Analyzing data on Google Search Console and Analytics, of course we can see substantial and increasing differences as the volume of organic traffic increases. If we compare with other tracking systems, for example Yandex Metrica, we see that the values change again. There are basically three reasons:
- these tools use different algorithms;
- they collect data from a different source;
- the script is located on a different position within the page, so activation and data collection times are not the same.
In other words, data collected online are accurate but not absolute. Some technical aspects can change data collection process and, for this reason, it is necessary to know well how these tools work in order to be able to make a correct analysis.
How to analyze organic traffic on Google Search Console
Let’s start with the first tool we meet when we do a search. Google Search Console is located on Google and calculates actions taken by the user from the moment he searches for information on the search engine to his click. It can understand when our website appeared between results in Serp (impression) and the clicks it received from there. After that, Google Search Console leaves the playing field.
It’s important to emphasize that the data collected is only that of Google. Searches on Bing, Yandex, Yahoo or other engines are not counted. In addition, in reports of performance in search results, we can select one of four types of search: web, image, video and news. To get the total value of organic traffic from Google search, we must add up the 4 types of search.
How to analyze organic traffic on Google Analytics
Let’s move along user’s journey and see who we meet after the click. Google Analytics script is located within the site page and collects traffic that takes place here, from the moment a user lands until he leaves the pages tracked by the same code.
Google recommends installing it in the head section. Thus, it can collect data even in the event that the user leaves the page before loading. Just the activation time of the script can cause alterations to Google Analytics metrics.
There can also be important differences compared to data collected by other tools, such as Yandex Metrica, because they use different scripts and are located in different positions within the page, so they are loaded at different times. To get an idea about load times of individual scripts, simply use Page Speed Insight tool.
Filtering organic traffic in Google Analytics, we have a value that includes all the traffic on the site coming from about sixty search engines, including Google, Bing, Yandex, Yahoo, DuckDuckGo, Baidu. We can filter further to isolate a single search engine. Thinking of of Google, the 4 types of search are considered as a whole: web, image, video and views.
Google Search Console and Google Analytics: the comparison
If we compare data on Google Search Console and Google Analytics,we must first make sure to have selected the same period (data collected by GSC are available only two days later), to have considered the 4 types of search and the source/medium organic/Google that they have in common.
At this point, we must never forget that the two tools work on different platforms: Google and the website. For this reason, if everything is set up correctly, it is normal that the organic traffic found on Google Search Console is greater than that recorded by Google Analytics.
Further differences can be found in theaccurate analysis of single search queries. This is the effect of the rules for data processing applied to these tools. Again, values counted by Google Search Console tend to be higher.
When to use Google Search Console or Analytics
Google Search Console and Google Analytics collect data at two different times: before and after the click that takes us from Google to the website. According to the type of analysis we want to carry out and the goals, we can choose the best tool. The important thing is that, in the construction of a funnel, we keep in mind that there may be a discrepancy while switching from one tool to another.
As for website traffic, Google Analytics is the most common and universally recognized tool. If correctly istalled, it is one of the most reliableand allows us to analyze in depth a lot of information about our audience. However, there are other similar tools that offer very interesting additional features. For example, Yandex Metrica offers free heat maps, click maps and session recordings. Google Tag Manager instead allows us to make advanced analysis on conversions and actions performed on the website. The advice is to use Google Analytics and evaluate, according to the goals of the analysis and the loading times of the scripts on page, which ones to add.