Google Search Console’s change from Webmaster Tools was tough to say the least.
As is the case with any major update or rollout, the platform unveiled itself in a very slow and somewhat disjointed manner. At face value, important tools were lost and/or deprecated.
Slowly but surely however, many are starting to find their way back. These include the famous URL parameter tool, International Targeting, Messages and more. With that, it’s important to understand why and how this might impact your website/business.
It’s not the handiest of tools when it comes to SEO, but the messages feature streamlined updates and alerts that could otherwise get buried in a universal email account. This is an Occam’s Razor scenario, and it’s likely the case this feature was rolled back to do just that. Visit the messages report under ‘legacy tools’ to learn more about issues, performance, etc..
This nifty tool provides insight into Google crawl activity on a daily basis.
Its temporary absence in late 2019 was a little surprising as it’s instrumental in quickly determining issues like broken code, stale content, unsupported content and/or issues with robots.txt.
Google likely felt users could get this information else ware and/or infer much of it via their Coverage Report. Yet, it’s proven time and again to be a great starting point to investigate these deeper issues.
The web tools interface previously gave SEOs access to things like experience reports and micro data testing. While much of what’s in there has been integrated into GSC in some way shape or form, it’s still a quick and easy way to navigate to stand alone platforms. This includes things like Google Analytics, GMB and more.
International targeting displayed hreflang stats while giving control over targeting. With a little understanding of the breadth and depth of a website, the information here can quickly provide webmasters reassurance that tags were implemented properly and across all important pages. It also lists errors for those that aren’t.
URL Parameter Tool
The URL Parameter Tool was a staple of Webmaster Tools. Unwieldy and dangerous at times, it gave site owners lots of control over crawl budget.
With its disappearance from GSC In 2019, it left some site owners thinking it was no longer needed. Unbeknownst to some however, it remained as a separate feature, and up until recently found its place back into GSC under ‘legacy tools.’
This is one of the more difficult scenarios to comprehend. However it’s possible it’s loss and rollback was a result of over-confidence in an unavoidably fast paced market with rapidly antiquating systems. In fact, with a growing index of web data and site owners looking for the most efficient ways to dynamically grow their content base, the URL parameter tool’s more important than ever.
While there are more, these are the 5 of the most consistently seen legacy tools across most site owner accounts. Google likely pumped the brakes on most because they either felt the information was accessible else ware and/or wasn’t insightful enough on its own. This is a good thing because it suggests they’re prioritizing for the end user.
Regardless of reason, and despite what Google may or may not have led users to think, virtually all legacy tools have some sort of intrinsic value. The key to recognizing it is understanding how they work in conjunction with others / why they’re still around, and where they may go in the near future.
If you’re not a weathered SEO and/or new to web marketing, it’s easy to get lost in the myriad of changes GSC has undergone — and in just a short period of time. But rest assured Rowe Digital’s equipped with a quick and easy guide to help navigate some of the more recent changes. Stay tuned for more information about some features that haven’t made it back, like ‘html improvement’ and ‘content keywords.’