After nearly six months of limited beta testing, Google is now in the process of rolling out access to the new Search Console experience to all users. There is no way to fast-track your access, so unless you have already received an email message from Google, you will have to wait until they do migrate your site to the new Search Console.
As noted in the message example above, Google haven’t simply added new functionality to the old Search Console. Instead it is a fully redesigned Search Console, and it introduces multiple new tools and analytics that site owners and SEO professionals have long asked for.
While you wait to be given access to the new Search Console, you can explore some of these features below.
Expanded Search Performance
Arguably the biggest limitation of the original Search Console was the inability to view more than the 90-days worth of data. While not a serious problem for smaller sites with low traffic volumes, it did make long-term analysis more difficult for SEOs and most site operators.
In broad terms, the Performance report is very similar to the Search Analytics Report on the existing Search Console. The design – and how you select which metrics to display – has changed, but the types of metrics, and how the data is displayed or filtered is still very much the same.
With the exception of the date range.
The new Search Console now allows you to view up to 16-months worth of data, making it a lot easier to identify long-term trends, or do a year-on-year comparative analysis.
More Detailed Index Coverage Reports
The Index Coverage Status report is a significant enhancement – and consolidation – of the Google Index and Crawl sections of the current Search Console. The Index Coverage Report provides you with a more detailed view of indexed URLs, including relevant warnings of problems. And if Google isn’t indexing certain URLs, you will see what the reasons for this are. Selecting any error or warning will load a new view giving additional details for the page, along with links to tools and help topics to assist you in fixing identified issues. How this works is best explained using the example provided by Google:
- Drilling down into any specific issues identified in the Index Coverage Status report will reveal affected URLs. Selecting any URLs with an error will then load a new screen, showing the page details, along with links to relevant diagnostic tools that will help you to understand the cause of the problem.
- Google now also understands that the different responsibilities involved in developing and maintaining a website are often split across several teams within an organisation. Many of the reports in the new Search Console now come with a “Share” button, in addition to export or download functions. This allows you to give appropriate people temporary access to information relating to issues they need to resolve, which should help ensure that critical issues are resolved a lot faster.
- Once you are confident that an issue has been fully resolved, you can easily confirm this in the new Search Console. Selecting the “Validate Fix” button signals Google to crawl and process affected URLs with a higher priority, helping to minimise the impact of any serious issues.
- Naturally, the Index Coverage report works better if you have submitted a sitemap for your site. Doing this will allow you to enable a sitemap filter for the Index Coverage data, which makes it possible to see an exact list of affected URLs.
New Search Enhancements Reports
The new Search Enhancement Reports are designed to make it easier for site operators to properly implement certain search enhancements. Only two reports are available for now, with Google stating that more will follow.
The first Search Enhancement Report is the AMP status report, which will help you to identify and fix errors that are preventing your AMP pages from appearing in Google Search results with all AMP-specific features.
The report will highlight all your AMP pages that have issues, grouping them according to issue. As with the Index Coverage Status report, selecting a specific issue will reveal more detail, along with information that will aid you in fixing the issue, and the ability to validate a fix. Clicking the “Validate Fix” button results in several tests being run before Google continues processing all affected pages. If any pages don’t pass these tests, you will be notified immediately.
The second Search Enhancement Report – the Job postings status report – helps you assess Google’s ability to process any JobPosting rich results found on your site. Note, however, that Google for Jobs is currently only available in certain locations, and does require proper use of job posting structured data.
The new Search Console is – for now – still in beta mode, and while all site operators and SEOs who use Search Console will gradually be given access to the new version, the classic version of Search Console will still remain accessible. We encourage you to use the new version as soon as you are granted access – in conjunction with the classic version, if necessary – to judge for yourself whether the enhancements make it easier for you to identify and fix issues affecting your site’s appearance in Google Search results. Having access to more than a year’s worth of historical search data is crucial for SEO, and is a feature that is long overdue in Google’s Search Console.