Transparent Growth Measurement (NPS)

Difference Between Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4: Understanding the data mismatch between GA4 and Google Search Console

Contributors: Chandala Takalkar
Published: September 7, 2022


Know more about the discrepancies between data in Google Analytics 4 (GA4) and Google Search Console that are caused not from errors but from the distinct functionalities and use cases of each tool. GA4, focusing on user-centric metrics, and Google Search Console, which optimizes website performance for search engines, naturally present varied data due to their differing perspectives on tracking and analysis. The discussion includes reasons for these discrepancies and advises on selecting the appropriate tool based on specific analytic needs.

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In the digital age, the mastery of analytics and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools is not just beneficial but essential for the adept management of websites. As businesses strive to carve out a digital niche, the importance of data-driven decision-making spearheaded by robust tools cannot be overstated.

Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) stand at the forefront of this arena, each offering unique insights and functionalities that cater to different aspects of website and search engine performance.

1. Overview of Google Search Console

Purpose and Main Functions

Google Search Console is an indispensable tool tailored for website administrators, SEO experts, and marketers, focusing primarily on enhancing a website’s visibility and performance in Google Search results. The core purpose of GSC revolves around providing a lens through which one can view how Google perceives their site.

Key Metrics Tracked

At the heart of GSC lie several critical metrics: impressions, clicks, click-through rate (CTR), and position. These metrics provide a snapshot of how often a site appears in search results (impressions), how many times these results are clicked (clicks), the efficacy of these appearances (CTR), and the average ranking of the site for various queries (position).

Data Source

The data in Google Search Console is extracted directly from Google’s own search results, ensuring an unfiltered view into the performance of your site as Google sees it.

2. Overview of Google Analytics 4

Purpose and Main Functions

In contrast to GSC, Google Analytics 4 offers a more granular view of user behavior across a website. GA4 is designed to track and analyze the traffic that traverses your digital property, providing insights into user engagement and the efficacy of your content and marketing strategies.

Key Metrics Tracked

Google Analytics 4 monitors several pivotal metrics that are crucial for understanding user interaction: user engagement, sessions, traffic sources, and conversions. These metrics help paint a comprehensive picture of how users interact with your site, from their entry points through to the actions they take on your pages.

Data Source

Unlike GSC, GA4 gathers its data from interactions on your website, collected via a tracking code installed on your site. This method captures a broad spectrum of user activities, offering a deep dive into the user experience.

Key Differences in Functionality

Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4) serve distinct functions in website analysis. GSC focuses on SEO, optimizing visibility and tracking how users find your site through Google.

In contrast, GA4 provides a deeper, comprehensive analysis of user interactions on-site, tracking a wide range of engagement metrics and user behavior across devices. Together, they offer a full spectrum of insights for enhancing site performance and user experience.

Here is a table that dissects the two platforms highlighting their differences:

FeatureGoogle Search Console (GSC)Google Analytics 4 (GA4)
Purpose and FocusPrimarily focused on SEO. Provides insights into site visibility in Google Search, including data on queries, impressions, and clicks.Designed for a comprehensive view of user interactions across devices, focusing on user engagement and tracking various interactions like page views and events.
Data Collection and IntegrationCollects data directly from Google’s search engine, focusing on search traffic and site performance in search results. Does not track on-site user behavior.Utilizes a complex data model that integrates data from multiple sources and devices, tracking user interactions within the site.
Metrics and ReportsSearch-centric metrics such as search queries, clicks, impressions, CTR, and site’s average position in search results. Monitors site health regarding crawling, indexing, and security.Offers metrics on user engagement, session duration, user engagement time, and conversion rates. Provides insights into user demographics, device usage, and traffic sources.
User Interface and Reporting FlexibilityStraightforward interface focused on search performance and site health. Basic filtering and data manipulation geared towards troubleshooting SEO issues.Dynamic interface with options for custom reports, advanced data segmentation, and integration with other data sources. Supports deep analysis and customization.
Target UsersEssential for webmasters, SEO specialists, and marketers focused on organic search performance and site health.Suited for marketers, data analysts, and business owners interested in comprehensive user behavior analysis to inform marketing strategies and optimize experiences.

