Leveraging functionalities report from Google Search Console for SEO

The Google Search Console (GSC) remains an indispensable tool for SEO specialists, this time focusing on the functionalities report . This section of GSC provides a wealth of insights about the technical health and user experience of your Web site. In this article, I dive into the three main components of the functionalities report: page functionality, site vitality, and HTTPS status, to give you a clear picture of how this data can help you optimize your website.

For this insight, I use an old website as an example, which I spend less time on these days, but which still provides valuable data for this kind of analysis. I briefly discuss each section and how I interpret and use the data from the specific reports for trajectories.

Page functionality report

The first segment of the features report focuses on the usability of pages on mobile devices and desktops. It identifies problems such as clickable elements that are too close together, content wider than the screen, and illegible text. Improving these aspects can directly impact the user experience and thus your SEO performance.

Functionalities report (Google Search Console) at a glance

No time for a long article? No problem. Watch the video below for a summary of this article.

Functionalities report (Google Search Console).

What does this report check for?

First, the full list can be found here. A list including my interpretation and what I suspect the impact on SEO might be is below:

For the Page Functionality report in Google Search Console, we can create a table that displays the various checks with an estimate of their priority for SEO. Priority can vary depending on the specific context of the Web site and its current performance, but in general, problems that directly affect the user experience are often given higher priority.

Here is a simplified table of some common checks from the Page Functionality report:

CheckPriorityDescription
Mobile-friendlyHighChecks whether pages are optimized for mobile devices.
Clickable elements too close togetherMediumIdentifies if there are elements on the page that are too close together for proper interaction.
Content wider than the screenHighDetects if there is content that requires horizontal scrolling on mobile devices.
Text too small to readHighChecks that the text size is adequate for readability on mobile devices.
Unused JavaScriptMediumIdentifies JavaScript code that is not being used and may be slowing load time.
Unused CSSMediumLooks for CSS rules that are not being used and unnecessarily weight the page.
HTTPS usageHighVerifies that the website uses a secure HTTPS connection.
Image optimizationMedium to highChecks that images are properly optimized for fast load times.
Functionalities report with impact on SEO by point.

This table is a simplification and actual checks and priorities may vary depending on Google’s specific requirements and ever-changing best practices in SEO. It is always a good idea to follow Google’s latest documentation and guidelines for the most accurate and up-to-date information.

What is interesting is that you can click through in this report and eventually identify certain problems at the URL level (see image below). For your information, you then go to the site vitality section of the Google Search Console.

Now when I click on a URL (within the group suffering from CLS; cumulative layout shift) I move on to the specific problems for this URL. See image below.

So you can get started on two interesting issues:

  1. Perform optimizations at the URL level (which is interesting for specific pages that bring in a lot of traffic and conversions from SEO).
  2. Make optimizations at the URL group level (I use this more often myself, so the impact I make is relatively large). By the way, this is sometimes a cumbersome way, because you can also “just” use Lighthouse’s API and the Screaming Frog tool to create a full export of all pagespeed issues per page (in bulk).

Two more things I find interesting I review above:

  1. It is possible to eventually validate issues that have been resolved with the Google Search Console, so you actually get feedback from Google itself that a particular issue has been resolved.
  2. It is possible to see the progress of the problems you have on a website (is it growing or decreasing etc.). Here again you can make analyses for this.

Read more about the Google Search Console

Site vitality report

Core web vitals are a set of specific factors that Google considers important to the overall user experience of a web page. Within the functionalities report, we gain insight into LCP (Largest Contentful Paint), FID (First Input Delay), and CLS (Cumulative Layout Shift). These metrics provide concrete leads for technical optimizations to your website.

Beyond this report, I covered most of this part of the Google Search Console in the above section of this article.

HTTPS report

In the digital age, security is not optional, but essential. The HTTPS report indicates whether your Web site is using a secure connection. A secure site is important not only for user safety, but also for reliability and ranking in Google.

By the way, important to know, it is actually not common anymore (at least, fortunately in my clientele) for a website to run on HTTP. So I check this report once at the start of a course, but it is almost always right. You can also look in the past to see if there were any problems loading pages via HTTPS.

The importance of correct data interpretation

As with the performance report, it is critical that you interpret the data correctly to make the appropriate optimizations. Whether it’s improving loading speed or ensuring a secure connection, any adjustment should be based on accurate and relevant information from your GSC report.

Summary

The functionalities report within the Google Search Console provides essential insights that any SEO specialist can use to improve a website’s technical SEO and user experience. By carefully analyzing the various components of the report and acting on this data, you can make significant improvements that will benefit both the user experience and your SEO performance.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
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I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.