

The Job Posting Report reflects Google’s move into the online job-finding industry. Recently partnering with Monster, Facebook, CareerBuilder, LinkedIn, and Glassdoor, Google announced their Google for Jobs initiative in July, and now has dedicated search results just for local job listings (above). The Job Posting Report makes this easier for employers, telling them if any of their listings have problems and how to fix them.

New Features

  • Completely new functionality focused on job posting
  • Display job on specialized Google job listings
  • Show issues and fixes for job postings
  • Share the problem with other users
  • Validate the fix

What It Does

The Job Posting Report makes it easy to post employment opportunities online. Once the pages are valid, they will go directly to applicable job searches in a specialized results format. Similar to the AMP Status Report, the greatest effect of the Job Postings Report is the compelling evidence of a developing digital trend; more and more job-seekers are online.

If you haven’t seen the Google Search Console Updates yet, you will soon. The rollout is gradual, and Google encourages users to point out bugs and offer opinions about improvements, things they enjoy, or what they would like to see next. Undoubtedly, this already powerful tool is poised to become an even more important part of web usability, functionality, and SEO.

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