If you are a webmaster, Google Search Console is your go-to-tool for understanding how websites are performing on organic search results of Google.
Search Console data helps webmasters to identify errors, penalties, and other issues that can impact the visibility of the website on Google search.
Google keeps adding new features to the search console to help webmasters analyze the performance of their websites.
Here, you can find all important Google Search Console updates:
Job Posting Report- March 2021
Google has made two additional changes to the rich results report in Google Search Console. One update was related to the job posting report in March and the second change was related to FAQ and Q&A rich results report in February.
Google stated that starting March 11th, 2021, Google has changed its requirement for the Education, Experience, and ExperienceInPlaceOfEducation properties of job posting structured markup. Due to these changes, you may see an increase in warnings for job posting instances, says Google.
If you notice these new errors in the rich results report, ensure you review those warnings and ensure that your job posting structured data follows the new requirement stated here.
FAQ and Q&A Report – February 2021
Google stated that starting March 2, 2021, it will now start to check the validity of FAQ and Q&A structured data that is below the root entity level. Previously, Google only checked the validity of FAQ & Q&A structured data at the root level.
Post this update, you may see an increase in the valid, warning, and invalid FAQ and Q&A items in the rich results report. If you see new issues, follow the instructions in the report and you’ll be good to go.
Using this feature, users can now connect YouTube, Analytics, Android Apps, Google Ads, Actions Console, Chrome Web Store and Play Console to the Search Console.
This new feature comes in handy for Webmasters who manage multiple Search Console properties as now they can connect other Google-owned entities associated with the property.
They can now connect to the associated Google services by going to Setting→ Associations.
Please note that this feature will be only active for webmasters with Full Access to the website data on Search Console.
Benefits of Connecting Associations
Google Analytics: If Google Analytics is your go-to tool for tracking your website’s visitors and their engagement, connecting it as an associated property will benefit as Analytics can fetch more data about organic search results and display it in the Search Console reports area.
Google Ads: By connecting Google Ads as an associated property, you get the opportunity to find paid and organic reports directly in the Google Ads dashboard.
Chrome Web Store account: Publish apps and extensions to the Chrome Web Store on behalf of your site.
It’s important not to get confused between Associations and Property Sets, which Google earlier used to call Domain Properties.
The Domain Property or Property Sets is a verification method to collect site data from different root parameters. Associations feature enables you to see different associated Google services that come under a property set.
Apart from Analytics, the rest of the properties can be associated with multiple Search Console properties and accounts. However, when it comes to Google Analytics, the webmaster can associate it only with one Search Console property.
Also, if you have already connected your Google Services to the search console, these services will automatically appear inside the associations. If not, you have to connect using the product which you want to associate with your site.
Here is what happens:
Step 1: Request is made using the product interface for their service. Example: For YouTube, use the option in YouTube Studio to request the association.
Step 2: Check your Search Console Association dashboard to see the notification.
Step 3: Deny or Approve the Association Request. On accepting, you will start noticing the associated Google Service within the dashboard.
Step 4: If you want to remove an associated service, just click on the Three-Dot Icon and press remove.
Google News Performance Report- January 2021
Google launched its news performance report on 12th January to let publishers have a better understanding of user behavior on Google news for Android and IOS devices, as well as on news.google.com.
Publishers will be able to access their performance report from the Search Console by clicking Google News in the left navigation’s performance section.
The report will include important metrics like clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and impressions that will help publishers to find answers to questions like how many times their articles have appeared to users on Google news or which articles have performed exceptionally well in Google news.
This report will be shown for any site appearing on Google news.
Google AMP Now Supports Signed Exchange – August 2020
Google AMP has been discussed for a long time and one common issue that webmasters highlight is the URL and other attribution issues.
The Signed Exchange is a new web packing system that enables publishers to deliver portable content, such as AMP, without losing their attribution and integrity.
Google has been supporting this specification for some time now. However, the search giant has now said that the AMP enhancement report within the Search Console will help webmasters identify issues with ‘signed exchange.’
