Google Search Console
Perhaps the most important digital marketing news to come out of January is the roll-out of Google Search Console’s new Beta for all users everywhere!
We’ve been waiting months for this roll-out to be accessible to more than a select few and now it’s arrived there’s a lot to be learnt from the new interface and features.
If you don’t already know, Google Search Console is a free service Google offers to help you manage your website’s presence in the search results. It essentially provides you with information about how the search engine’s bots are crawling and understanding your site and allows you to give them additional information like the location of your XML sitemap and any pages you want to have removed from their index.
Firstly, we need to note that for the time being it is possible to access both the old Search Console and new Search Console concurrently.
This is particularly important because at the moment not all of the features we’ve grown to love in the original Google Search Console appear to be available in the new version.
Secondly, you might not be given the option for your properties in Search Console to go to the new version but you technically can still access it by going to search.google.com/search-console and looking for your property in there.
The new Search Console brings with it some exciting new reports such as 16 months worth of data in your account rather than the 90 days that was available before, an index status report that allows you to work out how to fix pages that can’t be indexed but should be and an interesting looking AMP report that helps you understand if your pages are eligible for AMP features in the search results.
Exciting news for all those SEOs, myself included, who have been patiently waiting for this to be available on all their sites.
DuckDuckGo Extends the Reach of Private Search
Growing search engine DuckDuckGo is perhaps one you haven’t heard of but absolutely should be paying attention to.
The tiny search engine (in comparison to the likes of Google) is steadily growing, with a reported 21 million searches conducted on it per day on average.
The search engine built its fame through committing to protect the privacy of its users, including maintaining the anonymity of their searches, unlike Google and Bing that share and sell information on users’ search habits.
Historically this privacy has only been achievable through its browser search. However, the privacy protection has been extended this week to their new look versions browser extension and mobile app, both of which now have built-in tracker blocking, better encryption functionality as well as private search.
Why is this a big deal for marketers? Well, PPC adverts and retargeting campaigns are based on search statistics and the ability to follow people around the internet, so the more people who adopt private search and greater levels of tracking blockers the harder this will be to do.
The DuckDuckGo browser extension and mobile app will also now show you a Privacy Grade rating (A-F) when you visit a website. This rating will allow users to see how protected their information and security is when visiting a website, as well as see if the website is trying to track them. DuckDuckGo’s website says “The Privacy Grade is scored automatically based on the prevalence of hidden tracker networks, encryption availability, and website privacy practices.” This means websites are being held more accountable for the security of their users. Yet another move, alongside Google Chrome’s marking websites as insecure if they do not operate on HTTPS, that should be pushing websites to maintain the highest levels of protection and privacy for their users.
This is a great step forward in protecting users’ data online and making the internet a safer place from malicious companies and hackers, but it could make the day to day job of honest marketers much harder.