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Google Search Console Makes Improvements to Performance Reports Regular Expression Support And More Data Filtering Added To Search Console

author image Written by: Nicole McCormick           Categories - In The News

Google announced yesterday that improvements have been made to Google Search Console reports. This includes support for regular expressions within the filters of the performance reports, and improved data filtering in comparison mode.

“This will help you create more complex query and page based filters and answer more questions that interest them,” said Google in a recent blog post.

For those who are unfamiliar, regular expressions, also known as regex, are text strings used in advance searches.

You can access the new and improved regular expressions in the performance report under a query or page filter – just select the dropdown menu and click “Custom.”

Here is an example provided by Google that explains what this looks like:

“Let’s say your company is called ‘cats and dogs’ but is sometimes also abbreviated as ‘cats & dogs’ or even ‘c&d’. You can use a regex filter to capture all of your branded queries by defining the regex filter: cats and dogs|cats & dogs|c&d.”

These updates should come as no surprise for regular console users, as many have been expecting such improvements to be rolled out over the past year.

In fact, in December 2020, an anxious Twitter user asked Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, John Mueller, if Google was planning to add regexp filter into the Google Search Console performance report.

John responded: “Yes, we have a plan. Unfortunately I can’t share it with you.”

Now, four months have passed and Google has finally revealed what it has been up to.

Despite the excitement being felt throughout the digital marketing industry, Google offered the following disclaimer regarding the new updates. 

“Sometimes, queries and pages are not available in the reports to protect user privacy or due to storage limitations. In order to make sure our users are aware of this, we added a reminder that shows each time a relevant filter is applied on queries or pages.”

For more info on the updates to Google Search Console, you can check out Google’s official help document.

Read More: Google Search Console Adds Regular Expression Support And More Data Filtering To Performance Reports  

Read More: SEOs Rejoice: Google Search Console Gains Regular Expressions & More Data Filters  

Nicole McCormick

Nicole is a wordsmith wizard, passionate about the written word and an avid storyteller who uses creatively crafted prose to help bring your brand’s story to the next level. A former journalist with writing credits in both local and national news publications and a few newspaper awards under her belt, Nicole now enjoys telling your stories and finding new and creative ways to create valuable content that resonates with audiences in the digital landscape.

Google Removes Two Widgets from Page Experience Report

08/06/2021

Google has made some significant updates to an important feature that helps SEOs understand how their sites rank.

Page experience’ is an important concept for SEOs and site owners. The term refers to a set of signals that, as Google describes, “measure how users perceive the experience of interacting with a web page beyond its pure information value.”

Page experience contains a few important factors site owners should consider – notably, Core Web Vitals are included. These are a set of three metrics (loading speed, responsiveness, and visual stability) that play a major role in a site’s performance on SERPs.

READ MORE: LAUNCHED: Google’s Page Experience Update Begins Rollout

For SEOs, the Search Console’s Page Experience Report is a lifesaver. It summarizes key information that pertains to what users experience on a site owner’s page, as well as how that information can lead to successful page rankings.

This week, Google made a few changes to the Page Experience Report in an effort to make the tool’s information clearer. Read about these changes below.

The Safe Browsing Widget is Leaving

Previously, the Page Experience Report contained a ‘safe browsing’ widget. This tool would inform the reader if their page had any issues pertaining to user safety.

Google has removed this feature from the Page Experience Report, saying the following:

“Safe Browsing systems at Google are designed to keep users safe on the internet. Sometimes sites fall victim to third-party hijacking, which can cause Safe Browsing warnings to be surfaced.

We recognize that these issues aren’t always within the control of site owners, which is why we’re clarifying that Safe Browsing isn’t used as a ranking signal and won’t feature in the Page Experience report.”

Search Console will still inform site owners about safe browsing ‘flags’ but this will no longer exist in the Page Experience Report to avoid confusion.

The Ad Experience Widget is Leaving

Google is removing a second widget from the Page Experience Report: the ‘ad experience’ widget.

This widget would inform the user whether or not advertisements and similar materials violated the ‘Better Ads Standards,’ a set of guidelines followed to create user-friendly ads.

Since ad experience is not directly relevant to page experience, its widget has been removed from the Page Experience Report.

Beyond removing two widgets, Google has also made a few minor tweaks to the page experience report. Read more about these changes here.

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Google Team Members Share Advice for Dealing with Hackers and Spam

07/09/2021

A discussion on spam during a recent episode of Google’s Search Off The Record podcast made two things clear: first, site owners and SEOs should be aware of hack spam, and second, they should avoid trying to fight spammy competitors with equally poor tactics.

Spam has been at the top of mind for Google’s team and SEOs alike – just two weeks, ago Google finished launching its two-part spam update, which aimed to remove spammy content from SERPs.

READ MORE: Google Confirms Second Part of Spam Update Has Arrived

Duy Nguyen, a member of Google’s Search Quality team, appeared on the podcast with Webmaster Trends Analyst John Mueller.

Adding onto their explanation of how Google handles spam, their conversation turned to an airing of spam-related grievances, and when asked what bothers him on the web, Nguyen spoke about spam caused by hackers.

“A lot of the ‘hack spam’ that takes place today any hacking,” Nguyen explained. “A lot of the tools and scripts that people discovered five six years ago are still being used today to exploit websites – especially older websites.”

Nguyen explained that site owners using old content management systems (CMS) are the most vulnerable. These systems, he explained, have been around long enough for hackers to figure out entirely.

Mueller suggested that site owners who don’t plan to update their content should use a static HTML site rather than a CMS like WordPress. The team also explained that keeping a website fully updated can stop hackers from successfully breaking in.

They also added that using Google Search Console can protect sites against hackers.

With Search Console, site owners “would have more data and they would realize that, ‘oh, yeah, running this very old version of CMS really hinders the site’s potential.’”

Dealing with Spammy Competitors

On the same episode, Mueller and Nguyen talked about what happens to site owners who use spam-fueled tactics to improve their rankings on SERPs. Mueller said he is often asked by site owners what to do if they obey Google’s webmaster guidelines, but find that competitors who disobey them perform better.

Answering the question, the team explained that Google avoids rewarding sites for using spammy language or tactics. However, if a spammy site performs well, there are plenty of factors aside from spam that could explain their successful performance.

Otherwise, Mueller and Nguyen recommend sending Google a spam report.

You can learn more about the Search Off The Record podcast here.

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