The revamped version of the Search Console API will more or less be similar but with an added backward functionality.
The announcement says, “API is backward compatible and there are currently no changes in scope or functionality.”
The upgraded version will also have a few things for webmasters to note.
Changes on Google Cloud Platform dashboard: You may find a drop in the old API usage report and an increase in the new one.
API key restriction changes: The previous API key restrictions may not work, you may need to change them.
Discovery document changes: Webmasters using third-party API library or querying directly on Webmaster Discovery Document have to update it by the end of the year.
Mobile-First Indexing Update – July 2020
COVID-19 has disrupted every inch of the planet, and Google says it understands what website owners are currently going through.
According to a new Google announcement, the scheduled date to use Mobile-First Indexing has been postponed due to the COVID pandemic.
The search giant earlier planned to enable mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020, but the latest announcement says that this will be pushed further until March 2021.
Webmasters who received mobile-first indexing errors via the Search Console now get more time to fix the issues. Meanwhile, any new site or the ones that have already moved to mobile-first indexing shouldn’t be concerned about the announcement.
Rich Results Tool Out of Beta – July 2020
Google, for quite some time now, has been testing its exclusive Rich Results tool. Now, the search giant has announced that it’s out of beta.
We all know that Google doesn’t support all the structured data that is supported within the Schema.org.
However, the structured data testing tool supported all Schema and helped fix almost all schema markups with errors.
With the Rich Results Testing tool’s announcement, Google also said that the Structured Data testing tool will be depreciated soon.
However, webmasters have started complaining that the new Rich Result Test is more of a downgrade.
It doesn’t support the schemas that were otherwise supported in the Structured Data Testing Tool.
Core Web Vitals Announced – June 2020
Google announced new user experience signals that will soon become a ranking signal. The search engine giant introduced the concept of Core WebVitals that incorporate three essential user experience factors that evaluate the real-time user experience.
Starting in 2021, the WebVitals will become part of Google’s ranking algorithms and will join the list of 200+ signals that the search giant uses to rank pages on SERPs.
Three Google defined Web Vitals:
Largest Contentful Paint
A slow server response time and render-blocking scripts can result in a low Largest Contentful Paint score. Google recommends 2.5 Sec as the ideal score for Largest Contentful Paint.
First Input Delay
FID score is the time the browser takes to respond to the user interaction. Google recommends 100 milliseconds or less as the ideal score for First Input Delay.
Cumulative Layout Shift
Cumulative Layout Shift detects the changes in the website’s visual element after it’s displayed to the users.
Guided Recipes on Google Assistant Update-May 2020
Until May 2020, cooking website owners had to wait for Google to reprocess their sites before they could see their updates on Google Assistant. But Google has now introduced support for Guided Recipes in Search Console as well as in the Rich Results Test tool.
This will allow site owners to validate the markup instantly for individual recipes and discover any issues with the available recipes on their site.
Guided Recipes Enhancement Report
Users can now view a Rich Result Status Report with the errors, warnings, and fully valid pages found among their site’s recipes in Search Console. It also includes a checkbox to show trends on search impressions.
In addition, the report can be used to notify Google about any changes made on a web page and should be recrawled.
A set of metrics known as the Google’s Core Web Vitals, now have their own report in Search Console. Core Web Vitals were introduced in early May 2020 to measure the quality of user experience offered by a site.
According to Google, these are critical metrics that will provide all site owners with an easy way to measure the user experience they offer through their websites. The Core Web Vitals feature in the Search Console will replace the old Speed report.
This change only indicates how Google is highly focused on the user experience and is giving more impetus to it over the loading speed of a site. To know more about how to optimize the speed of your website, read our in-depth article on Page Speed Optimization.
Google has laid out the three major criteria a site needs to fulfil for good user experience- loading, interactivity, and visual stability.
Details of Core Web Vitals
There are three main metrics that make up the Core Web Vitals:
Largest Contentful Paint: It measures the perceived load speed and marks the point in the page load timeline when the page’s main content has likely loaded. The ideal speed for this is up to 2.5 seconds.
