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Google Search Console updates arrive quickly and furiously. Even for the most professional SEO, it can be difficult to keep abreast of all the latest developments.

As such, I thought it would be useful to provide an easy overview to assimilate what we know about Google's feature migration projects versus the old version, as well as the evolution of the new version of Search Console.

I hope that this message stays up to date with the latest versions and developments, but do not hesitate to leave me a message if I missed something.

What has been / is migrating to the new search console?

The main source of confusion about the new version of Search Console was how Google handles the transition from the old version because not all features are transferred directly to the new version.

Instead, Google takes this opportunity to re-evaluate the tools and reports they provide to be more useful to users and to align more closely with the evolving challenges facing SEO professionals.

After some dribbling of information on what is and is not migrated to the new version, Google has kindly posted a message clarifying its plans.

Here is an overview of Google's plans in the state.

New reports and brilliant tools

Performance

The performance report has been around for almost a year now and was the first feature to launch in the Search Console beta.

Along with the new sexy user interface, the main benefit of the Performance report, compared to the former Search Analytics report, is the extension of the date range to incorporate 16 months of data instead of 3 months.

GSC Performance "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/GSC-performance-1.png

The performance report provides click, impression, CTR, and average ranking metrics at the page, query, country, and device level.

What does it replace?

Research Analytics.

CGC Search Analytics "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/search-analytics.png

How could this be improved?

The performance report has been a welcome addition, but it is not without flaws. I think we'll see more updates once the migration to the new version is complete.

Here are some possible improvements:

  • trends: 16 months of organic search data is great, but it's hard to establish trends when you can not aggregate data beyond the default daily data points. For example, we've doubled the organic clicks on the DeepCrawl site in the last 12 months, but the graph in the performance report for that period does not make that story clear. Being able to switch between a daily, weekly and monthly aggregation would be a useful addition.

DeepCrawl Organic clicks on "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-12-at-10.10. 47.png

  • Date of comparison: Configuring custom comparison date ranges is complex because you must use four different calendar selectors. This could be improved by using a calendar picker, using something similar to Google Analytics.
  • Filtration: The Performance report is a gold mine for organic knowledge, but it is tedious and tedious to have to set the necessary filters for each new entry in the search console. I would really like to see more customization introduced in Search Console. It would be useful to be able to save the filtered reports and pin them to the Overview page. It is very useful to integrate search console data into dashboard platforms such as Data Studio, but not everyone will have the time. Google must therefore facilitate the extraction of information as much as possible.

Index coverage report

Launched next to the performance report at the birth of the new version of Search Console, the index coverage report is a welcome evolution of reporting errors and the status of the index. .

CGC Search Analytics "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/google-index-coverage-report-1522756982.png

The new Index Coverage report provides site-level information regarding the issues of analysis and indexing.

This report will report problems with pages submitted in a Sitemap (for example, 404 submitted pages, blocked by the robots.txt file, marked noindex, etc.), as well as trends for indexed (valid) pages.

What does it replace?

State of the index and errors of analysis.

GSC Exploration Errors "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/crawl-error.png

How could this be improved?

The Index Coverage report is a useful component of the Search Console Suite because it allows you to get a high level view of the problems of analysis and indexing directly to from Google. However, it is not without its limits:

  • Limited rows: When you explore problems reported by index coverage, you are limited to 1,000 lines of URL. Although 1,000 pages provide enough instances to diagnose and resolve problems at most sites, it can make things more complicated for larger sites with millions of pages.
  • Vague explanations: Some of Google's explanations of reported problems can be extremely vague. For example, the description of the problem "Analyzed – currently unindexed" is described as follows: "The page has been analyzed by Google, but not indexed. It may or may not be indexed in the future; you do not need to resubmit this URL for crawling. "It is difficult to understand what might prevent these pages from being indexed, it may be a quality problem, in which case it is often useful to use the tool." URL inspection for tagged pages for further investigation.

URL Inspection

The URL Inspection Tool is a newer addition to the Search Console and completes the index coverage report by providing granular URL-level analysis. .

This tool is extremely useful because it prevents Google's analysis and indexing behavior from becoming a black box and provides SEO professionals with an additional base for debugging.

GSC URL Inspection Tool "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/url-inspection-tool-1 .png

More recently, Google has added additional features to the URL inspection, including the ability to test the live URL, view the rendered page, detect page resources. which could not be loaded as well as JavaScript errors.

What does it replace?

Recover as Google, Crawl Errors, Blocked Resources.

Recover as Google "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Fetch-as-Google.png

How could this be improved?

