When someone recently asked about analytics in our free Small Business Marketing Challenge Facebook group, I knew I needed to deep dive into the Google Search Console vs Google Analytics debate.
One common misconception about writers (both content and copy) is that we don’t mess with numbers. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, numbers factor into every decision we make when it comes to writing in digital marketing. But we need to make sure we’re using numbers that make sense for the task at hand.
That’s why it’s so important to understand the difference between Google Search Console vs Google Analytics. Ready to dive deep with me? Let’s go!
Metrics Matter: Google Search Console vs Google Analytics
Understanding your audience is crucial to your business because it makes it easy for clients or customers to connect with you. But you don’t have time to connect with every person who encounters your brand online or in real life. That’s where Google comes in with tools that track your most important metrics.
Now, it’s easy to think the Google Search Console vs Google Analytics debate pits the two services against each other. But they are actually quite different.
Google Analytics tracks user behavior and tells you how users engage with your website.
Google Search Console gives website owners information about visibility, organic search reach, and how to improve websites from a technical standpoint.
The Secret Sauce of Google Analytics
Released way back in 2005, Google Analytics is a free tool that is the most used analytics platform on the Internet. If you need to find out something about the people visiting your website (as long as it’s about demographics or ads).
My favorite feature is the Realtime stats that show you how many people are on your site, what they are viewing, and what’s sending them your way in real time. But let’s talk a little more about the top three features of Google Analytics.
Audience reports are the meat and potatoes of the Google Analytics machine. This is where you find out how many users visit your site (and who might be new!), how long they stay on your site, your average bounce rate, where they live, and even what kind of device they’re using to access your content.
Knowing about who is using your site is useful, but knowing how they found you is a gamechanger. With Google Analytics Referral Traffic (or Acquisitions) tab, you can determine who/what is sending traffic your way be it a link on social media, a well researched SEO keyword, or a shoutout from an influencer.
Once you know who’s on your site and where they came from, you can dig in to see what kind of content is resonating with them with the User Behavior tab. This tells you the most popular content on your website and where people go from one page to another. As a marketer, this is the cream of the crop when it comes to analytics because you can glean so much information about your audience and create a strategy that aligns with their interests.
Go Behind the Scenes with Google Search Console
Now, Google Search Console used to be known as Google Webmaster Tools. But after a makeover in 2018, it joined the Google tools we now know and love (especially when comparing Google Search Console vs Google Analytics).
Google Search Console is a powerful tool that focuses on search behavior, meaning impressions and clicks. Impressions mean how many times a search appeared on someone’s screen. Clicks means how many times it’s clicked. Obviously.
When you divide clicks with impressions, you get your click-through rate (CTR) and that tells you the success rate of an online campaign.
But let’s dive into a few features within the console that you will love.
Organic Search Data (helps with SEO)
With Google Search Console employed, you can see all search queries users typed before they found your content. This is incredibly valuable information if you want to use a search engine optimization strategy to develop and steer your content. If you know what people are searching for, you can more easily target your content to anticipate and meet their needs.
URL Inspection & Live Testing
This feature might seem boring on a surface level, but the URL inspection tool gives you a technical lens to look through your site. While content is key, sometimes technical features, plugins or add-ons keep our websites from performing the best. When your site is working to the best of its ability, Google is more likely to give it a stamp of approval and rank it for your target SEO keywords.
Inbound & Outbound Links
Another cool feature of Google Search Console is its ability to aggregate inbound and outbound links. What does this mean exactly? You can see exactly who links back to your site. Backlinking is a great way to build credibility within Google’s ranking system, especially if reputable sites are linking to you. Since they pool this data for you, you can begin to build relationships with people who are already linking to your content and begin to identify other sites in that niche that might like (and link!) your content, too.
So Who Wins in Google Search Console vs Google Analytics? You Do!
Google Search Console and Google Analytics are both free tools from Google that can open many opportunities for meaningful connection and content for your audience. But if the data is overwhelming (or you just need someone to bounce ideas off of!), our team of expert digital marketers can help! Schedule a call with us to start a conversation about how you can use metrics to supercharge your content marketing efforts and boost your bottom line.