Understanding the Data Mismatch between GA4 and Google Search Console

Share On:

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: why is it used?

GA4 presents data from the customer’s view, it’s used when we want to understand all the customer-centric metrics on the website. 

  • Engagement time
  • New users and existing users
  • Website user activity
  • Where the user is coming from
  • How they landed on the website
  • How many conversions users perform

These are some of the metrics you, as digital as marketers, will likely track using GA4.

GA4 is also helpful in the following areas:

  • You want to optimize your website to increase conversions
  • Understanding the user journey 
  • You need to take marketing decisions based on your user behavior
  • You want to understand your target audience, by looking at your TA’s demographics, interests, geography, product preferences etc.

Because of this property of GA4, it’s used by multiple stakeholders. A few of them are:

  • Performance marketing experts
  • SEO experts
  • Growth experts
  • Email marketing experts
  • Content marketing experts
  • Conversion rate optimizers
  • Digital strategists

GA4 is a completely different tool compared to Google Search Console. Let’s understand why is Google Search console used.

Google Search Console: Why is it 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: 

  • Clicks
  • Impressions
  • Average Position
  • Page experience
  • Core web vitals
  • Site map
  • Keyword performance
  • Page performance in search engine
  • Which query is driving traffic

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.

Where the Discrepancy Arises?

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.

Reasons for discrepancies:

  • 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 URL 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

Conclusion

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!

Download The Free Digital Marketing Resources
Search
We plant one ?? for every new subscriber.
Related Posts
Categories
Our Services
Calculator
Want to learn how Growth Hacking can boost up your business?
Contact Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *