A Beginner’s Guide to the New Google Search Console
A Beginner’s Guide to the new Google Search Console
This article will be discussing the NEW features of the console and how they can be used. I STRONGLY recommend looking at my Beginner’s Guide to Google Search Console article. I provide an in-depth, yet easy-to-read walkthrough of the old console and all of its features.
I think it would be really helpful for your learning if you open up the Google Search Console. It would be best if you open the old version and the new one. This way you can go through and actually experience it for yourself. It would be great for you to play around with the tools and get used to them.
In the first guide, I tried to stick to a bullet point format in order to make it easy to take notes. I intend to stick to a similar format for this guide too. So, with your notebooks at the ready let’s get stuck in.
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At first glance, we can see that the new Google Search Console looks great. The interface is cleaner. I love the colour scheme (so happy that purple managed to make it). Everything looks fresh and up-to-date whilst the old console does look a bit dated. However, for old Google Search Console users, it does seem familiar. It isn’t so shocking of a change that we have to start from scratch.
The navigation bar to the left allows you to easily navigate through the Google Search Console as the previous one did.
The overview panel replaces the dashboard panel and just as it did before, it now shows some key reports that you can quickly glance at and open up.
Performance panel now replaces the search analytics panel.
The new colour scheme is great and easy to read.
One of the best new features is that you can now compare filters.
This can be extremely powerful when you want to compare how your website is performing for different keywords and which ones to focus on in your SEO strategy.
You can also compare the performance of different countries, pages, devices and search appearances. This can be really useful if you want to measure in which countries your website is performing the best or whether your website performs best on mobile or desktop.
Graphs are displayed neatly. The actual figures are shown side-by-side when comparing, making it really easy to read.
What’s more, is that you can compare two keywords. Then compare how they perform in different countries and for different devices. On top of that, you can compare how pages perform for both of the keywords.
You can now look at data as far back as 16 months ago.
The button to export/download is now a lot more visible. Some of you old ‘search consolers’ may not have even noticed the old one hidden at the bottom!
URL Inspection Tool
Now there is a nice big search bar at the top of every page. This allows you to enter any URL on your website and inspect it.
This will provide you with information on:
Whether a page is indexed or not.
Accelerated mobile page errors.
Structural data issues.
This is really useful if you want to quickly inspect a URL.
From here you can also check if a URL can be indexed via inspection. Then you can request it to be indexed via a one-page crawl. This is an extremely powerful tool to get your pages indexed quickly!
This panel will show you any crawl errors found when Google crawls your website. This replaces the ‘crawl errors’ and ‘crawl stats’ panels from the old Google Search Console.
Here you can view the index status of your web pages. This is great so you can see if your website is being indexed. You can also locate any problems that are causing some of your web pages to not be indexed.
‘Valid’ are pages that have been indexed.
‘Excluded’ are pages that have not been indexed but are most likely intentionally so.
‘Valid with warnings’ are indexed pages that have issues and Google are unsure whether they are intentional.
‘Errors’ are pages that couldn’t be indexed due to an error.
On the details tab underneath the main coverage tab, you can click on each error.
This will take you to a page that will describe the error.
It will also tell you the affected URLs and list them.
If you then click on the URLs you can now see options to ‘inspect URL’, ‘Test Robots.txt’ and ‘view as a search result’. So if you were wondering where those toggles had gone from the old Google Search Console; here they are! If you are unsure what these toggles do, please refer back to my first article.
Here you can see the sitemaps that Google has found on your site.
Submit new sitemaps.
Sitemap URL is the URL where the sitemap is posted.
Type of sitemap can be one of three:
Sitemap Index – a sitemap of sitemaps.
Unknown – an unknown type or hasn’t been processed yet.
Shows when the sitemap is submitted.
When the sitemap was last read by Google.
The status of the sitemap which is either:
Couldn’t be fetched.
The last piece of information is the number of URLs in the sitemap.
You can then click onto each submitted sitemap to see a report of any errors found. You can also find out if it was successful in being crawled and indexed.
This panel is similar to the old Google Search Console panel.
In this panel, any issues found with mobile usability will be listed
You can then click on ‘details’ to view any errors and find what you have to fix.
See which URLs you have to fix from clicking on details. Then you can click on the URL.
After clicking on the URL a panel will open up on the right-hand side. In the panel, you will be able to select ‘test live page’.
Once you are done with your repairs, click ‘validate fixing’ to quickly get it crawled.
Mobile usability is really important for SEO as Google prefer mobile-friendly sites to ones that aren’t. Also, users won’t want to use your site if it looks terrible on their device. Having a badly optimised mobile site is a surefire way to increase your bounce rate.
The links page is now laid out very neatly. It now combines the external and internal link panels. This is great because it removes clutter from the navigation bar at the side.
From here you can see an overview of your top linked pages for internal and external links.
You can also see the sites that are backlinking the most and the anchor text. Bonus info: anchor text is the text used to link back to your site.
You can click on any of these subpanels to gain a more in-depth view of it.
Thanks for reading my beginner’s guide to the new Google Search Console. As said before, I really recommend that you check out my first article on the old Google Search Console. The old console overlaps with the new in almost every area. In the article, I give an in-depth but easy-to-read description of what each feature does.
Now you know the basics about both search consoles, it’s time to master them. However, it takes a really long time to perfect the use of these tools. There is a lot of data to look at which can lead to confusion. This is when mistakes are made that can be a detriment to your website. Accelerate Agency have a team of experts who have spent years mastering these tools. Don’t be scared to ask for help, because it might just save your website! If you feel like you need some advice or want us to take care of this tricky tool to boost your growth then contact us.
Nick Brown is the founder & CEO of accelerate agency, a SaaS SEO agency. Nick has launched several successful online businesses, writes for Forbes, published a book and has grown accelerate from a UK agency to a company that now operates across US, APAC and EMEA and employs 160 people. He was also once charged at by a mountain gorilla