Google Search Console 2018 Update

Several months ago, Google started rolling out a new beta version of Google Search Console to select users. On January 8th, 2018, it announced on its Webmaster Central Blog this beta version will be released to verified Google Search Console users. This is the biggest update to the Google Search Console tool in over 12 years. Google wants to provide more transparency into its indexing and facilitate better communication between Google and website owners. With these changes, Google aims to help users resolve issues faster, optimizing a website’s presence on Google Search.

New features include:

  • Search Performance report
  • Index Coverage report
  • AMP Status report
  • Job Postings Status report.

Google says it will continue to roll out updates to Search Console throughout the year. Both versions will be live simultaneously until the rollout of the new version is complete.

Search Performance Report

The new Search Performance report aims to improve on the Search Analytics report. Previously, only three months of Search Console data was available. The new report includes 16 months of data. The increase enables users to analyze longer term trends and make year-over-year comparisons. This report shows you clicks, impressions, CTR, and average position. The Search Performance report aggregates all data by site, except when grouping by page or site appearance.

You are now able to filter data by multiple dimensions, including web, image, or video search results. Furthermore, you can segment by query, page, country, device, and search type. This new report enables you to compare data between two exact values in any one group dimension. For example, if you have a mobile and non-mobile version of your site, you are able to compare total searches on your mobile site to mobile searches on your desktop site. Currently, you are only able to compare data in one dimension at a time. Adding a new comparison will remove the existing comparison. Google has stated it will soon make this data available via the Search Console API.

 

Google Search Console Search Performance Report Screenshot

Index Coverage Report

Google has made updates to the Index Status report with the new Index Coverage report. This report shows webmasters  how well Google is indexing URLs from their site. In addition to listing properly indexed URLs, it gives webmasters warnings about indexing issues and explains why Google is not indexing some URLs. Google provides issue tracking functionality that alerts webmasters when it detects new errors and helps monitor the progress of fixes.

Google includes several new features to help facilitate fixing indexing issues.

  1. You are able to click any error URL to bring up page details with links to diagnostic tools to better understand the source of the issue.
  2. Because fixing issues often involves multiple teams, Google has also created a share button to create a sharable link to this report.
  3. After resolving the errors, you are able to validate the fix and resubmit the URL for indexing.
  4. You can use the new sitemap filter over Index Coverage data in order to focus on an exact list of URLs.

Google Search Console Index Coverage Report Screenshot

AMP Status Report

This report aims to help webmasters identify and fix errors preventing AMP pages from appearing in Google Search results. It groups the URLs that have issues by issue. In addition to identifying issues, the AMP Status report helps diagnose the issue and test the AMP URL after fixing. After Identifying the issues, you can notify Google to validate the fix. It will crawl and reprocess the identified sites with a higher priority without having to wait for the regular crawl. This makes the process of resolving issues much quicker.

In addition to identifying errors, this report provides warnings for pages that have potential issues that are still indexed. Google is trying to assist webmasters in addressing issues before being identified as errors. The AMP Status report also helps you watch for error spikes and identify missing AMP pages. Google is providing a share button for this report, as well.

Google Search Console AMP Status Report Screenshot

Job Posting Status Report

Finally, Google has a new Job Posting report for websites that post job listings. It will only be visible if Google finds JobPosting rich results on your site. Currently, it is only available in certain areas. This report shows stats for your site’s job listing results. You can notify Google of any fixes or updates made to these pages and have them revalidated. Spikes in errors or a drop in total items are made easily visible in this report. Like the AMP status report, the Job Status Report provides warnings for pages with potential issues that are still indexed. This is another tool Google is providing webmasters to identify and address issues before they become errors.

Google Search Console Job Postings Status Report Screenshot

Industry Reactions To The Google Search Console Beta

So far, news of the Google Search Console updates has been well received by those in the SEO and webmaster community. Complaints about the 3 months of data have persisted for years. Barry Schwartz and Glenn Gabe are both very excited about 16 months of data.They are likely not alone. Google will be adding this data to the Search Console Search Analytics API within the next few weeks. Aleyda Solis says the level of detail provided in the Index Coverage Report is “pure heaven for technical optimization.” She is also impressed with the Search Performance Report filtering.

It’s important to remember these changes are still in beta. Additional features will be rolling out in the coming months. Some of the tools available in legacy Search Console have not yet made it into the beta. The new features are also not yet in the Search Console API, but they are coming. Barry Schwartz is reporting data in the new Search Console is displaying data a day ahead. Google stresses it values user input and says feedback from users is “critical.” It is requesting that users continue to submit feedback through the feedback feature in the Search Console sidebar.

If you have not yet gained access to the Search Console beta and all it has to offer, don’t worry. Google is emailing users when it is available for their account. Once you gain access and have a chance to look around, don’t forget to share your thoughts. Elliott Ng, the head of this project at Google, is excited to hear them.

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