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Should you be using the new Google Search Console?

matt-willson
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If your website is registered with Google’s Search Console (used to be called Webmaster Tools), you might have had an email from Google recently, telling you about the new version.

Still in Beta, it’s currently quite limited in the data it offers – but it does give us an idea of the direction Google is taking Search Console, and what functionality we can look forward to.

For now, we’re just getting two tabs – Status and Sitemaps:

1. Status

The first dataset is headed “Performance”, and gives data on performance in search –  keywords, clicks, impressions, click-through-rate and search position. It’s similar to what’s on offer in the Search Analytics section of the “old” Search Console, albeit with a clean new design.

The second dataset is headed “Index Coverage”, with data on the pages of your site that are indexed, and those that aren’t. This section is an improvement on the “old” version, with data on the “Excluded” pages, as well as those that Google has indexed and any causing an error. Benefits include:

  • You can check you have redirects setup properly by comparing redirect pages within the Excluded section with those you have in your redirects file on the website.
  • You can see which pages are set to “noindex” – and quickly see if you’ve left important pages noindex-ed by mistake.

2. Sitemaps

Similar to what we’ve seen before, again with a nice redesign, this section offers a breakdown on sitemaps you’ve submitted, and breaks them down into separate child sitemaps, if they’re referred to in your main, submitted sitemap.

The innovation here looks to be limited to a cross-reference between sitemaps and index coverage – although often (for smaller sites) this remains greyed out, only working with larger, busier sites that benefit from more data.

And so far… that’s it. Click the “Coming Soon” tab, and all you get it a page telling you to submit a request for new functionality (and we all know that’s not going to make any difference to Google’s plans).

So should you use the new Search Console yet?

By all means have a look, especially if you’re going through your indexed page data – but you won’t be getting anything that the old version doesn’t give. Wait for the next round of updates – and stick with the old Search Console for now.