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Google Search Console Vs Google Analytics: A Comprehensive Comparison and Guide

By Devin Hargrove |

Google Analytics and Google Search Console are invaluable tools for running any website, and especially an online business.

For new website owners, a comparison of Google Search Console vs Google Analytics is important to understand what each tool is good for, when you should use them, and how to set the two tools up.

This is what you need to know to get started today.

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics

Google Search Console, formerly Google Webmaster Tool, is your way of:

Search Console revolves wholly around Google and how your website is seen by its search engine.

Google Analytics, on the other hand, is a tool for gathering data about visitors to your website and how they interact with your site. It tracks visitors from all locations and not just Google, giving you an idea of where your traffic is coming from. 

With that basic understanding in mind, let’s take a look at the intricacies of each tool and what each one can do for your website.

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is an invaluable tool for tracking visitors to your website.

Assuming that you install the tracking code correctly, the data you collect can help you make more accurate decisions about your website.

Here are the best Google Analytics plugins for WordPress that can help make sure you get things connected correctly.

Tracking Audience Data

Screenshot of audience tracking in Google Analytics.

Audience data can range from user demographics, cross interests, location information, and much more. 

This information will help you to better understand everything about the people visiting your website. You can use this to make more informed decisions about future content, site redesigns, etc.

Understanding Traffic Acquisition

Screenshot of Google Analytics traffic acquisition overview.

Not everyone who visits your website will come from the same place. Some users may land on individual articles from search results whereas others may come from social media platforms.

If you don’t know how you’re generating traffic, you can’t double down on what is working to drive further growth. Google Analytics allows you to segment traffic so you know exactly where each visitor comes from.

Breaking Down User Behaviour

Screenshot of Google Analytics user behaviour section.

The way users behave on your website can reveal a great deal about whether you’re providing what people want or not. It can also be a good tool for understanding user experience (UX) and making improvements. 

Google Analytics tracks how users behave from the moment they land on your website until they leave and everything that happens in between.

Conversion Tracking

Screenshot of Google Analytics conversions section.

Conversions are the actions you want users to take on your website.

Some common examples of conversions you might want to track include:

All of these and more can be tracked using Google Analytics. Tracking conversions is essential to know if you are on track for your business’s goals. If your conversion rate isn’t high enough, you will need to make changes to your website. 

Custom Reporting

Screenshot of Google Search Console vs Google Analytics custom reporting section.

Google Analytics allows you to create custom reports so you can focus on data that is useful to you when assessing how well your website is doing. This can be especially helpful for presenting data to teams.

Advanced Integrations

One final feature of Google Analytics is the ability to integrate it with other tools for enhanced reporting and usage.

Some examples of popular integrations include:

Using integrations allows you to improve the tracking capabilities of Google Analytics across platforms for more accurate data

What Is Google Search Console?

With over 90% of all searches worldwide happening through Google, it’s essential your website is showing up in search results. 

Google Search Console data is where you will find information on how well your website is performing and if there are any issues with your website’s performance.

Unlike Google Analytics, Search Console is only concerned with stats coming in from Google and how different metrics affect your performance on the search engine. You cannot see information from other search engines such as Bing or Duck Duck Go.

Tracking Organic Search Data

Screenshot of Google Search Console overview page.

Search Console allows digital marketing pros to see what terms people are using to find their websites in the Google search results

This information is invaluable for evaluating how effective your content is at ranking for your desired terms in the search engine rankings (SERP). 

Along with search query ranking information, you can also track the average click-through rate for each term and average position

Inspecting and Live Testing Your URL’s

Google Search Console inspection section.

Using Google Search Console’s URL live testing and inspection tool, you can find out if individual URLs from your website are indexed by Google.

This tool will also allow you to test if there are any issues with your URLs that might keep them from being indexed by the search engine

Website Experience Optimizations

Screenshot of Google Search Console optimizations page.

Website experience refers to how well your website performs for users. This tracks your websites core web vitals which are:

More and more, Google is monitoring how well a site performs and considering that when ranking your website.

Take a look at our Ezoic Leap review to learn more about how this tool is improving core web vitals for sites running display ads.

Inbound and Outbound Backlink Tracking

Google search console screenshot of link tracking section.

Another Google Search Console insight is the ability to monitor who is linking to you and who you are linking to.

This is an important factor in how well websites rank dating back to the early Google algorithms.

Monitoring links can help you notice large numbers of spammy or toxic links from other websites. Many of these online marketing courses teach a lot more about the importance of link building and how to do it well.

