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Google Search Console vs Google Analytics: Complete Comparison And Guide

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If you want to improve the performance of your website, you’re going to need a good understanding of tracking and analytics tools. Two of the most powerful analytics platforms for SEO professionals, marketers, and website owners are Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA).

As much as they have similarities due to being both owned by Google – there are important differences between them that can drastically impact how successful your site is.

This post will offer an in-depth comparison and guide on GSC vs GA so that you understand where each one fits into your digital marketing plans.

What Is Google Search Console (GSC)?

Google Search Console (GSC), formerly known as Google Webmaster Tool, is a free web service provided by Google that allows website owners, SEO professionals, and marketers to monitor and optimize their website’s presence in Google search results.

It provides a wealth of information and tools to help you understand how your website is performing in search and identify areas for improvement.

What Is Google Analytics (GA)?

Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful free web analytics tool provided by Google that helps website owners and marketers understand and measure their website’s performance and user behavior.

Google Analytics offers a plethora of tools and reports to analyze website traffic, track conversions, and gain insights into visitor demographics and behavior.

Google Analytics Vs. Google Search Console: What's The Difference?

Comparing Google Search Console to Google Analytics, the main difference lies in how they function and the type of data they provide.

Google Search Console focuses on search engine optimization (SEO) and tells you how your website performs in search results.

On the other hand, Google Analytics tracks analytics data to tell you how web users engage with your website.

This means using these two tools together can help you optimize your website for both humans and search engines.

How?

Let’s study the features of both and find out.

What Metrics Do They Track?

Google Search Console

Google Search Console collects data that provide insights into your website’s performance in search engine results. Some of the metrics it features are:

  • Impressions: The number of times your website or pages appeared in search results.
  • Clicks: The number of clicks your website or pages received from search results.
  • Click-through Rate (CTR): The percentage of impressions that resulted in a click.
  • Average Position: The average position of your website or pages in search results.
  • Top Performing Queries: The search queries that drive the most impressions and clicks to your website.
  • Index Coverage: Information about how Google is indexing your website, including the number of valid and indexed pages, as well as any errors or issues encountered during crawling.
  • Mobile Usability: Insights into mobile usability issues on your website, helping you identify and resolve problems that may affect the mobile user experience.
  • Rich Results: Data on the appearance and performance of rich results for your website, such as featured snippets, knowledge panels, or AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) results.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics helps you monitor your website’s performance and also understand user behavior to make data-driven decisions that directly impact your business.

Here are some metrics it tracks:

  • Average Session Duration: The average amount of time users spend on your website during a session.
  • Users: The number of unique individuals who visited your website within a specified time period.
  • Pageviews: The total number of pages viewed on your website, including repeated views of the same page.
  • Bounce Rate: The percentage of single-page sessions where a user leaves your site without any interactions or navigating to other pages.
  • Conversion Rate: The percentage of sessions that resulted in a specific goal completion, such as a purchase, form submission, or newsletter sign-up.
  • Traffic Sources: Insights into the channels that drive traffic to your website, including organic search, paid search, direct traffic, referrals, and social media.
  • Audience Demographics: Data about the age, gender, interests, and geography of your website visitors.

Features: What Can These Tools Do?

The metrics look good. But what is Google Search Console used for? What’s the purpose of Google Analytics?

Let’s answer these questions by looking at some of the features both of these tools offer.

Google Search Console

Google Search Console has plenty of useful features to monitor website performance.

Some of the most important ones are:

1. Monitor Search Performance

With important metrics such as impressions, clicks, click-through rates (CTRs), and average position you get to understand how your website looks on Google.
You get to identify improvement opportunities and work on improving your website’s ranking and performance.

2. Indexing and Crawling

GSC allows you to view and control how Google crawls and indexes your website. You can submit sitemaps, check for crawling errors, and monitor the index status of your pages.

This feature helps you ensure that Google can access, understand, and publish your content effectively.

3. URL Inspection

GSC’s live URL inspection and testing tool enables you to inspect specific URLs on your website and see if they are indexed or not.

Also, you can identify URL issues that may affect their visibility in search results, such as indexing errors, mobile usability problems, or structured data markup issues.

4. Website Experience

GSC also provides insights into the user-friendliness of your website through its “Experience” tab.

You get to understand how well your website performs for the users in terms of mobile performance, website speed, visual stability, and responsiveness.

Plus, it specifically alerts you to any mobile usability issues that may impact user experience on mobile devices, such as text that’s too small to read or clickable elements that are too close together.

5. Website Security

Unlike google analytics, Google Search Console also helps monitor your website’s health through its security feature.

It notifies you of any malware attack or indexing issues which might impact your site’s overall functioning.

Google Analytics

Google Analytics is just as useful and offers amazing features too.

1. Targeted Audience Segmentation

GA provides detailed information about your website visitors, including their demographics, interests, location, and devices used to access your site. This data helps you understand your target audience better and tailor your marketing strategies accordingly.

You can even segment users based on their demographics, interests, and behavior to understand what content appeals to them.

