In a brand-new video, John Mueller shared a few updates in the world of Google Search for site owners. Joining John in this video is Dikla Cohen, a web ecosystem consultant from Google London.
This session is a discussion on the latest in Google Search, which was focused on the latest APIs that are helping SEO professionals to better understand their site in Google Search, including ways that you can diagnose indexing of embedded videos for search.
John began the session by announcing that over 15 percent of all queries submitted every day on Google Search are completely new!
John explained that his takeaway is that everyday people are looking for something new and unique.
Every day, there are chances for new websites to be found.
Year over year, Google has sent more traffic to websites on the open web.
Next, Google Search Console. John explained that Google Search Console is the primary tool from Google for understanding how a site is doing in search.
It’s available to all owners of websites, and includes reports on the site’s status, its performance, and provides settings and diagnostic tools.
John then went into a longer explanation of verifying your site in Google Search Console.
Additionally, he talked about a new API. This allows site owners, who are making a website for others to use, to make it as easy as possible for them to verify their sites.
If you’re using an existing content management system, or building on a hosted platform, this is probably already implemented.
It may take a few days for data to start appearing after verification.
This is why John recommends using this API as an early first step.
New API: Google’s Search Analytics API
There is a new API: Google’s Search Analytics API. This maps to the performance report in Search Console and it helps give you information on how your pages have performed in search.
The new thing in this API is support for Google Discover and Google News. This is interesting for developers because you can find creative ways to display and add value on top of the data.
For example: while Search Console’s interface shows only 1,000 words, you could potentially show more or add a layer of advanced analysis and data visualization.
As an aside, note that Google Analytics and Search Analytics in Search Console are different things. Roughly speaking, Search Console and its APIs cover everything in Google Search leading up to a user going to a website.
Google Analytics, on the other hand, looks at everything that happens afterward, once a user is on the website.
The measurements are slightly different, so even though trends may be the same, the exact numbers are not going to match.
With the Search Analytics API, it’s possible to request information about clicks, impressions, ranking position, and search queries for the whole website or parts of it.
The data is anonymized according to Google’s high internal standards and can be safely stored on your end.
This allows you to create useful dashboards within your sites for the content creators.
These dashboards will help them understand the current situation and work out ways to improve.
Google Site Kit: An Open Source Plugin for WordPress
This is another new update – the Google Site Kit. It’s a plugin for WordPress that’s open source, and it integrates the Search Analytics API (among others).
John said that this plugin is now being used on over 2 million websites.
Google Is Looking for CMS Partners
In addition, if you’re working on a CMS for others, John explained that they are working with a few platforms to build similar tools for their users with the same API Site Kit, and they’re looking for more CMS partners to join.
Please get in touch with them if you’re interested.
For example, EC|Cube, an e-commerce platform from Japan, has made use of the search analytics API to create a custom plugin for their users.
The report shows clicks and impressions along with average ranking for top keywords and pages. The plugin now comes pre-installed on new EC|Cube-based sites.
Google Search Console Insights
John also explained that there’s a new section in Google Search Console called Google Search Console Insights.
This particular section allows content creators to track their content’s performance and helps give them inspiration with ideas for how they can improve.
The metrics are also easy to fetch from the API, so you can add motivational milestones to your website.
URL Inspection API
There is also a new URL inspection API. With this 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. The API response includes, among other things:
The current indexing status, any structured data detected, and its mobile usability status.
The index status includes whether the URL is known to Google systems, if it’s been crawled, indexed, and what the canonical URL is.
For example, a page can have a declared preferred canonical URL, but sometimes Google won’t choose it.
Through the API, you can check both URLs and quickly test the difference.
This makes it possible to regularly check a critical sample of your site’s pages for their availability in search.
John also noted that Google doesn’t guarantee indexing of all pages.
One tool John mentioned that SEO professionals can use to take advantage of the API is Screaming Frog. It has also integrated the URL inspection API to make it easy to check a sample of your pages for their indexing status, allowing you to export it to a spreadsheet for further analysis.
It is possible to use the API for manual checks or implement it for automatic periodic checks to catch issues early on.
Another neat implementation is the Lost Google Impressions index check from Dave Smart.
This tool combines the search analytics tool with the URL inspection API. In short, 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.
This is a neat way to combine the two APIs. If you’re building a website, you could combine the APIs in a similar way to automatically inform the operator of potential trouble before it becomes a potential problem.
Video Indexing on Google Search
During the next segment of the presentation, Dikla Cohen, a web ecosystem consultant from Google London, took over and talked about video indexing.
Dikla provided a number of tips that should help SEO professionals understand how videos are indexed and appear in search.
Dikla explained that Google discovers videos on the web just like any other web page.
The first step is indexing the landing page where the video appears. Then, Google needs to recognize that there’s a video that’s prominently located on the page.
Finally, Google needs to be able to extract key information about the video. Things like the thumbnail, title, and other metadata such as the video’s duration. Sites can provide this easily through video structured data or other methods.
It’s also worth noting that video indexing does not rely on where and how you host your videos.
It’s possible to host the videos yourself, or you can use any number of the most popular video hosting platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
New Set of Video Tools in Search Console
Dikla also announced that Google is going to launch a new set of reports and tools in Search Console, in order to make video indexing easier to track and diagnose.
The video page and index report is a new one that will show a summary of all the indexed pages or systems found with a video on them while crawling and indexing your site.
You will be able to see how many video landing pages have “video was indexed,” or “not indexed.” Recognized reasons are grouped with a trendline, along with counts of the affected videos.
For example, you would be able to see which videos are missing a thumbnail URL.
With this section, you can narrow down the details and more easily understand what is happening with videos and how to resolve issues on your site.
After you update the site, when you’re confident that the issue is resolved, you can go back to the video indexing report.
You can go to that specific issue type and use the validate Fix button to inform Google.
This will initiate the recrawling of known URLs affected by the issue. And as the pages are reprocessed, you will be notified if everything is resolved, or if there are remaining issues.
It can take some time to go through all of the URLs. You can also check the video indexing status, which John had mentioned earlier.
New Google Search Console Video Tools Make Diagnosis and Repair Even Easier
These updates are indeed very exciting, and with the new tools, it’s possible to see how many video landing pages Google discovered, and how many of them were indexed, and examine the reasons for indexed videos and video landing pages.
You can use the list of affected video page URLs to debug and repair issues. You can also validate the fix to initiate the recrawling of known URLs.
These tools should help streamline the video publishing process and make it easier.
Page Experience Ranking Change Updates
Dikla also went over the latest in the page experience ranking updates.
In Q4 2021 alone, as a result of the page experience update, Google was able to save users over 1,000 years of time waiting for pages to load due to the page experience program.
Clearly, the page experience update has presented a significant milestone when it comes to Google’s latest innovations and technologies.