You don’t need a Ph.D. to understand SEO.
In this article, we weigh in on the Google Search Console vs Google Analytics debate.
If you’ve owned a website for any length of time, you already understand the importance of analytics.
Analyzing the successes (or struggles) of your website allows you to finetune your marketing strategies, improve your user experience, and understand your return on investment (ROI).
You’ve probably heard the names of some of the most popular analytics tools bandied about—namely, Google Search Console and Google Analytics. In this article, we’ll be walking you through the major highlights of each tool to see if there is a clear winner in the “Google Search Console vs Google Analytics” debate.
What Is Google Search Console (GSC)?
Formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools, Google Search Console gives you keen insights into how your site shows up in Google search results.
GSC provides you with helpful data about:
- Where your site shows up in search engine results;
- The mobile usability of your site;
- The search queries visitors are using to get to your site;
- How many impressions your site is getting (i.e. how many times it’s displayed in the search results);
- How many times visitors click on your site (also known as the click-through rate);
- How quickly they leave your site after viewing a single page (known as the bounce rate).
You can use Search Console data to see how well your website is performing and use that information to improve future digital marketing efforts.
What Is Google Analytics (GA)?
Every time someone visits your website, Google Analytics is watching them, taking detailed notes on their behavior. No, not like Joe Goldberg. More like David Attenborough in the jungles of Peru.
Google Analytics gathers data such as:
- The number of visitors your site receives;
- Their location;
- Which links they click on;
- What device and/or browser they’re using.
Again, you can use this data to fuel your marketing efforts so that your website performs better.
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Google Search Console vs Google Analytics
So, in the showdown between Google Search Console and Analytics, who comes out ahead? Is there even a clear winner?
Let’s break it down.
How They’re Similar
Both Google Search Console and Analytics are SEO tools developed by Google. Both are free to use (although Google Analytics does offer a premium version). And you can use both to help you better understand your website.
However, the very fact that the same tech company feels the need to have both of them should be proof that they are not the same thing.
How They’re Different
The data provided by Google Search Console shows you how your website looks and performs in Google’s search results.
Google Analytics on the other hand, shows you how visitors interact with your website.
In short, Google Search Console shows you how people are getting to your site. Google Analytics shows you what they’re doing once they get there.
So…Which One Is Better?
You might as well ask which part of a Reese’s cup is better, the chocolate or the peanut butter.
When it comes to owning a website, both sets of data are crucial for the health and longevity of your digital footprint.
Think about it this way: You need to advertise your business so that customers know about it. Once they’re there, you need to offer great customer service if you want to make a sale.
Why Does Google Analytics & Google Search Console Data Never Match?
If you’ve used these tools in the past, you’ve probably noticed that they seem to deliver very different results.
One says you got 5,000 visitors last month, another says you got 3,000. What gives? Can you even trust these results?
Don’t worry—both of these tools are accurate. They just process data differently.
For example, both the DuckDuckGo and Firefox browsers block Google Analytics from tracking them, so your GA report won’t include those (while your GSC report will). GSC data is also delayed by a few days, while GA data is tracked instantly.
Ultimately, the biggest reason they don’t match is because they’re designed that way. The data on Google Search Console is designed to track events related to search. The Analytics data is designed to track events happening on your site.
Do You Know Your Website?
Whether you’ve had a website for 12 days or 12 years, knowing what’s going on behind the scenes is essential. And for your money, there’s no better way to keep track of those metrics than Google’s suite of tools.
At Clarity, we eat, sleep, and breathe website data. But we also understand that this passion doesn’t come naturally for a lot of business owners. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to.
When you work with a digital marketing agency, you’re not just getting a consultant, you’re getting a professional who can help you understand the data, formulate a plan, and then execute it for optimal results.
Interested to learn more? Get in touch to schedule your free strategy session.