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Recent Changes In Google Search Console

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It is said that change is the only constant thing in the world and Google has taken it by heart for its Search Console tool. We have been seeing some recent changes that make the tool more efficient, relevant, and easy to understand. Let’s go through the changes that have been made in the tool so far this year.

The Search Console URL Inspection API

It gives programmatic access to URL-level data for properties that you manage in the Search Console. You can access data outside of the tool with the help of external applications and products. The APIs within the platform can build custom solutions to view, add, or remove properties and sitemaps. It is also used to run advanced queries on Search performance data.

This new tool allows developers to debug and optimize pages. You can also request the data for indexed versions of your URLs. This API will return the indexed information currently available in the URL Inspection tool.

Removal of URL Parameters Tool

With the URL Parameters tool, site owners had detailed control over how Google crawls their site by specifying how certain parameters affect the content on the website.

Google Search Console URL Parameters interface screenshot from 2009

The URL Parameters interface in 2009

Over the years, Google improved which parameters are and are not useful on a site. In fact, about only 1% of the parameter configurations specified in the tool were useful for crawling. Hence, the tool was removed due to its low contribution value.

Update Item Classification

In this change, Google grouped the top-level items (such as rich results for the rich result reports as a page or URL) into two groups based on validity: pages/items with critical issues are labeled as invalid and the ones without critical issues are labeled as valid

This new grouping makes it easier to quickly judge which issues are affecting your site’s appearance on Google and helps in prioritizing the fixes. This was only a reporting change in Search Console and it does not impact how Google Search crawls, indexes, or serves a website’s pages.

Screenshot of old Google Search Console troubleshooting report

Screenshot of the old style of reporting within Google Search Console

Screenshot of Google's updated report dashboard

Screenshot of Google’s updated report dashboard

Video Index Report

The video indexing report shows how many indexed pages on your site contain one or more videos, and on how many of those pages a video could be indexed.

If Google detects videos on the site, the video indexing report will appear on the left navigation bar in the coverage section. If Google has not detected a video on the site, the report will not be seen. In addition, this also helps in fixing the existing issues with videos on your pages. You can use this report to validate the fix and track how the fixed video pages are updated in Google’s index.

Google Search Console Video Indexing Report

Google Search Console video indexing report lists issues with videos on your website to streamline your optimization process.

Conclusion

Some of the above mentioned changes will take a few months to fully roll-out on the Google Search Console tool. But regardless of that, so far, the changes have made data dissection on the tool much easier for its users. Going forward, with more changes coming, the task of identifying the errors and fixing them will become much easier to understand, as well as to implement.  

If you have any questions about your Google Search Console updates or data, don’t hesitate to reach out to NetElixir!

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