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GA4 is the latest measuring and analytical tool from Google, to help digital marketers understand their metrics better. Unlike the earlier Universal Analytics, GA4 focuses on events instead of session-based data.
As digital marketers analyze data, the analytics that show up in GA4 may differ from what’s displayed in the Google Search Console. But this isn’t a discrepancy or error – merely a difference in how the tools function and their respective use cases. We’ll examine the what and why of each tool and how the numbers may differ for both.
While making your monthly report you may stumble across data points from GA4 and Google Search Console which are of the same time period but organic numbers don’t match. This gives us an impression that the data is inaccurate.
This problem exists because these are 2 different tools used for 2 different use cases
GA4 presents data from the customer’s view, it’s used when we want to understand all the customer-centric metrics on the website.
These are some of the metrics you, as digital as marketers, will likely track using GA4.
GA4 is a completely different tool compared to Google Search Console. Let’s understand why is Google Search console used.
Google Search Console views data from the search engine’s view. It helps optimize the website for the search engine. Some of the key metrics in focus are:
Google Search Console’s primary function is to help SEO’s and Web Masters to optimise the website for search engines. If there are any ranking drops, Google Search Console helps us to understand what went wrong and what didn’t.
Google Analytics and Google Search Console are prevalent as effective tools for analyzing and improving the performance of your website. However, their functions are distinct, and the data they offer is different as well:
Google Analytics is known as a web analytics tool that mainly focuses on measuring user interaction and behavior on your website. Page views, sessions, bounce rates, conversion rates, and other kinds of user engagement are just a few of the things it offers insights into.
You may use it to determine where visitors are coming from, which pages are the most popular, how long visitors stay on your website and the routes they take through your material. Understanding user demographics, interests, and behaviors with Google Analytics is useful for optimizing your website and marketing plans.
2. Google Search Console:
Google Search Console is more focused on how your website does in Google’s search results. It offers resources and information to assist you in assessing and enhancing your website’s visibility on search engine results pages (SERPs). It provides information on the terms your site shows up for, how frequently people click on it, and how Google’s web crawlers interact with your site.
It also alerts you to technical concerns like crawling difficulties, indexing issues, and mobile compatibility problems that could negatively impact your site’s visibility in search results. Google Search Console is essential to enhance your site’s search engine performance and resolve any potential issues that could limit its visibility.
Google Analytics focuses on user behavior and interaction with your website. In contrast, Google Search Console focuses on how well a particular site performs in search results and the technological factors that affect its exposure. A thorough view of your website’s overall health and performance may be obtained by combining insights from the two tools.
You may gain access to consolidated data about your website’s search performance and user behavior by integrating Google Search Console with Google Analytics. Here is how to go about it:
To accomplish this integration, one must have the necessary access and permissions for the Google Analytics and Google Search Console properties. Additionally, bear in mind that data may not be accessible right away following integration and may require some time to populate.
By integrating these two platforms, you can thoroughly understand how your website is doing in search results and how visitors interact with your content.
Google Search Console tells us how many times the website was shown in the search results and how many times the website link is clicked.
GA4 tells us how many people came to the website from organic search i.e. through search engines.
But both of these numbers differ and that gives us an impression that the data is inaccurate and something is broken. But that is not the case, even when everything is implemented correctly the data discrepancy can exist because there are 2 different platforms which are used for 2 different purposes by different sets of people to extract different insights.
Data Segregation – GA4 includes discover traffic as search traffic but Search Console segregates search and discover traffic
Landing page URL – Search Console reports the canonical page URL even when the landing page link is non-canonical, whereas GA4 records the URL that results from the redirect. This can show higher numbers in Google search console
Ads blocker enabled browser – Ad blocker browser restricts website to load analytics code. But search console tracking is not restricted by adblock browser
Non-HTML Pages – If a page is Non-HTML based like PDF or a doc which is listed in the search result, and a user clicks on the link, the click is recorded in the search console, this can result in higher traffic in search console
Time Zone difference – Google Search Console shows data in line with Pacific daylight time whereas GA4 shows data for the selected timezone. This results in data discrepancy between the 2 platforms
Number of URLs recorded – Search Console has a limit of 1000 URLs for landing pages, post which it stops recording data, but GA4 does not have any limit or landing page URL this results in higher numbers in GA4
Multiple Domain – GA4 can track multiple domains in one property whereas Search Console can only track one domain, this can cause analytics numbers to be higher
Tracking code implementation – GA4 only tracks pages where tracking code is implemented, but Search Console tracks all the pages on the website. This can result in Search Console showing higher numbers
Your data will have discrepancies because these 2 tools were made for different purposes. Google also recognises these discrepancies. But the question is which platform to refer for data. Answer – Use the platform which is best suited to your use case!
Google Analytics and Google Search Console serve various functions and offer different kinds of insights. Every tool is valuable for a distinct part of website analysis and optimisation and has its own advantages. To clarify their distinctions and when to use each, the following is a breakdown:
Google Analytics is primarily concerned with user interaction and behavior on your website. It offers thorough information on user interactions, traffic sources, conversion rates, and other factors. This information is crucial for figuring out how visitors move about your website, which pages are the most popular, and how well your marketing is working to increase traffic and conversions.