First Input Delay: It measures the responsiveness of a website and quantifies the user experience of the first interaction with a web page. The ideal measurement of this should be below 100 seconds.
Cumulative Layout Shift: It measures the visual stability and quantifies the amount of unexpected layout shift of visible page content. The ideal measurement for this should be below 0.1 seconds.
The Core Web Vitals Report on Search Console shows URL performance based on status, metric type and URL group. On the “Overview” tab, a user can shift between ‘Poor,’ ‘Needs Improvement,’ or ‘Good’ tabs.
On each of the tab, the user can click on “Open Report” to see the page performance numbers for desktop and mobile devices. Users can further click on individual rows in the table to see URLs groups affected by certain issues.
Google recommends fixing the “Poor” issues first and then prioritizing other page fixes. The most common page fixes should include reducing page size to less than 500 KB, limiting the number of page resources to 50 and considering using AMP.
Better Data Export in Search Console- 26-02-2020
The Google Search Console team has announced that there will be more and better data available to export from now on. Users can now download almost the entire data in Search Console Reports instead of just specific table views. This data will be much easier to read outside the Search Console and can be stored for future reference.
When exporting data from reports like AMP status, users can export data behind the charts. this means they can see a daily breakdown of pages, impressions, and status received on Google Search results besides the list of issues and their affected pages.
For performance data, users can download the content of all tab with one click in two forms, either, Google sheets or Excel spreadsheet with multiple tabs and CSV files compressed in a zip file. Along with the performance data, users will have an additional tab named “Filters”, which will show the filters applied when the data was exported.
Additional Ways to use Search Console Data
Depending on the user’s technical expertise, users can avail of any of the two options to use Search Console Data. if the user has a technical background, then he may consider using the Search Console API to add, view or remove properties and sitemaps, and to run advanced queries for Google Search results data.
Alternatively, Google Data Studio is a dashboarding solution that allows users by unifying data from different sources. The tool provides a Search Console connector to import various metrics and dimensions into the user dashboard so that they can see Search Console data side-by-side with data from other tools.
Change of Address Features – 19-02-2020
I hope you are familiar with the site address change option within the new search console. This option, which is present within the settings of each web property within the search, is now getting an update.
Soon you will notice a few additional features within the change of address section, which will give you further insights about whether the address change has been successful or not.
Usually, the change of address tool becomes handy when a website decides to change the domain name or move their subdomain to a different address.
Once the redirects are done within the website (301 Redirect to be specific), webmasters used the change of address tool within the search console to let Google Crawlers know that the site has been moved to the new domain or subdomain.
Once the request to change the address is placed using the change of address tool, Google will start giving priority to index the new address of the site and slowly ignores the old address.
Starting Feb 2020, Google will be adding a few new features to help webmasters check the validation of their redirect request. Usually, a complete change of the domain name prerequisite 301 redirects.
This provides search engine crawlers to redirect all the authority and trust gained by the old domain to the new one. In addition to this, any user who tries accessing the older version of the site gets automatically redirected to the new one.
As of now, webmasters had no clue whether the redirects are successful. With the new Redirect Validation feature added to the search console, they will get full clarity as the Search Console will now validate the redirect of the top 5 URLs of the domain, which essentially means a successful 301 redirect.
It takes a few months for Google to completely redirect the whole rankings signals of the old domain to the new one. It’s estimated that a complete and successful 301 redirect will take 180 days to pass the signals. This could change depending upon the number of pages within site and the number of backlinks it has generated.
Starting now, the webmasters will get a notification within the search console dashboard about the progress. A new blurb will appear on top of the dashboard that says, “The site is currently moving to www.xyz.com.”
The notification will go off after a cycle of 180 days. However, if you are new to SEO, the Change of Address feature is not a tool that can implement 301 redirect on your website. It’s just part of the Google Search Console, and you have to implement 301 redirect within your website and pages within it before using the Change of Address feature.
Review Snippet – 10-02-2020
Google announced Review Snippet support in the new search console, enabling webmasters to find and resolve issues with their review markup.
