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Google analytics vs Search Console - Uses and differences

Digital Marketing / Web

Google Analytics & Search Console: Uses & Differences

January 6, 2020

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Digital marketing strategists are pretty comfortable working with numbers which makes it all the more important to have a strong grasp on Google Analytics. The plenty of resources that come along helps to strengthen digital marketing and SEO strategy. With this, Google Webmasters Tools (GWT) is an important and free resource to assist users to unlock a pool of valuable information about a website, its visitors and how they interact and overall user behavior.

As a creative digital agency, we strongly recommend two of the most valuable resources that come along the GWT suite namely: Google Analytics and Google Search Console but, what’s the difference between them both? Once you’re clear with the difference between the two tools, the information would help you analyze the performance of your website. While both of them are useful, they serve a completely different purpose.

In simple words, Google Analytics give you statistical insights, data points and numbers that tell overall performance of the website. Breaking down the details, you’ll get to know about the audience using the website, how did they find it in the first place, total number of visitors, source of origin, total time spent on the website and overall behaviour as they crawl.

On the contrary, Search Console is to make a website better and optimised in every way. The information you get is about audience that correlates most to your website or business nature, possible technical errors, detailed insights on high-performing keyword searches and more. Let’s have a detailed look into both of the tools, know their differences and how you can make most out of the two.

Tracking with Google Analytics

More than 10,000 metrics approximately can be tracked through Google Analytics which certainly sounds overwhelming. Still, it’s worth knowing that some of these metrics are important than others especially when assessing your digital marketing efforts and website performance. Google Analytics thus helps in moving you smoothly. Some of the important metrics to track here would be:

Audience Demographics

google analytics demographics report

It gives you a glimpse of the audience type/genre that visits your website mostly. Are they business professionals? What’s the age group? Any gender preferences? Are there any retirees or young entrepreneurs? All of the information helps in updating the website which reflects perfectly to the target audience and niche market. You can even see gender and age-based demographic details of your website visitors.

Acquisition

Just as the name indicates, acquisition is all about drawing potential visitors to a website thereby increasing traffic. It helps you understand source of the visitor’s origin and how did they find your website in the first place. Google Analytics will further dissect visitors in the following groups:

google analytics aquisition report

Direct: Users that enter your website’s domain name directly in their browser referring to visitors who intentionally visit your website

Referral: Users who get to know about your website from a secondary source like a blog or a third-party website

Organic Search: Users who land on your website while conducting an online search as yours appeared in the search results

Social Media: These are users who come to your website through a social media platform like Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook

Email: Users who reach your website from a link in the email like an official newsletter

Landing Page Performance

google analytics landing page report

If you want to convert visitors into leads and loyal customers in the long run, target landing pages and optimize them in the best possible way. Google Analytics will brief you about landing pages that are already returning best performance against your website goals.

Time Spent

google analytics time spent report

It lets you know how long visitors stay in a website. A report from HubSpot indicated that nearly 55 percent visitors spend less than 15 seconds before moving away to another site. If you’re closely paying attention to this particular metric, you can improve overall website’s bounce rate by toning it as per reading, learning and entertainment factors. Highly professional digital marketing and website development Company arranges a short session to brief on this particular factor to gain optimum results.

Exclusive Pageviews

google analytics unique pageviews report

Exclusive or unique pageviews refer to the number of individuals or people who’ve visited a particular website’s page at least once. By carefully eyeing on this metric, you’ll get to know the number of times each of a webpage has been visited thus giving a more realistic sense as to who’s actually coming to the website, purpose or intent and your approach accordingly.

Tracking with Google Search Console

To get all the crucial SEO information of your website directly from Google, Search Console is just the answer. Make sure you don’t just install it but use the tool to boost organic traffic and improve overall SEO performance. Here’s all you can do with the Search Console:

Search Analytics

search console overall performance report

With search analytics report generated by the Google Search Console, you can gain insights on overall performance and website’s health on the search engine. The report would breakdown the sections into:

Queries & Clicks: Keywords against which search queries occurred over Google Search. Whereas ‘clicks’ are total clicks or number of time users landed on your page through search engine result.

search console overall performance report - clicks and queries

Impressions & Click-Through Rate (CTR): ‘Impressions’ refer to the number of links associated to your website as displayed on the Google search results. Total number of clicks divided by the total impression count gives us click-through rate (CTR).

search console overall performance report - impressions and ctr

Position: Average position of your website against the topmost results.

search console overall performance report - average position

Website Links

search console links report

One of the primary functions or purpose of Google search algorithm is making sense of the web’s existence against the links. It means the more your content has been externally linked (links from third-parties), greater would be the impact of SEO practices and ranking to your website which is why you should closely pay attention to this particular metric. You’ll get to know about source of linking, content which is associated to it and anchor text used by other websites which links back to your content.

Internal Links

search console internal link report

How Google crawls through the website, associated links and connection between both can be observed through this particular section of Search Console tool. This is different from most of the other tools because it lets you know Googlebot behaviour as it crawls through the website in addition to overall performance of associated website pages and respective sections.

Mobile Friendly

Search console mobile usability report

It’s almost 2020 and mobile isn’t going anywhere when it comes to define overall digital experience. A mobile-friendly and optimised website is therefore more important today as Google demotes and disregard websites that aren’t for the mobile devices.

Best Keyword Queries

This may be one of the most important reports you can extract from Google Search Console because it lists down all the high-performing and most competitive keyword queries as identified by Google and searched heavily by users all over the world. The report also indicates your website and keyword ranking, total clicks, impressions and CTR against each query.

search console keyword report

The keyword on the website have to reflect corporate vision, mission, services, products, theme and purpose to website development. Take for instance a business offering legal financial services where a random person, having no connection to the industry would eventually know where you rank on Google against the services and relevancy to the search query.

Index Coverage Report

search console url inspection report

Google Search Console categorizes its report into four different sections for clarity namely: errors, valid, excluded and/or valid with warnings. Details in the report help you understand Google behavior and what it actually validates. You can actually fix website errors by clicking them thus optimizing your site for Google, hence the rankings and position against the search results.

Verifying the Website on Google Search Console

To setup a Google Search Console account is super easy and it can be done following a few simple steps as defined below:

  • Use your Google/Gmail credentials to login the Search Console account
  • On successful login, a textbox appears where you will enter the website’s URL and a “Add Property” tab
  • On providing the URL in the textbox, hit the Add Property button which will add the website to the Search Console
  • Google will then verify the website using the domain name or HTML metatag

Difference Between Google Analytics & Search Console

Search Console and Analytics data don’t usually match as compared to the results from other tools. This may be due to:

  • Additional data processing performed by the Search Console for instance; management of duplicate content and visits from robots causing fluctuation in the statistics
  • Google Analytics and some of the other tools only monitor traffic coming from users having a JavaScript browser. Just in-case the website is missing the code, Analytics wouldn’t track the page visits however, it can be done via Search Console
  • In the Search Console, keywords page displays only the most important ones to your website as per Google
  • Analytics describe keywords for both search engine queries and Google Ads paid keywords

Digital Marketing Experts advice using both Google Analytics and Search Console to optimize the website in every way to rank it on the top of search results as well as boost performance and element of user-friendliness.