Disavowing Toxic Backlinks

Screenshot of Google Search Console disavow tool.

If you do accumulate too many spammy or toxic backlinks, Google Search Console provides a way to disassociate your website from these links. 

The Link Disavow Tool lets you catalog your list of backlinks and remove the negative links that could potentially harm your website. It should be noted that this is an advanced feature and should be handled by an experienced SEO specialist due to the potential to harm your site. 

HTML and Crawl Error Tracking

Screenshot of Google Search Console index section.

Search engines like Google work through crawlers that cover every page on your website. These crawlers go from page to page around the internet indexing everything to put it in the search rankings.

If the Googlebot ever comes across any errors or issues on your pages, these will be displayed within Google Search Console. Regularly monitor these to fix any issues which could affect your pages being ranked.

Security Issues

Google Search Console security section.

Lastly, unlike Google Analytics, Search Console allows you to see any security issues that may be affecting your website such as malware. 

These security issues will prevent your websites from being indexed and ranked so it’s essential to have these issues fixed as soon as they come up. 

Search Console Metrics vs Analytics Metrics

Understanding the difference between Google Search Console vs Google Analytics and what each one does is only half the equation.

It’s also important that you understand how to track each of these metrics within each SEO tool. After all, both Analytics and Search Console are data tools and only as good as your ability to use them.

Metrics To Track With Google Analytics

Remember, the primary difference between Google Search Console vs Google Analytics is that analytics is used for tracking visitors to your website from all sources. So, the metrics you will track will be in line with that.

Bounce Rate

Google analytics things to track bounce rate section.

Bounce rate describes the percentage of visitors who come to your website and then leave without moving on to other pages or converting.

How to track bounce rate in Google Analytics:

1. Open Google Analytics and click on the home screen for the desired property view

2. Bounce rate will be on the main home screen at the top

You can change the date range by selecting the drop-down menu at the bottom of the chart and choosing from either today, yesterday, last 7 days, last 28 days, last 90 days, or a custom range.

Audience and Demographic Data

Google analytics screenshot of audience overview section.

To access the audience and demographic data, click on the audience drop-down button from the homepage of Analytics. A good place to start is the overview button which is the first option in the dropdown.

The overview section provides a glance at the number of users that have visited your website, how long they stayed, the number of pages viewed, and more.

Google analytics demographics tracking section.

Other important audience related information to keep track of includes:

To access each section, click on the button in the Audience dropdown menu.

All of the other sections in the Audience data hold valuable information. But, the above sections are some of the more often used by website owners and developers.

Acquisition

Google analytics acquisiton data.

The acquisitions section will tell you everything you need to know about how people are finding your website and where visitors are coming from. 

To access the acquisitions section of Google Analytics, click on the Acquisition drop-down and start with the overview section.

This will give you a general overview of whether your visitors are coming from direct traffic, organic search (unpaid traffic from search engines), or other sources (social, email, etc.).

For more in-depth results, you can click on any of the buttons under the Acquisition tab for more thorough reporting.

These options include:

Time Spent On Website

Screenshot of Google Analytics session duration information.

Along with metrics like bounce rate and traffic sources, it’s essential to find out how long visitors are staying on your site.

The longer users stay on your site, the chances are greater of a conversion. To see this information, you can check the overview on the home section of Analytics.

Unique Pageviews

Google Analytics pageviews information.

Unique pageviews track the number of times individual pages are visited on your website. This is in contrast to pageviews, which track the total number of times pages are viewed including multiple views of the same page by the same user.

Tracking unique pageviews is important for websites like authority and niche sites. More unique pageviews mean more pages of content being viewed. 

To see your unique pageviews, click the Behaviour dropdown tab and click on overview. The unique pageviews will be located just under the chart.

Metrics To Track With Google Search Console

The most important metrics to track with Google Search Console all have to do with how your site performs and how well your site is doing in the organic rankings. 

Search Performance Analytics 

Google search console overview information.

One of the primary purposes of Google Search Console is to track how your website is performing in organic search

For a brief overview of your site’s performance, how many pages are indexed, and user experience, you can view the overview section on Search Console.

For more in-depth data about your website’s performance on Google, click on the Performance button below the overview button. 

Google search console perfromance data.

From the performance section, you can learn everything about how well your website is doing in Google including:

Links To Your Site and Internal Links

Google search console link information.

You can check all of the links that are coming into your site from other websites as well as all of the internal links between pages on your website. 

