What we once knew as the Google Webmaster Tool has since rebranded itself to Google Search Console… and with it comes to some rather impressive algorithm updates, Google SEO tools, new internal features, and even services which aim to optimize websites performance and organic presence – on both a macro and micro level.
And when it comes to establishing and maintaining an online presence, all SEO experts know that fully optimizing a website, all its pages, a blog, and the written content for search is not a job for the faint-hearted!
The good news is that with the right tools, you can make a seemingly technical and complicated job feel easier, and consequently become more successful in appearing in search results.
Here’s What To Keep An Eye Out For
Sometimes new technology like mega-powered smartphones and automated marketing technology fall short of their promises. When it comes to Google’s Search Console, let’s consider the factors before jumping to an opinion.
It all starts with understanding the new Google Search Console’s dimensions and metrics… then, adding relevant site(s) to this, followed by setting up owners, users, and permissions. Once those preliminary steps are all crossed off the checklist, then its finally time to submit a site map, add filters, and ultimately learn how to use up to 23 of its new cases.
To put all of this into clearer detail, keep reading to see the new Google Search Console features
1. Search Performance Report and URL Inspection tool
As of March 2019, Google changed how the new search console performance reports counted its metrics, and where it formerly used the exact URL to search for specific words (or phrases) in indexed content — now, it will use the canonical URL for reporting. And while many aspects of SEO such as headings, meta descriptions, and link building are pretty straightforward – canonicalization can actually be a tad challenging.
Canonical URL or canonical tags appearing in the HTML head of your page informs search engines when there are multiple versions of the same piece of content at different URLs. What ends up happening here is this prevents duplicate content penalties, or instead it gives credit to the original material.
Duplicate content is ubiquitous in e-commerce, especially when a customer is looking at similar products or services with the same info appearing in multiple URLs. The problem only worsens from a business perspective when users start linking to the different versions of the same content, which in turn, hurts the rankings of a website long term. This ends up happening because search engines don’t know which URL to show in the search results. However, what the new Search Performance Report and URL inspection tool will do is begin to assign search metrics to the canonical URL, and inspect individual web pages within a website to provide you with the information you need to unify your data… which, in the end, can only work in your favor.
And if for whatever reason you have a single web page accessible by multiple URLs, or different pages with similar content, the search console will not only let you know whether your URL(s) is on the Google Index… it is also a tool that tells you about your content’s performance not only in SERPs but also provides you with information about coverage and mobile usage.
Since it’s no secret that the vast majority of modern day web surfers are now on mobile devices, creating content with mobile-friendliness in mind is a must for any e-commerce marketing strategy. Tying this in with the above, the goal here is to set mobile-specific URLs such as accelerated mobile page (AMP) or a mobile-specific subdomain from your standard website. (You can also cater your content to your viewers based upon where they live, just by using the region or country-specific URL geotargeting.)
Additionally, by adding a regional slug or subdomain, you will need to include the canonical tag for region-specific pages – especially if the on-page content is the same and in the same language to ensure that they point back to the master version of the page. official URL can help your site perform well in search results.
2. Index Coverage Status
With this tool, you can check which of your Live pages have been indexed, and then learn what you can do to fix those that aren’t.
As you’re probably aware by now, Google and web crawlers are constantly scouring the Internet for new content and new websites, so having your page indexed is not only a critical part of a website’s Internet search engine ranking… but it’s also important for page content value, because new pages with any significant amounts of information added to a webpage are noted and scored by Google.
Additionally, web pages are indexed by Google’s bots that crawl over them then create a cached copy of each page – and if you want more organic search traffic to your site, then you need search engines to keep re-indexing your site. Unfortunately, the common mistakes like meta tag or keyword stuffing will get you penalized, and even get your site kicked out of the index altogether without question. Therefore, a frequent and efficient crawl rate will improve your performance in search results
3. AMP Status Reporting
The Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is a Google-sponsored initiative that – since its inception 2015 – has garnered additional support from Bing, Baidu, Twitter, Pinterest, and more, all with the sole goal to render web content instantly on mobile devices.
