Google has announced that it is to add indexed app content to Search Console, the service formerly known as Webmaster Tools. The rebranding exercise was announced earlier in May with the objective of reaching out to more users with an active interest in search marketing. Webmaster Tools was developed originally to enable webmasters to determine indexing status and to equip them with the tools necessary to optimise website visibility. Some functions of Webmaster Tools are:
- The ability to determine which keyword searches on Google resulted in the site getting a listing in the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rankings.
- The ability to create and check a robots.txt file and to determine if pages are being blocked in robots.txt by chance.
- The ability to check and set crawl rate.
Google believes that the traditional label of “webmaster” does not reflect the entire spectrum of its users and hopes that the rebranding of Webmaster Tools will better serve such interested parties as small business owners, SEO experts, hobbyists, marketers, app developers, programmers and designers. However, Google has no intention of ignoring webmasters and wants them to feel included as well.
The update means that anyone using Search Console can determine how well their app content is doing in terms of Google search results via the new Search Analytics report. Users can track the point(s) at which their indexed app content appears in search and determine which app pages are proving the most popular as well as which ones contain errors.
If a user wants to add content, they first need a Google Play account so that Search Console can know they have access to the app. Using the Search Analytics report, the user can obtain information on top queries, traffic by country and top app pages. It is possible to filter a specific query type or region or to filter by impressions, clicks, positions and click-through rate.
For the purpose of avoiding incorrect or confusing search results, Google has decided not to allow deep links for app pages to appear in search results if it experiences difficulties indexing the app content. The search engine giant has developed an alpha version of the Fetch as Google function for users who wish to check if an app URL works.