Google Changes Webmaster Console to Canonical Generic Search Results

Google starting in April, will be using Canonical URL for reporting generic search results.  This development is a change to how they display existing Webmaster Generic Search results. Mobile or AMP pages will be shown as one listing enabling and enhancing identification process of AMP and mobile-friendly reporting.

Google will backdate all records to January 2018, and display both old and new versions during the transition to visualize the disparities.  Google recommends modifying access to traffic reports, to enable each report for the intended.  

Website data will shift from non-canonical results, to the canonical results. All data from a mobile site will shift to the canonical search results. This change will drastically change the search results published.  Canonicalization is at the page level and there will be a discrepancy between desktop and mobile results.   AMP, (Accelerated Mobile Pages) traffic will likely be zero.

Google stated that this change provides these benefits:

  • Display the “full picture about a specific piece of content in one property
  • Mobile or AMP pages results shown as one.
  • Displaying more results then previous versions

The Impact

  • Every website will see traffic results as canonical going forward conjoining non canonicals.
  • Every website generic search mobile result will only show canonical URL’s.
  • Filtering of data by device, type of canonical, country, and other dimensions without losing important information about your generic search traffic.
  • Drastic change in traffic results from non-canonical, to the canonical URL.

Conclusion

SEOs depend on the results shown in generic search console. These changes will likely confuse many, disenfranchise some and limit knowledge available to SEO’s in the industry.   The time it takes to fully understand what and why will increase and is critical when setting website SEO strategy going forward.   Google changes will conceal some data and show everything differently they the prior model.   This might be good for Google but not for the rest of the industry that has relied on this source of data for many years.

Jeff Douglas