Confused by the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console? Find out 7 differences between the two from a blogger's perspective.
Have you ever wondered what the differences are between Google Analytics and Google Search Console? It can be confusing, especially for new bloggers.
In this post, I share 7 differences between the two from a blogger's perspective.
1. How your visitors interact with your blog vs. how Google's search engine interacts with your blog
Analytics is about how your visitors interact with your blog. Search Console is about how Google's search engine interacts with your blog.
Google Analytics data gives you information such as:
- Average number of pages a person sees when they visit your site (pages per session)
- How long they're on your site (average session duration)
- How many people are only looking at one page on your site (bounce rate)
Google Search Console tells you:
- How many times your site is showing up in search results
- What pages are showing in search results for a specific query
- The queries for which an individual page is showing up
2. Traffic from all source vs. Google search engine traffic only
When you look at Google Analytics, you'll see data about the traffic to your site from all sources–social media, referral, your emails, and other search engines like Bing or Yahoo.
Search Console is only about your site's results in Google's search engine.
3. Real-time data vs. a delay of a few hours
In Analytics, you can open the Realtime Overview report and watch the number of active users change as people visit your site or click off of it.
There is a few hour lag time with Search Console. For example, Search Console shows me that it was last updated 7 hours ago.
4. Starts with the click vs. ends with the click
Analytics starts recording data when your tracking code is triggered. Usually this is when a person clicks on your page and it starts to load.
Search Console records how your site is doing in search results regardless of whether or not a person clicks over to it. When someone clicks out of the search results, Search Console stops recording data for that person's query.
5. Data for multiple years vs. data for 16 months
I couldn't find any information for how far back Analytics data goes. When I look at my Cub Scout Ideas site, I can see information back to mid-2013 when I installed the tracking code.
One exception to this is user-level and event-level data. We have the ability to set the our own retention period.
You can get data from Search Console for the last 16 months. Prior to mid-2018, it only had data for the last 90 days.
6. Website tracking vs. website health
Analytics is primarily a tracking tool. It tracks things such as:
- How many visits you have
- How people are finding you
- What content is the most popular
- How long people stay on your site
- And a lot more
Search Console tells you about the “health” of your site for search engines. You can find out:
- Are your pages are being indexed or excluded (and why they're excluded)?
- Do you have any problems with mobile usability or structured data markup?
- Do you have any security issues such as malware or deceptive pages on your site?
Are you ready to learn more about all the information Google Search Console can tell you about your blog? Sign up for my course, “The Nuts & Bolts of Google Search Console!”
7. Performance vs. potential
In my opinion, the differences between Google Analytics and Google Search Console can be summed up as performance vs. potential.
Analytics tells me about the performance of my site by giving me information about my traffic–where it's coming from, what pages are being seen, how long people are on my site, how many pages they visit while they're there, etc.
Search Console tells me about the potential of my site starting with any problems I might need to fix.
By reviewing my Search Console Performance Report, I can identify opportunities such as:
- Pages where I can improve my click through rate
- Pages where I can improve my position
- Pages where I'm ranking for topics I didn't intend to
- Pages where I'm ranking for topics that should be added to that page
- Topics that I need to write about
All of these opportunities have the potential to increase my traffic.
What other differences do you see between Google Analytics and Google Search Console?