For example, you can create segments for high-value customers who have made purchases in the past month or engaged readers who read more than 10 blog posts in a week.

2. Funnel Visualization

You can use funnel visualization to track user paths across pages on your website. This helps you identify areas where visitors might be dropping off or abandoning the funnel, as well as any issues that may be affecting conversion rates.

This information helps you identify popular content, areas of high engagement, and potential bottlenecks in the user journey.

3. Conversion Tracking

GA enables you to set up and track goals, such as form submissions, purchases, or newsletter sign-ups. It provides valuable insights into conversion rates, revenue attribution, and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.

4. A/B Testing

Google Analytics also allows you to compare different versions of a page or feature and see which one performs better.

This helps you make data-driven decisions about your content, website design, and product development.

5. Acquisition Analytics

GA tracks the sources of traffic to your website, such as organic search, paid search, social media, referrals, and direct traffic.

This data helps you identify which channels are driving the most traffic and optimize your marketing efforts accordingly.

Similarly, Google Analytics search terms report helps you identify traffic-attracting keywords by showing you “terms” that resulted in your ad being shown. 

6. Ecommerce Analytics

Finally, Google Analytics also provides detailed ecommerce data about the performance of your online store.

You can get insights into user behavior, such as product views and add-to-cart rates, as well as analyze revenue and conversion rates for each product in your store. This enables you to optimize pricing strategies and maximize profits.

Now that you understand what is Google Analytics and what is Google Search Console used for, let’s see how these tools compare. 

Google Search Console vs Google Analytics: Comparison Overview

Purpose And Focus of each tool

Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA) serve different purposes and have distinct focuses:

Google Search Console

Google Search Console data is primarily focused on the technical aspects of a website’s presence in Google search results.

  • It helps identify which keywords are driving traffic to the site and uncover opportunities for keyword targeting and content optimization.
  • You can measure the impact of your strategies, identify trends, and assess the success of landing pages. The data can also inform decisions about content creation, ad campaigns, and targeting specific demographics.
  • You get to understand how your site is being indexed and displayed in search results.
  • It provides alerts for critical issues that may impact visibility or user experience.

Overall, Google search console helps website owners take proactive steps to optimize their site’s performance, increase organic traffic, and ensure a positive user experience.

Google Analytics

GA, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in website analytics and user behavior tracking.

  • It helps you understand the volume of visitors coming to your website and their browsing behavior.
  • You understand how users interact with your site, identify popular content, and uncover opportunities for optimization.
  • GA enables you to set up conversion goals and track their completion. Whether it’s a purchase, form submission, or any other desired action, GA provides data on conversions, conversion rates, and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
  • Google Analytics allows you to identify the marketing channels and campaigns driving the most valuable traffic, allowing you to allocate resources effectively and optimize campaigns for better results.

Overall, Google Analytics offers valuable insights for decision-making, such as understanding the target audience, refining marketing strategies, and increasing conversions.

Overlapping Features and Functionalities

While GSC and GA have different focuses, there are overlapping features between the two tools:

  • Search Performance
    Both GSC and GA provide data related to search performance. GSC offers metrics such as impressions, clicks, click-through rates (CTRs), and average position for your website and pages in Google search results. GA provides data on organic search traffic, top-performing landing pages, and search queries driving traffic to your website.
  • URL Inspection and Crawling
    GSC allows you to inspect individual URLs on your website and view how Google crawls and indexes them. GA, although not as detailed as GSC, provides information on the pages that receive the most visits, indicating their crawlability and popularity.
  • Mobile Usability
    GSC provides insights into mobile usability issues on your website, highlighting areas that may affect the user experience on mobile devices. GA also offers mobile-related data, including the number of visits and user behavior on different devices.

Besides the above, both GSC and GA exclude bots from their data to show you the actual picture of website traffic.

Also, did you know that you can connect Google Search Console to Google Analytics?

Once you link your Google Search Console account with GA, you can view your GSC report data inside Google Analytics.

This allows you to have a holistic view of website performance, combining data from GSC and GA.

Google Search Console or Google Analytics: Who Wins?

In conclusion, both Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics (GA) are powerful tools that offer unique insights into different aspects of website performance.

While GSC helps you optimize search visibility and user experience, GA offers comprehensive analytics and user behavior tracking. Instead of viewing them as competitors, it’s more effective to see them as complementary tools that can be used together to gain a holistic understanding of your website’s performance.

By leveraging the strengths of both GSC and GA, you can unlock a wealth of information and make data-driven decisions to optimize your website and digital marketing strategies.

Whether it’s improving your search rankings, understanding user behavior, or tracking conversions, the combination of GSC and GA provides a comprehensive toolkit for website owners, SEO professionals, and marketers.

Not confident in your skills?

Don’t worry. Mongoose Media can help you fully harness the power of these tools and take your online presence to the next level. Our marketing and SEO experts understand the intricacies of GSC and GA and can help you extract meaningful insights to drive your digital success.

Contact us today and see how we can assist you in achieving your goals.

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