Understanding the Data Mismatch

Reasons for Data Discrepancy

A common source of confusion for many webmasters and analysts is the data mismatch between Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4. This discrepancy often arises due to their fundamentally different tracking mechanisms, varied data processing timelines, and distinct methods of user attribution.

While GSC focuses on data derived directly from search engine interactions, GA4 analyzes user interactions within the website via a tracking code, leading to different data perspectives.

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

Javascript enabled browsers – A small numbers of browsers disable javascript and thus the analytics script does not load in the browser and analytics doesn’t track that session or user, but Google Search Console tracks regardless of javascript blocking

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

Specific Examples of Mismatch

For instance, GA4 might report different session counts compared to the clicks reported in GSC. This occurs because a click in GSC only means that a user landed on your site from the search results, but doesn’t guarantee the user engaged with the site in a way that GA4 recognizes as a session. Sessions in GA4 require a specific level of user engagement, which might not occur with every click recorded by GSC.

Impact of Filters and User Privacy Settings

Additionally, the accuracy of data in GA4 can be influenced by filters and user privacy settings, such as cookie blocking or ‘Do Not Track’ settings in users’ browsers. These settings can prevent GA4 from tracking certain user data, leading to underreported metrics. Conversely, GSC’s data, being less reliant on user-side settings, tends to be more stable but can still be affected by server-side filters set up within the console.

How to Use GSC and GA4 Together?

Complementary Use Cases

Integrating insights from both Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4 can illuminate both the initial acquisition of users via search and their subsequent behavior on your site. This comprehensive approach enables webmasters to bridge the gap between SEO efforts and user engagement, optimizing both to achieve better outcomes.

Data Integration Tips

Combining data from GSC and GA4 can be achieved by utilizing tools like Google Data Studio or third-party analytics platforms that support data integration. These tools allow for the creation of customized reports and dashboards that reflect metrics from both GSC and GA4, providing a unified view of search performance and user behavior.

Best Practices

To ensure consistency and accuracy when analyzing data from both tools, it’s crucial to:

– Regularly verify the tracking code implementations across the site.

– Keep the filters in GA4 consistent.

– Regularly review and clean the data, addressing any anomalies or discrepancies that may arise from different data collection methodologies.


Understanding the differences and data mismatches between Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4 is crucial for effective website management.

By recognizing the unique contributions of each tool, webmasters can leverage both to gain a comprehensive understanding of both how users find their site and what they do once they arrive. In the evolving landscape of digital analytics, the integration of these tools is not just beneficial, but essential for a holistic strategy that enhances site performance and optimizes user experience.


1. Which is better: Google Analytics or Google Search Console?

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

  • Strengths: 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.
  • Use Cases: 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.

Google Search Console

  • Strengths: 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.
  • Use Cases: 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. Google Search Console “crawl” reports let you monitor the health of your website in the eyes of Google’s crawling bots.

Your objectives and priorities will ultimately determine whether you choose Google Analytics or Google Search Console:

Use Google Analytics if:

  • You want to comprehend how visitors use and interact with your website.
  • Your attention is on the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, e-commerce analysis, and conversion tracking.
  • You require knowledge of the interests and demographics of your audience.
  • Based on user interactions, you wish to improve the layout and content of your website.

Use Google Search Console if: 

  • Your website’s performance in search engine results is your primary focus.
  • Your site’s search visibility and click-through rates should be tracked and improved.
  • You must locate and fix any technological problems that can lower the visibility of your website in search results.
  • Your goal is to boost your site’s SEO performance by optimizing your content for pertinent keywords.

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.

2. Why connect Google Search Console to GA4?

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: By integrating data from Google Search Console and GA4, you can see which particular pieces of content or web pages draw the most organic traffic and perform well in terms of user engagement and conversions. 

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.

Conversion Attribution: The integration illustrates how interactions with organic search influence conversions and other crucial performance indicators in GA4. 

Audience Segmentation: 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.

3. Which is more helpful for SEO, GA4 or Google Search Console?

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.

Conversion tracking: 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.

Audience Segmentation: 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.

Multi-Channel Insights: 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.

4.  Which tool integrates with google search console to facilitate the launch, testing, and analysis of marketing results for improving lead generation?