Review snippets have been around the corner for some time now, but lately, Google seems to be giving more emphasis to this feature.
Last year, Google announced that the review snippet is one of the most misused structured data types and it intends to curb this by enabling it only on a few webpage types such as Movie Reviews, Products and Software.
Review snippet is considered as a Clink-Through magnet as the star rating displayed on the SERP results, which is an aggregate score, creates trust in the users.
With the introduction of Review Snippet enhancement feature, webmasters can now find issues with the markup implementation.
In addition to this, Google has also announced that webmasters can now test the review markup code even before going live using the Rich Result Testing Tool.
The new Review Snippet enhancement feature is only available on the search console dashboard of websites that have enabled the review markup. According to the official statement from Google, “the report allows you to see errors, warnings, and valid pages for markup implemented on your site.”
In addition to the review snippet enhancement feature, the Review Snippet will also be part of the Performance Report filter. This will help webmasters understand how the review snippet performed in terms of clicks and CTR on the SERP.
Removals Report – 28-01-2020
Google announced that a new feature has been to its Search Console to temporarily block the search engine from displaying results from your site.
According to the official announcement, the new Removals Report in the search console can come handy to webmasters if they want to remove a specific page from the search results temporarily. In addition to this, the webmasters will also get the info about takedown requests filed using Google public tools.
Google has added three types of removal tools into the new Search Console to help webmasters report, review, and takedown URLs that are contentious.
Temporary Removals Tool
Google Search Console now has a dedicated feature, “Removals,” which will have Temporary Removals as one of the options. This option is for webmasters who want to remove a specific content or URL from Google’s Index.
This tool becomes handy if you want an immediate removal of a conflicting page until you get clarity on whether it has to be displayed on search or not. On request for a Temporary Removal of a URL, the particular page will not be visible on SERP for six months. Even though this is not a permanent solution to page removal, webmasters can decide on the fate of the page during this period.
Webmasters get two different options within the Temporary Removal Tool.
Temporarily remove the page/URL for the next six months.
Clear the existing page cache, including title, description, and snippet from Google’s index until the crawler revisits the page for indexing.
Within this section, the webmasters 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. Webmasters will 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.
Accurate Index Coverage Report – 15-12-2019
Google on Dec 15 announced that the Index Coverage report has been further improved. According to the tweet, the Search Console can now do more accurate coverage of the indexed pages. With the new update, some of the pages that were under the “Crawled – currently not indexed” category has been indexed.
Search Console Messages – 04-12-2019
Google updated its search console dashboard with a new innate message feature on December 4. The new feature will make it easier for webmasters to check messages from Google. The function can now be accessed within the search console dashboard on the top right-hand corner.
Google has been making quite a lot of improvements to the new search console after they completely discarded the earlier version.
The search engine giant has been keen on making a lot of valuable additions to the new search console. This is being done to ensure that webmasters get more essential features that can improve the quality of their websites.
The announcement of the new update came through the official webmaster central blog. “As of today, messages will be available through a panel accessed easily by clicking the bell icon at the top of any page in Search Console. The main difference from the old interface is that now you’ll have access to your messages throughout the product, no need to leave your reports.”
The webmasters can access the messages sent or received from May 23, 2019, by clicking on the bell icon.
Products Results in Search Console – 20 -11 – 2019
Google, on Monday, November 20, announced the addition of a new feature to its Search Console that will display the impressions, clicks, and essential metrics for the Product Rich Results.
Google has been displaying rich results such as rating, price, and availability of the products for shoppers to compare and buy products easily. The new feature added to the search console will help merchants analyze the reach and impact of these results.impact of these rich results.
Google Search Console has been helping webmasters across the globe with insightful data regarding the number of impressions, clicks, and other useful metrics. This data is beneficial for making decisive changes to the website, such as the devices used by the prospective uses, geography, and queries.
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.
In addition to this, you will also get a detailed insight into the kind of queries the target audience used to reach your website. This can be a great addition to your audience research, as you can analyze the latest trends and turbulence in the shopping behavior of the users.
