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Recently Google introduced quite a few changes in some of their tools. This concerned changes in Search Console (combine properties in sets) and large improvements in the Mobile Friendly test(s) and the Structured data test tool.

All these changes are nice improvement for us website administrators and are very welcome, they help to make our life easier. Of course, Google constantly improves and changes their tools, but in te last few weeks they really rolled out a lot of updates, so let's take a look at the changes.

Google Search Console: Combine properties in sets

This is actually a change that has been on many web designer's list. Especially if you maintain many websites and register them all in Google Search Console, this list may become larger and larger. But also you need to register all versions of your site:

  • With and without www
  • With and without https
  • Multiple subdomains
  • And also all combinations of the above

This can easily make you end up with more than 10 versions of your site., making your list of properties to maintain even longer. A very logical step would, of course, be to combine all these into one, and finally, since May 2016, this is now possible. And the process is really easy indeed: sign into your account and you will immediately notice a new button at the top-right next to the familiar Add A Property button, called Create Set:

Click it, and you will be prompted to give it a name and indicate the properties you would want in the set. In this example you see the set I created for my own site with all 6 properties I already had:

 

From this moment on, you can keep on checking your site in the combined view of the set. Sets are shown at the top of your list of properties (you still have access to the separate views too). Initially, nothing is shown, but from now on data will be aggregating, so just come back in a few days to see your data building up:

As you see, the information mainly concerns search analytics data and messages. You cannot use the set for actual configuration work, like setting-up sitemaps, removing URL's and stuff like that. For that, you still have to use the individual properties of your website.

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New Mobile Friendly Test

Google already stated that this year, mobile friendliness of your site is increasingly important. Probably for this reason, they built a new Mobile Friendly Test (the old one still lives at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/). It's as easy to use as the old tool, but if you see it, you will immediately see the differences:

There's not that much to tell, the tool is very easy to use and self-explanatory.

Think with Google

Google also published www.testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com. In contrast wth the Mobile Friendly test I just discussed, this one rates performance and usability rather than accessibility for Google. Roughly this is like a pretty version of Google Pagespeed Insights, which is more aimed at developers. This new test basically gives a rough score at first sight:

You can request a full report by email if you click the Get my free report button, but you can also click the yellow arrow at the bottom to scroll to the detailed version of the analysis. This gives you some more feedback on the separate 3 points that are rated: Mobile Friendliness, Mobile Speed and Desktop Speed. But finally, you can also click the See what to fix links to get some really detailed information about how the score was calculated and what to fix exactly, like this example for the Mobile Speed score of 66 points:

From here, there are no further details. If you need those, go to Google Pagespeed Insights and rerun the test. This will give you details about exactly which files need improvement, like specific Javascript files, images, etcetera.

New Structured Data Test

 Also, the interface for the Structured Data Test has been revamped:

Though the result still seems similar, checking your data is done much more thorough now. So, if you haven't used the tool recently, check it out again.