As with the index performance and index reports, the URL inspection is not perfect:

  • Deprecating Fetch as GoogleGoogle plans to phase out Fetch on Google next month (March 2019). the general consensus is it better to keep it as well as the new screen capture provided in the URL inspection tool. The problem is that some Fetch features like Google will be lost and have not been replicated in the inspection tool (for example, a side-by-side comparison of how Googlebot and a user see a page, a history in the process of extracting pages, and a reasonable space to see the rendered screenshot).
  • Abnormalities in loading page resourcesGoogle's John Mueller said in a recent Hangar of Webmasters that embedded resources might not be loaded during a live test of the page in the inspection tool because they want to provide quick information. For indexing purposes, these resources may be loaded, but this is not necessarily what the inspection tool will report.

Direct replacements

All reports in the Search Console are not completely redone. Some users simply receive a new coat of paint by upgrading to the Material Design version.

  • Links to your site and internal links become Connections.
  • The Sitemaps report becomes Sitemap.
  • Accelerated mobile pages becomes AMP status.
  • Mobile usability stay as is.
  • Security issues becomes Report on security issues.

Obsolete

Not all reports from the old version of Search Console have been successful and Google has decided to depreciate a few for various reasons.

HTML enhancements

HTML Enhancements is a simple report in the old version of Search Console that communicates the issues on the page, including those regarding title tags and meta-descriptions.

HTML enhancements "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Screen-Shot-2019-02-13-at-11.11.56. pNG

When is it not recommended?

Not known.

Why is it not recommended?

This report is a true relic of Search Console and is rightly discarded. The report provides limited information about problems encountered on the page. The Google team has probably recognized that many other tools can better detect this type of problem.

In addition, tagging issues with title tags and length of meta-description are a bit of a gray area in recent times due to various tests and the fact that Google sometimes rewrites them.

Property Sets

Property sets have been a way to group the individual properties of the Search Console into a global property. SEO professionals typically use it to combine different variations of a domain into a single view (for example, subdomains, www / non-www and HTTP / HTTPS).

Property set "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/gsc-property-set.png

When is it not recommended?

March 2019.

Why is it not recommended?

Google has decided to delete property sets because they are only used by a small number of users.

However, in recent months, Google has published an experimental invitation-only feature called Domain Properties, which consists of rethinking property sets.

Domain properties provide a more complete view of a domain as a whole and eliminate the need to create separate properties for variants of that domain.

Android apps

Historically, the Search Console provided features to monitor the visibility of applications in Google's index, such as creating an application as a property in the search console and retrieval. as Google for apps.

GSC Android Apps "data-srcset =" "data-src =" https://cdn.searchenginejournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/android-apps.png

When is it not recommended?

March 2019.

Why is it not recommended?

Application indexing is now handled in Firebase (formerly Google App Indexing). As such, Google has progressively disabled the app indexing features in Search Console in the past year.

To be determined

Although Google has relatively well transferred (and leveraged) its features into the new search console, it has openly admitted that it still remains to decide how to manage the following tasks and tools:

  • Exploration Statistics data (pages crawled per day, KB downloaded per day, page download time)
  • Robots.txt Tester
  • Managing URL Settings in Google Search
  • International targeting (management of hreflang tags or definition of a target country)
  • Data Highlighter Tool
  • Read and manage your messages
  • Address Change Tool
  • Definition of the preferred domain
  • Linking your Search Console property to an Analytics property
  • Disavow links
  • Delete obsolete content from the index
  • Blocked Resources Report
  • Structured data report

What other changes do you need to know?

In addition to the details of planned migrations in the reports, Google has provided several more general updates on the new search console.

  • The old search console will be out of service by 2019: this month, Mueller informed us that the team was planning to phase out the old version of Search Console. here the end of 2019.
  • Consolidate your website traffic to canonical URLs: This month, Google has also decided to consolidate performance report data into canonical URLs. The advantage is that it "unifies all metrics to search for single content in a single URL", but it would be nice to also be able to access raw data (this switch will be removed on April 10th. ). .
  • Planned Relocation in Domain Properties: In November 2018, Google began inviting access to a new Domain Properties feature, which provides a more complete view of domains in the Search Console and replaces property sets.
  • Search Console Statistics in the SERPs: In October 2018, Google started to display performance report metrics directly in the SERPs.
  • User Management: In August 2018, Google launched a more sophisticated user management system that allows all users to view and (if applicable) manage user roles for all property users.

To wrap up

It's important for all of us, in SEO, to make sure our opinions are heard, either through the Search Console Feedback Form or on Twitter.

It is promising that Google is actively asking for comments, which encourages them to accept user feedback.

Providing constructive feedback will help us to lose none of the key elements of the old version of the tool while shaping the way new features are created.

That said, the Search Console is advancing by leaps and bounds and it's good to see how Google adds to its existing features and at what pace. I'm excited to see how the tool will evolve in the coming months.

More resources:


Image Credits

All screenshots made by the author, February 2019

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