Google Search Console Provides More Tools to Find Website Problems

The Search Console's purpose is to give website administrators ways to quickly identify and fix site issues that could affect ranking in Google search results.

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The company this week announced what it described as an extensive redesign of its Search Console feature for monitoring and maintaining website performance on Google Search.

The redesign, according to Google, is intended to meet at least three major objectives—to give webmasters more actionable insights, to better support organizational workflows and to enable a faster feedback loop between Google and site owners.

As part of the redesign, Google will now group any issues that its crawlers discover on a site under common root-causes so web administrators can more quickly identify and fix code errors. 

Any identified site issues will be further classified into tasks, similar to bug tracking dashboards, so administrators can keep track of issues that remain open of to see if Google's crawlers have detected the effects of any fixes that might have been applied.

Google's Search Console redesign will also include a new function that allows people involved in diagnosing, implementing and fixing website issues a way to share action items with each other. The sharing functionality will enable a better workflow for groups involved in maintaining websites, said John Mueller, a member of Google's Search Console Team on the company's Webmaster Central blog.

Google has also introduced a new mechanism that allows webmasters and administrators to do on-the-spot testing of site fixes.

The functionality eliminates the need for website owners to have to wait for Google bots to re-crawl their site to determine if any fixes they have applied to code is working as intended Mueller said.  If the on-the-spot testing shows that the fixes a site has made are okay, Google will speed up re-crawling on that site. 

"The testing tools will include code snippets and a search preview so you can quickly see where your issues are, confirm you've fixed them, and see how the pages will look on Search," Mueller said.

Over the next few weeks Google will also release beta versions of two new features in Search Console. One of them is what Google calls an Index Coverage report and the other is a report that identifies issues related to its Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) protocol for mobile browsing.

The Index Coverage report will give administrators information such as the total number of pages on their site that Google has indexed, why some pages could not be indexed and tips—along with examples—of how to address indexing issues.

The AMP issues report likewise will provide administrators with information on issues that could be affecting their website ranking on mobile search results. Issues will be grouped by error and administrators will be able to drill down into each issue to identify root causes and to fix them. Once identified issues have been fixed, administrators can instantly verify them and then have Google re-crawl their site.

Both, the Index Coverage and the AMP report will initially be only available to a small set of users, Mueller noted. Website owners will start beginning to see the effects of the broader redesign itself in the coming weeks.

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.