On Thursday, during a Google NYC meetup, which was hosted by Google’s John Mueller and Martin Splitt of Google developer relations, a preview was given of some changes that are on their way to the public.  Mueller said that the changes are related to image search.  Google is currently in the works to switch the remaining sites to mobile-first indexing and will be dropping the old version of Google Search Console soon.

According to Mueller, image search is going to be a “bigger topic” this year for the SEO and webmaster community.  Rather than thinking about how image search works right now, where you can find images to include in presentations, think about how searchers using image search differently.  Searchers could be using image search to accomplish tasks, complete goals, purchase goods online, and more.  This kind of searcher behavior will require SEOs and webmasters to think differently about optimizing for image search.

Mueller didn’t go into much detail about these changes, but more details should emerge in the upcoming months.

Google is in the prepping stages to replace the old Google Search Console completely.  Several reports have been dropped already have have been replaced in the new console.  Even more of these old reports will be dropped, including the crawl errors report, the property sets feature, Android app features, HTML suggestions report and the blocked resources report.  According to the company, there will be more details about the changes soon.  For Google, the hopes are to drop the old version sometime in March.

A blog post was published by Google after the story went live, which documented the upcoming changes.  Google isn’t going to replace the crawl errors API.  The old sitemaps report will be turned off, although the new sitemaps report has the most of the functionality.  Google will be adding the missing that is currently not there soon.  It’s recommended that webmasters should use the Index Coverage report for tracking these URLs.

The fetch as Google will be going away but URL inspection tool is the replacement for that tool. User management for access to Google Search Console has been replaced by the settings section in the new Search Console. Older structured data will not be reported in the new Google Search Console, to not distract webmasters from critical issues. Google said they are committed to providing reporting on structured data including Jobs, Recipes, Events, Q&A and others adding “When Google encounters a syntax error parsing Structured Data on a page, it will also be reported in aggregate to make sure you don’t miss anything critical.”

Right now, about half of Google’s search results  are going through the mobile-first index, but Google is working on moving the rest to mobile-first indexing soon.

Google’s plan is to communicate more, through the Google Search Console, helping webmasters get their sites ready for mobile-first indexing.  It will communicate any issues they see so those webmasters can fix those issues before the switch happens.

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