What Is Google Search Console?
Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tools, is an online tool that allows webmasters to check the indexing status and gather insights to optimize websites. The tool allows webmasters to gain an understanding of how Google is viewing their digital assets. Webmasters can then use that data to make adjustments that will improve the performance of the website in search results.
Originally launched in 2005, with just four report options, Google Search Console has expanded exponentially to include more than twenty-four reports and tools that offer a variety of information about a site. The primary goal of the Search Console is to help webmasters improve their search performance.
Redesigning For Better Data
After a re-brand in 2015 from Google Webmaster Tools to Google Search Console, the experts at Google determined that it was time for an update to more than just the name. There were a variety of updates to already existing tools in the Search Console, including:
Issues grouped by the likely root-cause
Ability to share action items when diagnosing and fixing issues
On-the-spot testing to speed up fix acknowledgment
Search preview to confirm fixes
These updates were based on discussions with a number of organizations. Google worked to understand how webmasters were using the tool and then optimized it for maximum efficiency on the user side.
New Features In Search Console
In addition to the updates, Google introduced two entirely new features to the Search Console.
The Index Coverage report provides webmasters with a count of the indexed pages, as well as a guide to fixing indexing issues. It also enables a sitemap submission flow that is able to filter all of the data into any sitemap that has been submitted.
This tool will not only allow webmasters to gain better insights regarding what pages of a site could not be indexed and why but also allow them to fix problems more efficiently and update the index more quickly.
The AMP fixing flow includes an error report with pages grouped by the root-cause with a button to verify fixes and direct Google to re-crawl the affected pages.
AMP, or accelerated mobile pages, were the next big thing in SEO in 2016. The goal of this specific HTML5 coding was to create rich content that was mobile optimized but compatible with all platforms and devices. The median load time for AMP-coded content was .7 seconds, while non-AMP coded content loaded in about 22 seconds, or in Google AMP product manager, Rudy Galfi's, words “the time it takes for you to leave [a] site and never come back.”
The AMP fixing flow in Search Console will help webmasters identify and solve issues in their AMP-coded pages to ensure fast load times and high-quality user experience.
Now Available To All Search Console Users
Now that the test of the beta version is complete, the new Search Console will be applied to existing accounts. It will live side-by-side with the old version until the new Search Console is finished.
What Does This Mean For Webmasters?
This new Search Console design will allow for more seamless integration of the features, including improved ability to analyze search performance, index coverage, AMP status, and job posting reports. It will also include sixteen months of data, allowing a deeper analysis of long-term trends. The experts at Google have simplified the process of getting actionable insights from the Search Console, making SEO easier and more effective for webmasters.
For more on the expanded release of new Search Console, check out the Official Google Webmaster Central Blog announcement.
If you're interested in seeing what these actionable insights could mean for your website's search performance, contact FiG Advertising + Marketing, Denver's leading SEO agency.