Google has been hard at work rolling out the new Search Console, which means big changes in how you can monitor traffic to your website. Here’s what you need to know.
What Are the Major Changes?
Some of the biggest changes to be aware of are the functionality of certain tools and reports, the amount and detail of available search traffic data, and new mobile capabilities.
One brand new feature of the new Search Console is URL Inspection. This means you can now test a live page’s eligibility for crawling, as well as detailed insights into your website’s pages in the Google index.
Some tools and reports have also been combined or expanded in the newer version. Both “Internal links” and “Links to your site” are now covered under “Links”, while “Search Analytics”, “Rich Cards” and “Fetch as Google” have all been renamed and fleshed out.
Are These Changes Positive?
Fortunately, the new Google Search Console comes with many improvements in comparison to the previous version. For example, the Manual Actions report now has an option to view history, and you can access or remove properties from the navigation bar on each page.
Other positive changes to the Google Search Console include:
- Over 5 times the amount of search data— the new Performance report (previously named “Search Analytics) now provides 16 months’ of data.
- An improved format for Mobile Usability
- The option to upload your website’s sitemap and have it tested immediately
- View indexing errors on both a site and page level
- More reliable data, especially in regards to link count, crawl status and debugging information.
Are There Any Downsides?
It’s still early days for the new Search Console, so there are some aspects that are yet to be perfected. For example, some features from the old Search Console are not yet available in the newer version.
- The option to target international countries
- The data highlighter tool
- Choosing a website as your preferred domain
- The ability to read messages
- The Security Issues report
You can find a full list of unsupported features on Google’s Search Console Help page.
However, Google is still migrating a lot of features over to the newer version, so hopefully these will eventually be available.
While there are bound to be some technical errors encountered as Google continues to perfect new features, the biggest challenge users have reported is the learning curve. With many tools being renamed and new features available, it may take a little practice to get familiar with the new and improved Search Console.
Google Search Console’s new Mobile Usability report function compared to the older version
Should I Use the New Search Console or Stick to the Old One?
The best version of Search Console for you depends on what tools and reports you use most often for tracking your website traffic.
Google has confirmed that they will be removing old tools and reports as the new Search Console progresses, which means using the older version won’t be an option for much longer.
So if the ability to respond to messages and review security issues is important to you, then you might find you’re better off sticking to the previous version. But if you’re after more detailed data reports and better mobile readability, then the new Search Console is for you.
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