Speed report in Search Console – 04-10-2019
Google, through its official webmaster central blog, announced that the new Search Console has started displaying the Speed report as one of the Enhancement features.
Google has been testing the speed report for a while. The preview version of the same was displayed during this year’s Google IO conference. The new search console update is an indication of Google giving more importance to site speed.
According to the official announcement, 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 generated for individual URLs, which makes it easy for webmasters to come up with fixes based on the specific inputs provided by the Search Console Speed Report. If you find a site with most of its pages labeled as moderate or slow, it’s better to check the reasons that are causing the slowdown using the Page Speed Insight tool.
Once the issues that cause the slow down is fixed, webmasters can request Search Console to validate the fix and revise the speed score. This provides the webmaster the clarification on whether the fix implemented to speed up the page was successful or not.
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.
As of now, the Speed report in the Search Console is marked as an experimental project. This is because Google will be making significant additions and improvements to this report in the coming days, says the official announcement.
Google Search Console Adds New Reports For Video Results – 08 October 2019
Google is reportedly making video searches on its platform more effortless for people. The search engine giant introduced two new tools to help webmasters understand the performance of their videos in Search and identify opportunities to improve video markups.
People come across videos in Google through these three ways:
The main search result page
The “videos” tab in the search result page
Suggested content in Google Discover feed
With today’s launch, Google will now report the performance of videos under each of these tabs mentioned above.
With today’s launch, Google will now report the performance of videos under each of these tabs mentioned above.
Video Enhancement Report
Sites using structured data for videos will now be able to see a new report in search console under the ”Videos” tab. Just like every other Search Console report, this tab will show errors and warnings for video markups implemented on a website. It will also help in identifying the pages that have error-free video markups. Besides identifying errors, these reports can also be used to validate an issue resolved by re-crawling affected pages.
Video Appearances in the Performance Report
The Search Console performance report already includes an option to see the performance of the video tab search result (type = video). Google has now extended its support for videos so that webmasters can now see the performance of their videos in the main Search results tab (type = web).
Previously, the Search Console will only report on the video performances in the “Video” tab. Content can accompany video appearance if any page uses VideoObject structured data, or if Google uses other signals to detect a video on the page.
These new tools are expected to make it easier for webmasters and site owners to understand the performance of their videos and fix any issues related to it.
Fresher Data in Search Console – 23 September 2019
On Monday, September 23, Google announced that the performance report in Search Console had been upgraded with improved and fresh data. With this new update, webmasters can now see data that is less than a day old!
The performance report integration in the new Search Console has helped webmasters understand a lot of metrics. These are organic traffic better, top keywords driving traffic, most visited webpages and audience demography. Webmasters can now easily track the daily performance of their website and compare performance based on weekdays vs.weekends.
The new performance report also boasts details of the data time zone, which is set by default at the Pacific time zone. This allows webmasters to interpret the data and compare it with the local time zone. Also, Google has made it easier for webmasters to analyze search trends by exporting data in the Search Console or exporting the chart.
Crawl Error Report Update- End of March 2019
The update improved the crawl error report in Google Search Console. The new changes allowed webmasters to fix issues much effectively and request for a quick reprocessing. It also prevented old crawl error reports from the desktop, smartphones, and site-wide from arising.
Sitemaps Data Update- End of March 2019
Google is planning to add advanced features for sitemaps data in the new version of the Search Console. The advanced, rich sitemap data will help webmasters to filter out the URLs that they want to focus on. The Fetch as Google feature will get an upgrade as a URL inspection tool in Search Console. The updated tool will help webmasters to find details of the indexed pages and check live URLs
User Management- End of March 2019
The cluttered interface of the old user-management features in the old Search Console will be soon be replaced by an advanced user management setting available in the new Search Console.
Google Officially Launches Domain Property In Search Console – February 2019
Earlier, Google recommended webmasters to treat different versions of web URLs, such as HTTP, HTTPS, mobile, www, and non-www versions as separate entities. The property set option was used by webmasters to group these versions in a single set in the Search Console.
