Although both Google Analytics and Search Console (Webmaster Tool) is website analysis tools, there is a common misconception that they both offer the same functionality.
However, using one over the other can leave you in the dark for important information to optimize your sites.
A simpler way to describe the difference between Google Analytics and Google Search Console is: Google Analytics provides information on how website users interact with your site. It is a user-oriented tool that collects data each time a user visits and interacts with your website.
Whereas, Google Webmaster Tool (Search Console) keeps an eye on the health of your website by providing insights that help improve visibility in the SERPs.
The best part of both tools is that they are free to use and provide valuable and actionable information.
What Is Google Analytics And How It Is Useful?
Google Analytics was made with user behavior tracking in mind. The core purpose of the tool is to provide insights on how users interact with your website or app.
If you want to understand how people are finding your website/app and how they are engaging with it, with the below metrics, Google Analytics explains everything you need to know.
With audience demographics, you find almost everything about the user interacting with your website. From demographics and interests to geography, technology, and devices they are using to surf. Apart from this information, it also shows you how your website is doing compared to other websites in your vertical.
Acquisition Data (Referral Traffic)
Another very useful part of GA (Google Analytics) is Acquisition Data. It helps you to understand from which source/medium users are coming to your website and will also let you know your daily, monthly, and yearly basis report. Some of the examples of the sources are Direct, Referral, Organic Search, Social Media, Email, etc.
This section of the GA lets you understand the user behavior like; What users do once they land on your website? What page did the user land on? How long the user stays on your website? Where do they go next? Which page do they exit from?
One can use this information to analyze the performance of content and realize where you’re falling short in terms of engagement or optimization.
Landing Page Performance Data
This part of the GA lets you understand that which landing pages are working best on your website. It’s important a website to measure exactly how the landing pages are performing. The data helps to have a clear understanding of different elements on the page, and determine which ones work best to give you the desired results.
Conversion tracking is the core element in measuring the success of any campaign. It provides you the data that can help you to determine the ROI of your campaign to make informed marketing actions. For example, you can track if someone places an order, fills out a contact form, calls you, downloads a resource from your website, or visits a specific number of pages.
This particular section shows the data about how long visitors are staying on your site. It offers information about the average amount of time a user spends on the page on your website. This will then help you check if your visitors are reading, learning, and enjoying the content that is on your website.
Google Analytics custom reports offer an advanced view of your marketing data. It is perhaps the most useful feature in GA, as they enable you to find the data and presentation that best suits your business goals.
What you are doing with a custom report is creating a default template for a report that includes (and discards) exactly the metrics and dimensions you want.
Unique Pageviews combine the pageviews that are from the same person, on the same page, in the same session. For instance, if a user lands on the homepage of your website and then goes to the service page and then again comes back to the homepage, then the count for pageview will be 2 times but the unique pageviews will be single.
GA lets you connect to any third-party tools with their public API. For instance, if you are using WordPress as your CMS, then you can directly get analytics data within your dashboard for easy consumption. Search Console, Google Adwords, Google AdSense, AdExchange, BigQuery, DoubleClick, Google Play and Postpacks are just a few of some of the platforms you can get data from into Analytics.
What Is Google Webmaster Tool (Search Console) And What It Offers?
Search Console or GWT (Google Webmaster Tool) provides the analytics and data related to the performance of your website through organic search.
It helps to fix problems and offers a lot of other features that you can use to improve the visibility of the sites. Below are some of its metrics you can use to boost the performance of your digital product.
Organic Search Data
Google Webmaster Tool or Search Console is an extremely powerful tool that shows you all the relevant search data from Google themselves. It measures the visit to the website that come from naturally generated search engine results. These results are not influenced by any paid search activity and are driven purely by Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts. The four main metrics of organic search data is Total Impression, Total Clicks, Average CTR, and Average Position.
URL Inspection is used to test how Google renders your website, and how the indexing is taken into consideration. The tool provides a “detailed crawl, index, and serving information” about your webpages directly from the Google index. It helps you identify and troubleshoot any problems that may be preventing your website from ranking well.
The mobile usability report shows common issues that non-responsive websites face when viewed on mobile devices. The report will break down what issues were found and on which pages, with links to learn more about each type of issue. Working over this will not only improve the experience for the end-user but will also positively impact Google search rankings.
Also, Read – Avoid These Common Website Design Mistakes for Better SEO Results
Website Enhancement (Speed, Usability & Schema)
Website enhancement is the key to the survival of every online business as it can leave a lasting impression on the minds of your customers about your brand. This dynamic report changes together with your website. It includes monitoring the number of visitors, finding and fixing website errors, submitting a sitemap, and even creating and checking a robots.txt file for the website.
Top Keyword Queries
This metric helps you with the search queries that led people to your website, and where it ranks against top keyword queries. If you’re struggling to decide which keywords to include in your title and meta description, then this is the perfect part of Search Console to look at.
Inbound & Outbound Links
What if you want to know who linked back to your website, or what websites you are offering links to? This section of the search console offers you the data that can help you with all such information. Use this report to know about the quality sources and contact them directly to enhance your relationship with them. You may also use this to gauge the popularity of your page and how you can repurpose your content to maximize its reach.
Crawl & HTML Errors
This type of error is very helpful to allow Google’s spider to crawl your website and find issues that either prevent it from indexing the page or go against Google’s guidelines.
Various types of malware can affect your website. Nowadays, many are suffering from malware attacks but one can safely remove this malware attack by following the Google recommendations on Search Console. Once Google Webmaster Tool detects that your site is hacked, it will show the warning page as shown below.
Index Coverage Reporting
This reporting system lets you learn which of your webpages have been indexed and if any problems encountered while indexing your website. It shows the indexing state of all URLs that Google has visited, or tried to visit. By clicking on the errors, you can potentially fix errors on your site and validate the fix for Google.
Google Analytics vs Search Console: The Conclusion
Whether you are working with a third-party client or personally managing your brand’s digital presence, both Google Analytics and Google Search Console provide high-end information that can help you in making better strategies for your campaign and achieve a higher ranking on search engines.