Two of the most helpful tools for SEO are powered by Google — Google Analytics and Google Search Console. What's the difference between Google Analytics and the Google Search Console? Do you need both?
What is Google Analytics?
Google Analytics (GA) is a free, enterprise-level web analytics platform. It allows you to make data-driven marketing decisions.
GA tracks your website's performance in enormous detail. There are engagement statistics to help you answer questions such as:
- How long does the average visitor spend on a website?
- How many pages does the average visitor view?
- What are the most visited pages on a website?
Other statistics are about the acquisition of visitors and help answer questions such as:
- What traffic sources led to visitors to a website (direct, search, social, referral, etc)?
- How is organic search traffic trending over time?
- How many visitors came to a website via an email marketing campaign?
Google Analytics also includes statistics about lead generation and revenue. It can be configured to help you answer questions such as:
- How much revenue did a store generate?
- How many forms were completed?
- What traffic sources lead to the most sales?
Understanding where your visitors are located, how they reach your website, and what they do on your website is the foundation of your digital marketing campaigns. Google Analytics provides the data to make insightful decisions.
Google Analytics & Keyword Data
Google Analytics is a powerful tool for SEO, but it isn't SEO specific. As noted above, GA a digital marketing tool that provides insights into all of your marketing channels.
There is one question that Google Analytics doesn't answer well which is important to SEOs … what keywords led to visits from Google organic search?
This data is combined into “not provided” in Google Analytics. This is where the Google Search Console comes in.
What is the Google Search Console?
The Google Search Console (GSC) is an SEO-specific, free tool from Google. It creates a communication channel between you as a site owner or webmaster and Google's crawlers.
To get started with the Google Search Console, you need to verify your relationship to the website. Here's how.
Now, you have a treasure trove of SEO-specific data. In fact, the Google Search Console is our favorite SEO tool.
Here are a few key insights you can gain from the GSC:
Performance: Keyword performance data from organic search is available including what keywords led to clicks and impressions. You'll also note an average position and the click-through rate for each keyword.
The Performance data helps you understand what keywords drive traffic to your website. Analyzing this data reveals areas of growth. For example, what keywords have high impressions, but an average rank that puts you out of the running for traffic?
Coverage: The Coverage report helps you understand how Google is crawling and indexing your website. This report can be complicated. Start simple by seeing if the total number of pages in Google's index seems roughly equivalent to the size of your website.
Sitemaps: An XML sitemap is like your website’s resume. It gives the search engines a list of the pages you would like indexed along with relevant information such as when a page was last updated. You can submit your website’s XML sitemap to Google in the GSC.
And so much more! Verify your website with the Google Search Console to uncover all of its features.
Google Analytics vs Google Search Console
Both Google Analytics and Google Search Console are essential tools for SEO. It’s not GA vs GSC, it’s GA + GSC.
It’s also possible to connect Google Analytics with the Google Search Console. Learn how.
Take a Step-by-Step Approach to SEO
SEO might seem overwhelming at first, but it doesn’t have to be. And you don’t have to be an SEO expert to get your website found in Google.
Instead, you need to follow a step-by-step process. At Pathfinder SEO, we distill 10+ years of agency experience into a guided SEO platform for site owners, freelancers, and agencies.
Learn more and schedule a demo.