However, on February 27 this year, Google has announced that it will not require webmasters to verify different versions of a website when it rolls out an update from now onwards. With the property sets implemented, Google was having a hard time assimilating date from different sets of properties to understand how a website is performing. With the release of this new update in Google Search Console, the property sets will come to a permanent end.
With property sets no more functional, webmasters can enjoy relief from manually putting together search console data. In an official email, Google officially announced the scrapping of property sets. Along with it, Google is also expected to bid farewell to some of the old search console features as it revamps by the end of March 2019. Google is also discontinuing certain features with the latest update as webmasters seldom use them.
The Google Search Console update improved the crawl error report. According to Google, the updated version of this feature will be more focused on the issues and patterns used while indexing.
The proposed change will help webmasters fix the issues much faster, and they can also request a quick reprocessing. The new update also pulled the plug from the old Crawl Errors report – for Desktop, Smartphone, and site-wide errors.
It’s also time to forget the old sitemaps report as Google plans to add a few advanced features to the new version with reports on images and videos as new additions.
Also, the new feature-rich sitemap data will make it easier for webmasters to filter out the URLs that they focus on. This feature is already available in the Index Coverage report of the new Search Console.
Fetch as Google
The Fetch as Google feature from the old search console, which was one of the most used features by webmasters will get a new name and life as a URL inspection tool in the new Search Console.
The updated tool will give webmasters the details of indexed pages. In addition to this, Google recently added a new property to check the live URL.
Above all, submitting the URL to reprocess new data will remain the core functionality of the URL inspection tool.
The URL Inspection tool has already become popular among the Updated Search Console users, as it provides more advanced data than the old Fetch as Google.
Managing users has always been a pain in the old search console. The clutter in the interface contributed to the confusion.
Now, Google says that it has fixed the issue as the user management option has been added to the Settings section of the new search console. This means the old user-management feature in the old Search Console will die soon.
Structured Data Dashboard
In 2018, Google had introduced a new structured data feature on its new search console to give users insights on how their Rich Results are performing. Google also included dedicated reports per vertical, be it Jobs, Recipes, Events, or Q&As.
According to Google, removing all the unsupported Rich Results features will reduce the distraction faced by webmasters while fixing issues that don’t impact site displays on the SERP.
Letting go of some old features
Google also says in the blog post that it’s forced to let go of some of the features that webmasters may still find useful.
The highlight is the HTML suggestion that helps webmasters filter out duplicate titles.
Google, in 2018, had introduced a new structured data feature on its new search console to give users insights on the performance of rich results. With the latest update, Google will remove all the non-supported rich results feature from the Search Console.
Between July 14 and 1 August 2018, the Index coverage news switched to a more accurate version, because of this, many webmasters saw changes in their reported index coverage. The period during the switching, no index data coverage was recorded, and whatever value was reflected was estimated to be known from the August 1 values.
While the Google Search Console tool was still in its beta phase, Google added new features proactively. It is also testing features that could become a part of the new Search Console. Since the news of the new feature rollout, Google has not been offering much besides a few tabs like “Performance,” “Sitemaps,” and “Index Coverage.” However, starting from July 2nd week this year, the “URL Inspection Tool” was also added. This new feature took almost a month to become available to all webmasters.
Google URL Inspection Tool Becomes Part of New Search Console Beta – July 2018
Since the second week of July, webmasters have reported a new tab titled “URL Inspection tool.”
This new feature wasn’t available for all webmasters, until this week. Now, the official word of Google is out, and the new feature has been rolled out universally on all beta versions of “Search Console.”
The new tool comes handy for webmasters to perform an inspection of specific URLs. Once you key in the URL that needs to be inspected, the Console will retrieve data from the Google Index.
The webmasters will be provided with details about the sitemap; this includes the URL and the time and date of the last Google crawl if it has been allowed. Additionally, they can also check whether the page was successfully fetched by a Google bot and indexed with user-declared canonical.
Here are a few other new features that Google added recently to the search console dashboard: