Owning a website or blog has its own responsibilities. You just can’t upload and forget about it. If you want to run smoothly and successfully, you must need to maintain it on a regular basis. For this, you need to keep a keen eye on its performance. Google offers various tools to collect and analyze data of your website. You would have probably heard of Google Analytics and Google Search Console before.
These both tools are free to use for people maintaining a website. You will get valuable insights about the website using this tool.
Here I will tell you everything you need to know about the new Google Search Console.
Google released its new Search Console beta version on January 8th, one of the most anticipated launches of the year, to all users of the Search Console, after months of comprehensive tests and optimizations. This comes a few months after Google released a beta version to a limited number of users.
Google also said that it would continue to add features to the Search Console throughout the year. Both the old and new versions can be used simultaneously and will be live for all users. Each version is interconnected through a link found in the navigation bar.
Before moving to the features of new Google Search Console, let us know the uses of it.
Google has created Search Console to help all website owners easily track the performance of their sites. Google Search Console account gives valuable insights on the website and you get to know which part of your website needs work.
This could be fixing the crawl errors or giving specific keywords more attention as their rankings or impressions are decreasing.
However, you need to create an account to get started with using Search Console.
Who can use Google Search Console?
Google Search Console (GSC) can be used by anyone with a website, whether they are a newbie, advanced, generalist or specialist. Here is an overview.
- Business owners
Business owners don’t know how to use Search Console but should be aware of it and know the basics. You can hire webmasters or marketing specialists from a digital marketing company. They help you set up the website with Search Console. If you know the basic it would be easier for you to understand how a website works and performing in search results. So you can make important business decisions.
- SEO specialists
Search Console tool is of utmost importance to this group of people. It helps you to monitor website traffic, optimize ranking and make informed decisions about the site’s search results. The information provided by Search Console influences technical decisions for the website and do sophisticated marketing analysis in conjunction with other Google tools like Analytics, Google AdWords, and Google Trends.
- Web Developers
Web development includes creating markup and coding of the website and Search Console helps you monitor and resolve common issues occurring during the process such as errors in structured data.
- App Developers
If you are designing an app, you would want to see how mobile users find your app using Google Search. Search Console helps you integrate your app seamlessly with the website.
Now that we know why and who should use Google Search Console, let us get to know the features the new version has to offer.
Once you have set up the account, you do not need to check data every single day. You will get email notifications, so you will be aware of errors right away. In this section, I will explain about the features of the new version. Sometimes you will have to switch between the new and old version of GSC.
The new version provides verified users access to additional functionalities such as Index coverage, Search performance reports, AMP status, and Job Posting.
It is a technical but most valuable tab within the GSC. This section shows how many pages are indexed since the last update and what errors caused difficulties for Google to index your pages properly. It is advised that you check this tab on a regular basis for errors and warning.
However, you get notifications whenever Google finds a new error, but checking this tab would give you more details about the error. The errors that could appear are, you added a new URL and it is set to no index, the redirect doesn’t work properly, a 404 error occurred while indexing an URL. Clicking on the link will help you analyze and fix the error, once fixed you can mark it as fixed to make sure Google tests it again.
Search Performance Reports
The search performance report is similar to the Search analytics report and allows you to see impressions, CTR, clicks and average position. It provides 16 months of data which gives you a better analysis of long-term trends with a year over year comparison. This report shows how your website performed in Google Search results such as how many times it came up, average position in search results, click through rate and any special features associated with the results. Armed with the data, analysts and webmasters are able to improve their website’s search performance in a better way. By checking the performance tab, you can quickly see what keywords or what pages need more attention and optimization.
Within the performance tab, you can see a list of queries, pages, countries or devices and each of these sections are sorted by a number of clicks, impressions, average CTR and average position. You need to choose what metric you want to see and you can also change how data is grouped. In addition to this, you can filter your data according to your needs by adding a new filter via the “Add New” button. Search performance report also allows you to compare groups by clicking the Compare button.
Accelerated Mobile Pages
The AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) helps identify errors and warnings and fix them related to AMP pages. This not only identifies the issues related to URLs but is a one stop repair shop. It diagnoses the problem while helping you fix it and offers tests that confirm if the AMP URL is valid or not.
Google will crawl and reprocess the affected URLs with higher priority after the issue has been fixed and the best part about AMP is that you can share it with external links. A new feature is also added here aimed at providing positive feedback during the debugging process.
Job postings are new in Google Search Console and are similar to AMP. Within the tab, you will be able to list your job openings and track their performance. If there are any errors, you can see them and fix. This shows statistics for your indexing problems, a way to resolving it and job listing results.
With the new Search Console, Google welcomes feedback as it is vital for improvement.
Google has continued to work towards their goal of producing the best user experience and the new version of Search Console offers tremendous benefits to marketers, webmasters, and search engines optimization companies such as more transparency, streamlined communication and fixes and better support for auxiliary features so that they can stay on top and align their online strategy with Google’s core values.