What to expect from Google’s redesigned Search Console

Google search console changes

For years, site managers have relied on Google Search Console to monitor and improve their websites’ performance on the world’s most popular search engine. The information there includes search metrics, reports on site indexing by Google’s web crawlers, and all kinds of other helpful tidbits. Google made significant alterations and expansions to this console during 2018, and the company is planning additional changes in 2019 that will affect:

  • Crawl errors – Google promises a more actionable, prioritized presentation of crawl errors on the updated console. But be aware, “we’re going to remove the old Crawl Errors report – for desktop, smartphone, and site-wide errors.”
  • Sitemap data – The familiar sitemaps report will disappear, replaced by an updated version the company believes will better serve site managers’ needs. Google says about the change, “The new sitemaps report has most of the functionality of the old report, and we’re aiming to bring the rest of the information – specifically for images & video – to the new reports over time.”
  • URL inspection tool – Current improvements to this tool include additional information like HTTP headers, page resource and screenshot, and the JavaScript console log. Users can submit pages to Google after making changes, too, so its crawlers can take a fresh look. Once all the updates have been rolled out, it promises “both a look into the current indexing, as well as a live check of URLs that you’ve recently changed.”
  • User-management interface – Rather than existing as a separate set of features in the main Search Console, user management elements will appear as part of the revised console’s Settings section.
  • Structured Data reports – Google intends to add more dedicated reports to the Structured Data dashboard, along with notifications about critical syntax errors. However, some current reporting is not long for this world. The company says, “Other Structured Data types that are not supported with Rich Results features, will not be reported in Search Console anymore. We hope this reduces distraction from non-critical issues…”
  • Property Sets – These are disappearing in their current form, but not entirely. Google explains that, “while they’re loved by some site owners, the small number of users makes it hard to justify maintaining this feature. However, we did learn that users need a more comprehensive view of their website and so we will soon add the option of managing a search console account over an entire domain (regardless of schema type and sub-domains).”
  • Dropped features – Like most remodeling projects – whether for a kitchen or a technology product – this one brings losses along with its gains; webmasters can say goodbye to HTML suggestions, Android Apps (now in the Firebase console), and blocked resources functionality.

In laying out the planned changes, Google specified that they’ll take place “towards the end of March, 2019.” This had webmasters in a tizzy, with some believing that the Search Console itself would be disappearing in little more than a month.

That’s apparently not the case. On February 6, Google’s John Mueller tweeted a clarification that spelled out the facts: “Search Console is *not* going away. The old Search Console is *not* closing in March. A few features are going away, the rest will remain for the moment.” Instead, users can expect to see a number of features become nonfunctional. Some will be replaced with (what Google hopes are) improvements, and others will simply no longer work.

How do you feel about all this? If you’re a regular user of the Google Search Console, the company wants your ideas for improvements that really do work for webmasters, saying, “Please send us your feedback directly in the new Search Console, if there are aspects which are unclear, or which would ideally be different for your use-case. For more detailed feedback, please use our help forums, feel free to include screenshots & ideas.”

So love it or hate it, check out the changes and be sure to let Google know just how you feel about its new, improved Search Console.

 

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Sarah Warlick

Sarah Warlick founded Proof Positive Content to provide professional service firms with high-quality content that resonates with their individual audiences. Sarah's writing appears in books, on dozens of firm websites and in Accounting Today, Social Media Today, various professional journals and other leading publications, but usually under another name. Ghostwriters rarely get the glory - their clients do!

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