To get to the links page on Google Search Console, you will need to scroll down the left sidebar menu to the bottom and click the Links button.

The external links section will show you information about indexed links coming to your site from other websites. You can find information about the top pages on your site linked to, the top websites that link to your site, and the top linking text (anchor text).

The internal link section will show you all of the top linked-to pages on your site linked to from other pages within your website. 

Mobile Usability

Google search console mobile.

Google Search Console allows you to check how your website is performing on mobile devices. This is essential in the modern-day with over half of mobile traffic worldwide coming from mobile. 

To check your website’s mobile usability statistics, click on the Mobile Usability button on the left sidebar. 

Any issues that would affect mobile usability will show up here. It’s also important to look out for alerts informing you of issues.

Google Index Coverage Reporting

Google search console index coverage report screenshot.

When Google comes across new pages of your website, it will index them and eventually place them into the search rankings.

To see how many of your website’s pages are indexed, you need to look at the coverage report under the Index section of Search Console.

To get there, click on the Index drop-down and then click on the Coverage button.

The coverage report will tell you which pages are indexed, which have been excluded, and which pages have warnings or errors.

If any of your pages have HTML errors or other issues, you will receive notifications within the search console along with information on the error and which pages are affected.

How To Verify Sites On Google Search Console

Before you can utilize Google Search Console, you first need to verify you are the site owner

You can verify site ownership one of a few ways, either manually or, if you are using WordPress, through the use of a plugin like Google Site Kit.

Manually

Screeshot of the Google Search Console manual verification screen.

To start with, go to Google Search Console. The first screen you see is the property verification screen.

Enter your domain name into the box under Domain then press enter. A popup will appear showing how you can verify you are the website owner by adding a TXT record.

Google Search Console website verification screenshot.

Use the dropdown menu next to “Instructions for” to find your DNS provider. This will give you exact instructions on how to verify ownership.

For most providers, you will copy the TXT record listed and then create a TXT record on your DNS provider’s back end. Each provider is different so you will need to find out how to add TXT records for your specific provider.

If you are having trouble, type into Google “how to add TXT records” followed by the name of your provider. For example: how to add TXT records Namecheap.

Google Site Kit (WordPress)

Google Site Kit installation screen from wordpress.

The second method, and the easiest for non-tech savvy individuals, is to use a plugin on WordPress called Google Site Kit.

You will first need to add the plugin from the WordPress repository. You can find that by going to your WordPress backend and clicking the plugins button on the left sidebar then clicking new.

Enter Google Site Kit into the search for plugins box on the right side of the screen. You will see the plugin show up in the results below. Click, Install Plugin.

Google Site Kit installation information screenshot.

You will see a list of step-by-step instructions from Site Kit showing how to verify and set up both Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Follow these instructions and you are good to go.

Connecting Google Analytics and Google Search Console

Screenshot of how to connect Google Search Console and Google Site Kit.

You can connect Search Console and Analytics so that the two tools can share information. To do this, go to Google Search Console and click on the Settings button on the left sidebar. You may need to scroll down to find it.

Next, click on the Associations button in the settings section.

Follow the instructions on the next screen to connect your Search Console and Analytics accounts so that the two tools can share information. 

Why Don’t Search Console and Analytics Data Match?

Over time, you may notice that the numbers in Google Search Console vs Google Analytics don’t match. This isn’t an error on your part and is by design.

The two tools measure data in different ways leading to different results. This is due to the different purposes of the tools that we’ve touched on above. 

While it may be a bit confusing at first, it’s not something that should concern you and will not affect your numbers. You can read more about this phenomenon here.

Using Google Search Console and Analytics

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics?

Both Search Console and Analytics are incredibly powerful tools for a digital marketer looking to get data about their site.

The important thing to remember is that Analytics tracks all users and information about those users coming into your website while Search Console looks at information coming directly from Google search.

To get the most out of both tools, the best thing you can do is continue learning about them. Google has multiple ways to learn more about its tools including the Google Analytics Academy. 

By going through these courses and continuing to learn about both tools, you will be well on your way to better utilizing the data both tools provide for improving and growing your website. 

Once you’ve got everything set up, here is how you can start to increase your website pageviews.




Niche Business Ideas

By Devin Hargrove

Devin is a former journalist turned content writer and strategist.

He spends his time working with businesses to create content-forward marketing plans. On the side, he tinkers with authority and niche sites in between traveling with family.

Want to learn step-by-step how I built my Niche Site Empire up to a full-time income?

Yes! I Love to Learn

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