Earlier this week, Google announced that it has rebranded Google Webmaster Tools as Google Search Console. The company did not announce any new features to accompany the name change, but it didn't take them long to unveil the first updates to the product under the new brand.
On Friday, Google announced the addition of new reports to show how Google understands and treats app content in search results. If you have an Android app, you can open Search Console, and enter your app name. You'll have to use your Google Play account to let it know you have access to the app. If you don't, you'll need to ask the owner to verify it and add you. You'll also have to associate your site with your app, which is required for App Indexing to work. Google notes that it also helps with understanding and ranking app content better.
There's a new Search Analytics report, which shows detailed info on top queries, app pages, and traffic by country. It includes a "comprehensive" set of filters so you can narrow down to a specific query type or region, or sort by clicks, impressions, CTR, and positions.
"Use the Search Analytics report to compare which app content you consider most important with the content that actually shows up in search and gets the most clicks," Google writes in a blog post. "If they match, you’re on the right track! Your users are finding and liking what you want them to see. If there’s little overlap, you may need to restructure your navigation, or make the most important content easier to find. Also worth checking in this case: have you provided deep links to all the app content you want your users to find?"
The Crawl Errors report will show the type and number of errors it detects with your app content. There's also a new alpha version of the Fetch as Google tool for apps to let you see if an app URI works and how Google renders it.
"It can also be useful for comparing the app content with the webpage content to debug errors such as content mismatch," says Google. "In many cases, the mismatch errors are caused by blocked resources within the app or by pop-ups asking users to sign in or register. Now you can see and resolve these issues."
Google announced app indexing as a ranking signal earlier this year at the same time it announced its mobile-friendly update. It just went into effect earlier. At first it was only for signed in mobile users who had the apps installed on their devices. Google has since expanded the signal to include all Android users. It said in April it had indexed 30 billion links within apps.
Images via Google