Several tools integrate with Google Search Console, each facilitating different aspects of launch, testing, and marketing analysis for lead generation improvement. While a single tool won’t cover everything, Google Analytics seamlessly integrates with Google Search Console to empower launch, testing, and results analysis, propelling your lead generation. A/B testing tools like Optimizely or VWO connect with Search Console data, allowing you to test and optimize landing pages for maximum lead capture.

5. How to integrate Google Analytics with Google Search Console?

Integrating Google Analytics with Google Search Console unlocks a deeper understanding of your website’s SEO performance and user behavior. Here’s how:

  • Log in to Google Analytics: Go to your Google Analytics (GA4) account and select the property you want to integrate with Search Console.- 
  • Access Admin settings: Click the “Admin” button in the bottom left corner of the dashboard.
  • Choose “Product Linking”: Under the “Property” column, select “Product Linking.”
  • Link Google Search Console: Click “Google Search Console” and then “Link Search Console.”
  • Select your Search Console property: Choose the Search Console property you want to link from the list.
  • Save and confirm: Click “Save” and “Continue” to confirm the integration.

It may take up to 48 hours for data to appear in your Google Analytics reports. You can access the integrated data by going to “Acquisition” > “Search Console” in your Google Analytics property.

6. What is Google search console in digital marketing?

Google Search Console is a free tool from Google that helps you:

  • Monitor your website’s performance in search results: Track impressions, clicks, average positions, and click-through rates for specific keywords and pages.
  • Identify and fix technical SEO issues: Get notified about crawling errors, indexing problems, and mobile usability issues that can hinder your search visibility.
  • Understand user search behavior: Learn which queries lead people to your website and how well your content aligns with user intent.
  • Submit sitemaps and URLs: Ensure Google correctly indexes your website pages and prioritize indexing new or updated content.

7. How does Google Search Console differ from Google Analytics in terms of its primary functions and focus?

Imagine this:

  • Google Search Console: Like a search engine scout, it tells you how your website appears in Google’s eyes, including ranking, visibility, and technical health.
  • Google Analytics: Like a website visitor tracker, it tells you how people interact with your website once they arrive, including page views, engagement metrics, and conversions.


  • Search Console: Search engine optimization (SEO), technical performance, keyword research.
  • Analytics: User behavior, website engagement, conversion optimization.

Primary functions:

  • Search Console: Monitor search performance, identify technical issues, improve search visibility.
  • Analytics: Track user journeys, analyze engagement, measure conversion effectiveness.

8. What does the Google search console help you do?

The Google Search Console empowers you to:

  • Track your website’s search ranking and visibility.
  • Identify and fix technical SEO issues that hinder your ranking.
  • Understand which keywords drive traffic to your site.
  • Optimize your website content for specific keywords.
  • Monitor your website’s mobile-friendliness and performance.
  • Get alerts for potential SEO problems and security issues.

9. What is Search Console in Google Analytics?

Within Google Analytics, “Search Console” refers to the integrated reporting section that displays data pulled from your linked Google Search Console property. This lets you analyze SEO metrics like keyword performance and user behavior within the familiar Analytics interface.

Remember, both tools offer valuable insights, and integrating them creates a powerful dashboard for understanding your website’s overall health and performance.

10. How do Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4 differ in their approach to tracking and analyzing web traffic, and what impact do these differences have on digital marketing strategies?

In the complex landscape of digital marketing, understanding the data mismatch between Google Search Console and Google Analytics 4 is crucial for any expert aiming to optimize web traffic and increase revenue. Google Search Console, primarily focused on search analytics, uses a straightforward data model that tracks how users discover your site via search results, crucial for refining SEO strategies and adjusting your site’s markup language and source code.

In contrast, Google Analytics 4 employs a more intricate data science approach, integrating technology like HTTP cookies to track user interactions, which helps in goal setting and enhancing advertising strategies through data and information visualization. This adaptation to diverse analytics needs allows GA4 to analyze broader web service interactions, including those influenced by Google Ads, making it essential for understanding the impact of different marketing strategies on sales.

However, this can lead to discrepancies in reported data, as each tool uses different algorithms and definitions for measuring engagement and downloads, underscoring the need for businesses to adapt their analysis techniques continuously.

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About the Author


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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