This free, open-source framework consists of HTML, JS, and cache libraries including specific extensions and AMP-focused properties which allows marketers to create mobile pages that deliver the content quickly – even if they feature robust content like high-resolution info-graphics, PDFs, even audio or videos.
Having said that, here’s one question to consider: do you know how your website’s AMP traffic is doing?
See, AMP may not necessarily be a ranking factor, but keeping your audience engaged and happy usually means Google is pleased and may contribute back to you with higher rankings and clicks. What’s challenging though is that tracking from AMP is not as easy as one might expect, but if your goal is to drive more organic traffic and yield revenue in Google Analytics, it’s crucial to set up the specific AMP analytics tool to help you track and improve engagement (beyond the standard bounce and exit rates).
While AMP will not magically increase engagement or SERP on its own, it still has the potential to make your visitors – and Google – very happy. As a reward for keeping an active watch over this, your site will get higher rankings, bring in more traffic, and increase revenue.
4. Job Posting Status Report
If you are an employer or running a job content website, adding job posting structured data to your job posting pages will not only improve your audience’s job seeking experience – it will also allow your postings to become eligible to appear in a unique user experience in Google Enriched Search results. This can be exciting because this will feature your logo, reviews, ratings, and job details. If you can leverage this, you are more likely to attract more motivated, qualified applicants who are looking for specific employment positions since the job posting tool will allow job seekers to filter their choices by various criteria: such as region availability, industry, or job title. As a result, more eligible employees will have a new and separate platform so they can interact with your job postings and click through to your site.
You can also monitor performance in search to determine how well (or how poorly) job seekers on your site are interacting with your job posting. Additionally, you can also track impressions after a user is directed from the job page to your site by using UTM parameters with Google Analytics… an important thing to remember here is before you can have a job posting web page, you first must be eligible to appear in the Google job search experience.
Adjusting To The New Google Search Console
Over the years, it’s safe to say we got pretty comfortable to the features of the old version of the Google Webmaster Tool, only to be introduced to the latest developments of the new version of Search Console.
While Google does plan to migrate some of its old features, not all tools and reports will be moved into the new console. However, don’t close the book on Google or get into a panic just yet, because until the end of March you can still toggle between the two versions. Google is also helping users out with the adjustment as it has published a helpful post with detailed info clarifying the migration.
An Added Bonus
Of course, Google didn’t hold back on adding some new tools to make our ranking efforts more efficient – and hopefully more fruitful. So in addition to all of the above-mentioned changes, the new Google Search Console has the following SEO tools:
- It is super mobile-friendly and will even make suggestions to you such as using legible font sizes, sizing content to the viewport, sizing tap targets correctly, and more, so you can fully optimize your site for mobile devices with a little help from Google.
- The new console is still user-friendly and even consists up to 16-months of organic search traffic data. Plus, it has detailed info available about a specific webpage such as index coverage, canonical URL, mobile usability, and more.
- A Keyword Tool will be integrated that offers more than 750 keywords (long-tail) suggestions in the search results.
- The new search console’s tracking flow tool will allow you to monitor, request a re-crawl of pages, and fix affected pages by crawling errors.
- It has new and improved performance reports along with new inspection tools.
Should We Buy Into The Hype?
Google’s Search Console is on its way to innovating search engine platforms even more so these can be more user-friendly, adaptive, and provide a more efficient experience across the board.
However, it’s worth mentioning that Google will be phasing out many of its old features that many of us have become very comfortable with. And as a way to unify all search metrics for a singular piece of content into a single URL, Google has decided that the Performance report data will be consolidated to canonical URLs.
While all of these changes can seem intimidating right now, the new updates appear to be very promising from both a personal and professional perspective. Either way, Google’s users should start getting comfortable with all of these changes sooner than later… because as of March 2019, Google will be completely phasing out the old version of Search Console – and this is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019.