Google Search Console: Netvantage’s Thoughts on the Redesign

At Netvantage, we’re used to adapting to change, especially with Google changing their algorithm regularly. One thing we aren’t used to is change when it comes to major tools we use. Google Webmaster Tools has added features over the years but never had a major design overhaul like what took place recently. While most of our staff took advantage of the “Go to the old version” link often, it was taken away from us and we’ve been forced to use the updated version for the last month. With this being the most drastic redesign our staff members have ever experienced, we thought we’d share our opinions on the change.

When the new Search Console started to roll out, I was very hesitant to make the official switch over. I kept returning to the old version because I was familiar with it and I didn’t like a lot of the changes the new one rolled out. However, now after being forced to use most of the new features, I’m starting to get the hang of things. One new feature I’m starting to appreciate is how the crawl errors are displayed. Instead of listing a lot of all the URLs under a few different tables in the old version of Search Console, the URLs are now organized into more precise categories or the type of crawl error. This is helpful because it focuses on the URLs that are really affecting your website. Adam HenigeAbbey Hadar
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I’m usually not resistant to change, but with a tool that you depend upon as often as Google Webmaster Tools, it’s a little tough to swallow a new rollout. I don’t necessarily love some elements, like, how come I can no longer submit a single URL and have Google crawl all the linked pages? That was a handy feature when you make several changes at once. For the positives, it certainly seems like the Coverage reports have FAR less false positives for larger sites than the old Crawl Errors report had, which is a big time saver. Another positive is the feedback received in the Enhancements section for structured data. Have recipes on your site? If you’ve got errors, you can get them in this report. That’s very handy. So, all in all, I’m coming to grips with the new version of this tool and am interested to see how it evolves. Adam HenigeAdam Henige
Twitter
I don’t know if it’s a glitch or a “feature”…but I regularly get alerts regarding the mobile usability on various websites. The alerts usually say that some content is wider than the screen size and/or buttons are too close together. Interestingly, these same sites have not been under development in months…so we’ll go 6 weeks with no errors and then all of a sudden get errors for 2 days and then go back to normal with no errors for another 6 weeks. This happens on several sites all of which have been stable and not under development for years. It’s frustrating…but at least I’m learning to ignore the Google that Cries Wolf. Jerod KaramJerod Karam
Twitter
I think there are some layout and usability features in Google Search that my colleagues are addressing. I will take another view that I like the expanded options for looking at data in the Performance tab. This is an important feature for us for on page information for SEO, but I also like using the query, click and position data for PPC purposes. As this data in just a 28 or 90 view in a vacuum, I think that some of the expanded date and comparison features are nice to have. Joe FordJoe Ford
Twitter
I am going to get petty, but one thing I’ve always found frustrating in Google Search Console is you can’t easily go from one Google account to the next. In Analytics you can easily switch Google accounts and get data. In Search Console, you get an error saying you don’t have access to a new property and asks if you want to verify it. Why can’t I be taken to a list of the properties under that Google Account, click on the one I need and easily get data? I’m going to continue being petty by saying, is the finish verification or add a new property really the best opening for the tool? I think not. I want my list of properties back. Lexie KimballLexie Kimball
Twitter
Definitely some pluses and minuses. GSC has many uses but I find that I primarily use it for search query data. Pluses: A ton more search query data to look at. I never understood why Google did not let you keep track of search query data prior to 90 days ago. Now it goes back to up to 16 months. This is now extremely beneficial to websites with smaller impression numbers as well as site owners who are looking to find ways to enhance their existing webpages based on search query data. Minuses: Search query data is now inexact. Impressions and clicks are rounded to the nearest thousands or ten thousands and CTRs and average positions are rounded to the nearest tenths place. It’s not a huge deal but I don’t understand why Google would think that site owners would prefer less exact data. Michael HallMichael Hall
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