If you’re a professional digital marketer, webmaster, or simply own a website you’ve certainly heard of Google Search Console. It’s the best go-to-tool for direct from the source analytics about how well your site is performing in the organic SERPs on Google.
It gives you a plethora of incredible information about your overall backend site health, usability, any penalties levied against your site, and other issues that can impact the visibility your site receives through Google search.
Google is constantly updating the Search Console and the entire suite of tools it provides for free to its users. Several of the new changes to the Search Console are going to make a huge impact on the effectiveness of your campaigning and organic search impact.
Here I’ll go over the major changes that have happened recently and how they help you better manage the websites you’re monitoring.
More and Even Better Data Export Functionality in Google Search Console
As of February 2020, the team at Google has announced that there will be better data available to users, and available for export, from now on. Users now have access to download and export the entire data set housed in Google Search Console Reports instead of just the limited specific table views that were previously available.
The data will not only be more comprehensive but it should be easier to read outside of the GSC backend as well. So, it will be easier to store and circulate at later dates to your team or office.
When you export data from reports such as the AMP status, you’ll now be able to export the data behind the charts. You’ll be able to see a daily breakdown of pages, impressions, and the status each page received on Google results in addition to the list of issues and affected pages.
Performance Reporting is More Robust
As far as performance data goes, the reporting is better than ever. Users can download the content of all the available tabs with one click. You can choose whether you like Google Sheets or export as an Excel spreadsheet with all of the multiple tabs and CSV files compressed and delivered to you in a tidy ZIP file.
Along with the performance data package you’ll also be given an additional tab called “Filters”, this will show all the filters that were applied when the data was pulled so you can accurately recreate the data.
Additional New Ways to Use Search Console Data
Depending on your level of technical expertise, you can use GSC in one of two ways now. If you have more experience and a technical background that you can choose to use the Search Console API to add, view or remove properties and sitemaps, and run more advanced queries for Google search results data.
If you’re more of a layman or just need a one-stop-shop for easy to read data points than you can opt to use Google Data Studio which is a dashboarding solution that allows users to unify data from across different sources all into one place. This way you’re not jumping around from tool to tool but have everything where you need it to be whenever you want to look.
Google Data Studio links directly to Search Console data so you can compare side-by-side in real-time with the other tools you’re tracking.
New Change of Address Features Available in Google Search Console
The new site address change option in GSC is definitely worth learning. This option, now available for every property within the search, is getting a major update.
Soon you’ll notice new features within the change of address section, they’ll give you further insights about whether you’ve been successful in your address change pursuit or not.
Usually, the change of address tool was handy if a website decided to change the domain name of the site or move a subdomain to a different address. Once the redirects are completed within the backend of the site (to a 301 redirect) webmasters would use the change of address tool in Search Console to manually let Google Crawlers know that the site was moved.
Once it was processed, Google would give priority to the new address for indexation over the previous one. Slowly, the old one would phase-out of the SERPs.
Newly Validating Redirects
As of February, Google added some new features to help check the validation process of their redirect requests. The redirect provides search engine crawlers to redirect the authority and trust gained by the old domain to the new one if it’s been a successful 301.
Before this update, you would never know if the redirects were successful in transferring all that juice. You just did the thing and hope it stuck. Now, you’ll be able to get full clarity on the status and it will now report the redirection of 5 of the top URLs of the domain. So, you’ll be able to confirm a successful redirection of the site.
Redirection is still a slow process. It can take around 180-days for an entire site to completely redirect. Now, when you sign into the GSC dashboard, you’ll get a new blurb about the progress of the transfer. It will say “This site is currently moving to thedomainyouset.com”.
The notification will automatically turn off after 180 days so you can check the validity of the redirect.
Google also announced that the new search console would have the ability to find and resolve issues within their review markup.
Reviewing snippets has been on the way for a while now but more emphasis has been put onto this feature in 2020. The Review Snippet enhancement feature will allow webmasters to be able to find issues with the markup implementation.
You’ll also be able to test the review markup code before going live now with the Rich Result Testing Tool.
You better be doing Schema markup is basically the gist of this update.
A new feature added to Search Console is one that allows you to temporarily block the search engine from displaying results from your site.
You’ll be able to remove specific pages temporarily and get the info about takedown requests filed using Google public tools.
Google added three different types of tools into the Search Console to help with reporting, review, and takedown of contentious URLs.
Temporary Removals Tool
This will be for webmasters that want to remove a specific piece of content or a specific URL from the Google index.
This is handy if you have a conflicting page and you need to figure out which should be displayed. The requested URL will not be visible in the SERP for six months so that you’re able to decide it’s fate.
You’ll have two options. You can either choose the six-month ban, or just choose to clear the page cache which includes the title, description, and snippet from the Google index until the next time the crawler revisits the page for indexing.
Within this section, you can find the removal requests filed by Google users through the publicly available Remove Outdated Content Tool.
Anyone who feels the information is no longer available or adds value to the SERP can submit a removal request. You’ll be notified about such requests within this section of the Search Console.
The third new tab added to the Removals Feature on the new Search Console is SafeSearch Filtering. This section lists the pages that users reported for adult content using the publicly available SafeSearch Suggestion tool.
Any request filed by the users with regards to adult content will be reviewed by Google to decide whether to filter it from SafeSearch results.
More Accuracy in The Index Coverage Report
According to Google’s Twitter account, the Search Console can now do a far more accurate job of reporting the coverage of indexed pages. Some of the pages that were previously listed as “Crawled – currently not indexed” have since been indexed.
Search Console Messages
There is a new innate messaging feature in the console for users to more easily receive messages from Google.
You can access the function on the top right-hand corner of the dashboard. This and many other additions have been added to the search console since Google abandoned the previous version altogether. They want to ensure webmasters are getting more essential features that can help improve the overall quality of their websites.
Product Results Hit The Google Search Console
This feature will now display impressions, clicks, and other essential metrics for Product Rich Results. This new feature will help merchants analyze the reach and impact of each product and be more able to adjust their strategy to build conversions through their e-commerce platform.
If your e-commerce site has added the Product Rich Snippet schema correctly, you will now see
a new search appearance type “Product Results.” A further deep dive into this segment will provide a complete analysis of how your products performed on Google search.
The data provided on the “Product Results” area will help you understand how the rich result features such as the ratings, price, and availability of the product help in bringing the traffic.
You’ll also receive a detailed insight report into the kind of queries your target audience is using to reach your website. This will allow you to more accurately analyze trends and turbulence.
Speed Report in Search Console
The new Site Speed Enhancement Report will help webmasters identify site speed issues as and when they pop up. It will additionally help them come up with suitable fixes before potential users experience it.
Google has made the analysis simple for webmasters as each page on a site will be provided with a speed score of “Fast,” “Moderate,” and “Slow.”
This data is derived from the Chrome Users Experience Report, which is based on the metrics gathered from the experience of real users who use the Chrome browser. The report is created based on individual URLs so that makes it easier to fix the issues on a micro level to help the overall speed of the site.
The Speed Score is assigned to websites based on the aggregate time taken for First Contentful Paint (FCP). FCP is essentially the time taken for the browser to render the first visible element on the page.
Google Search Console is Giving You The Clues You Need to Build The Site Google Wants to Rank
The best takeaway from all these new developments within the Search Console is to pay attention to what Google is spending time tracking.
They know what their algorithm wants to see. So, you can bet, if they are suddenly giving you the ability to track a feature of your site’s credibility or effectiveness it’s a major contributing ranking factor for your site.
I hope this helps you unlock some of the new stuff going on with the Google Search Console so you can make your site the best it can be.