Google Analytics is excellent for evaluating the success of marketing efforts, tracking e-commerce transactions, examining user demographics, and customizing your website’s content and design based on user behavior.
The appearance of your website in Google’s search results is the main focus of Google Search Console. It gives information on your site’s search rankings, the traffic-generating keywords, how frequently people click through to your site, and any technical problems that can impair your site’s visibility in search results.
Google Search Console is essential for analyzing and enhancing your site’s search engine optimization. You can improve your site’s search engine visibility, address indexing and crawling problems, and optimize content for pertinent keywords with its assistance.
Your objectives and priorities will ultimately determine whether you choose Google Analytics or Google Search Console:
Instead of being direct competitors, both tools are beneficial and complementary. In order to acquire a thorough insight into their website’s overall performance and make wise decisions, many website owners and digital marketers employ both Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
You may better analyze the performance and user behavior of your website by connecting Google Search Console to Google Analytics 4 (GA4). To link Google Search Console to GA4, consider the following factors:
Enhanced Data Integration:
This integration offers a comprehensive view of how organic search traffic engages with your website, enabling you to spot patterns, connections, and insights that might not be obvious when examining each platform independently.
Search Query Data:
Google Search Console offers useful data on the search terms that direct visitors to your website. It may be linked to GA4 so that you can see these search terms along with GA4’s behavioral information, like bounce rate, time on page, and conversions. This enables you to comprehend both how users access and interact with your website.
Insights into content performance:
Data from clicks and other interactions:
Google Search Console mainly concentrates on impressions and clicks from search engine results pages (SERPs). Page visits, events, and conversions are just a few examples of the more specific information on user interactions that GA4 offers. You can examine how organic search traffic results in particular activities on your website by connecting the two platforms.
The integration illustrates how interactions with organic search influence conversions and other crucial performance indicators in GA4.
GA4 enables you to divide the audience of your website into several groups based on characteristics like demographics, interests, and behavior. When you incorporate Google Search Console data, you can examine how various forms of organic search traffic interact with your website and see opportunities to modify your content and user experience appropriately.
Holistic Performance Analysis:
The integration gives you the ability to conduct more in-depth analyses, such as contrasting the performance of organic search traffic with that of other traffic sources, determining how SEO changes have an effect on user behavior, and improving your website’s organic search engagement.
By linking Google Search Console to GA4, you can have complete knowledge of how your website performs in organic search results and how consumers interact with your content. This integrated view can benefit your content strategy, SEO initiatives, and general digital marketing strategies.
Google Analytics 4 or GA4 and Google Search Console are beneficial SEO tools, although they have different functions and provide different insights. Combining the two platforms is frequently advised to get a complete picture of your website’s performance and maximize your SEO efforts. In this order, their roles are:
User Behaviour Analysis:
In Google Analytics 4 (GA4), GA4 focuses on user engagement and website behavior. It offers comprehensive information about how visitors move about your website, the pages they view, how long they stay, and their activities. You may improve the user experience on your site by using this information to understand user intent better.
GA4 keeps tabs on goals, events, and conversions. It enables you to recognise the channels and sources generating the most worthwhile website actions, such as purchases, sign-ups, or downloads. This data is crucial for evaluating the success of your SEO efforts in terms of actual financial results.
GA4 allows you to segment your audience based on various criteria, which includes interests, demographics, and behavior. You can use this segmentation to target particular audience segments with content and marketing techniques.
GA4 offers information on a variety of traffic sources besides organic search, including sponsored, direct, social, and referral traffic. This enables you to evaluate the effectiveness of various channels and improve your entire marketing plan.
Google Search Console
Search Performance Analysis:
Google Search Console was created to reveal information about how well your website performs in Google search results. It provides information on average positions, click-through rates, impressions, clicks, and clicks for particular search queries and pages. You may use this data to monitor how well and how visible your website is in search results.
Information about Googlebot’s indexing and crawling:
Search Console gives specifics on Googlebot’s indexing and crawling of your website. It notifies you of any indexing mistakes, crawl problems, or sanctions that can hurt your website’s search engine visibility.
Search Query Information:
Search Console provides precise search terms that bring visitors to your website. Using this information, you may better understand user intent, find keyword opportunities, and modify your content strategy.
Sitemaps and URL Submission:
By adding your sitemap to Search Console, you can ensure that Google correctly indexes the pages of your website. To swiftly add fresh or updated information to Google’s search index, you may also ask for the indexing of specific URLs.
Google Search Console and GA4 both provide insightful data for SEO, although they concentrate on different areas. While Search Console is more focused on search performance and indexing, GA4 offers a more comprehensive picture of user behavior and conversion analytics. Together, these two tools can help you comprehend how SEO affects user behavior, conversions, and search visibility, empowering you to make wise decisions about how best to optimize your website.
Chandala Takalkar is a young content marketer and creative with experience in content, copy, corporate communications, and design. A digital native, she has the ability to craft content and copy that suits the medium and connects. Prior to Team upGrowth, she worked as an English trainer. Her experience includes all forms of copy and content writing, from Social Media communication to email marketing.
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