Year after year, Google sends more and more traffic to websites on the open web. Whether you are a website owner or developer, it is essential to monitor your website, know how users found it, and how to continue improving your website. Here is the latest for developers and website owners wanting to make the most out of the opportunities in Google Search!
Google Search Console
Google Search Console, available to all owners of websites, is the primary tool for understanding how a website is doing in Google Search. Google Search includes reports on the status of websites and website performance and provides settings and diagnostic tools.
One of the most critical aspects of the Google Search Console is verifying ownership of a website. Otherwise, Google Search Console cannot be used. Therefore, verifying on the domain name level is recommended, where the most options are offered.
If creating a website for someone, make it easy for them to verify their website by using an API. It is good to verify your website early on, as data can take a couple of days to appear.
Search Analytics API
The Search Analytics API maps to the performance report in Search Console, giving you information on how your pages perform in Google Search. New in this API is support for Google Discover and Google News, which is interesting for developers allowing them to find creative ways to display and add value on top of the data.
It is important to remember that Google Analytics and Search Analytics in Search Console are two different things. Search Console and its API cover everything in Google Search leading up to a user going to a website. At the same time, Google Analytics looks at everything that happens afterward, once the user is on the website.
You can also request information about clicks, impressions, ranking positions, and search queries. The data is anonymized according to Google’s high intentional standards, being safely stored, allowing you to create dashboards within your websites for the content creators. These dashboards help content creators understand the current situation and work out ways to improve. In addition, by tracking data over time, you can collect insights into stable and periodic trends.
Google Site Kit is an open-source plugin for WordPress that integrates the Search Analytics API that shows how traffic from Search has developed over time while giving you tips on ways to improve. Site Kit is currently being used on over 2 million websites, proving that people find data integration in their CMS practical.
Another way to make the most of the Search APIs is Search Console Insights, an easy-to-use content-analytics tool tailored for similar creators. Search Console Insights provides an intuitive UI with insights, for example, helping creators track the most common search queries leading to their site. In addition, search Console Insight helps creators track their content performance and inspires them with ideas for improvement.
URL Inspection API
With URL Inspection API, developers can check the indexing data for a specific URL on their website. This API maps to the URL inspection tool in Search Console, with the response including the current indexing status, structured data detected, its mobile usability status, and more. The index status includes whether the URL is known to Google Systems, if it has been crawled or indexed, and what the canonical URL is.
It is important to note that Google does not guarantee to index all pages. However, checking for potential technical issues is easier when you know that some pages have dropped from indexing.
The Screaming Frog SEO Crawler is a tool that runs locally and can crawl your website locally to analyze it, giving you insight into how pages are currently linked. In addition, this tool has integrated the URL inspection API, making it easy to check a sample of your pages for their indexing status, allowing you to export it to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
You can also use the URL Inspection API similarly for manual checks or implement it for automatic, periodic reviews to catch issues early on.
Another implementation is the Lost Google Impressions Index Check, which combines a search analytics tool with the URL inspection API. In other words, it looks for pages that have seen a drop in impressions in Search Console and then checks those with the URL Inspection API to display their status.
Videos in Search Console
There is no mistaking that video is an important content format on the web, as well as understanding that more and more users appreciate finding links to videos as answers in Google Search.
Many websites want to highlight their textual and video content in the search results. But how are videos indexed? Google discovers videos on the web, just like any other web page. The first step is indexing the landing page where the video appears, and then Google needs to recognize that there is a video located on the page. Last, Google needs to be able to extract the key information about the video, such as the thumbnail, title, and other metadata, like duration. Websites can provide this information quickly through structured data and other methods.
Video indexing does not rely on where and how you host your videos. You can host videos or use the most popular video hosting platforms and services to make video indexing easier to track and diagnose.
The video page indexing report will show a summary of all the index pages Google found with a video on them while crawling and indexing your website. You will be able to see how many video landing pages a video was indexed or not indexed. The recognized reasons will be grouped with a trend line and counts of the affected videos. The reasons with the largest impact are ranked at the top, helping you narrow down the details and better understand what is happening and how to resolve those issues.
After updating your website and resolving the issue, go back to the video indexing report, select the specific issue type, and use the validate fix button to inform Google that the problem has been fixed, initiating the recrawling of known URLs affected by the issue. As pages are reprocessed, you will be notified if the issue was resolved or if there are any remaining issues.
It is important to remember that it can take some time to review all the URLs. However, you can check the video indexing status. It is as simple as entering the URL of the video landing page at the top of the search console. You will first see the current status of that particular URL, as well as the video index status of the page. You will be informed on whether Search detects a video on the page and if the video was indexed. If the video was not indexed, you will see a list of the reasons preventing the video from being indexed.
Another important note is to remember that Google indexes only one video per page, even if there are multiple videos on the page. With all of the new tools, you will be able to see how many video landing pages Google discovered and how many of them were video indexed. In addition, you will be able to examine why videos were not indexed, and you can use the list of affected video page URLs available to debug and fix issues.
Page Experience Ranking Update
The Page Experience ranking update combined a set of signals that measure how users experience a page, called core web vitals. Core web vitals measure speed, interactivity, and stability. The Page Experience Ranking updated start off with mobile, and recently, Google released the ranking change update for desktop. You can go to the page experience report on Google Search Console to see how your website is doing.
Whether you are a web developer or a website owner, it is essential to understand the tools and updates Google Search offers. In addition, as Google sends more and more traffic to websites on the open web, it is essential to know how these tools work and how they can benefit your SEO.
While many significant updates and tools have been involved in making the web what it is today, there is more to come.