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Should You Use Google Analytics or Google Search Console?

Comparing Google Analytics vs. Google Search Console? Learn which tool can help you better understand your website visitors and provide more insight into your digital marketing.

Mar 12, 2024

7 m read

A winning search engine optimization (SEO) strategy depends heavily on how well it aligns with Google. Fortunately, the search giant offers two valuable tools to help you succeed.

  • Google Analytics (GA) gives insight into how people interact with your site so you can better plan marketing tactics.
  • Google Search Console (GSC) helps you get your site into shape to push it up the search rankings.

Should you use Google Analytics or Google Search Console to assess SEO performance? 

These tools aren’t an either/or proposition — leverage both platforms to ramp up your online presence and engage your customers. Below, we’ll guide you through the features, similarities, and differences of each tool to help maximize your reach and drive results.

What Is Google Analytics?

Google Analytics is a platform that helps you understand who’s using your website and how they behave. GA aggregates and provides this information in various reports. You can access data about the following:

  • Page traffic
  • Referral sources
  • User browser, device, and operating system
  • Audience demographics
  • Bounce rate
  • Session duration
  • Most viewed pages
  • Goal completions (desired actions such as adding products to a cart or making a purchase)
  • Ecommerce conversion data

Who Benefits From GA?

Google Analytics is helpful for businesses that rely on their website to attract and convert customers — and that’s most of us!

  • Marketers use GA to see what channels are drawing users, where users enter the site, and which pages spark the most interest.
  • Sales staff gather information on who is buying products and the path they take to purchase.
  • Web teams analyze user experience for insight into how well navigation, links, and calls to action are working.

Limitations of GA

As powerful as Google Analytics is, there are a few things it won’t do. The tool unfortunately can’t:

  • Track individual users. Data is anonymized, so you can’t personalize marketing based on interactions with your site.
  • Provide detailed, page-level feedback. If you’re interested in where users are focusing their attention on a page, what parts they’re scrolling past, or how much of a form they fill in before they change their mind, you’ll need another tool.
  • Provide accurate data on returning users. Users who switch devices or clear cookies count as new users.

What Is Google Search Console?

Google Search Console tells you how search engines perceive your site so you can troubleshoot problems and gain prominence in the search engine results pages (SERPs). You can customize reports for specific time periods and pull data relevant to your goals. For example, you can unlock data about:

  • Search positions, impressions, and clicks.
  • Queries that send users to your site.
  • Page traffic, including most visited pages.
  • Backlinks to your site.

You can also submit sitemaps and URLs to ask Google to crawl and index your pages and measure technical factors such as mobile friendliness, page speed, and visual stability. These elements enhance user experience and site rankings.

Who Benefits from GSC?

Google Search Console data is useful for different teams involved in digital marketing.

  • Web developers identify and troubleshoot technical problems, crawl errors, and broken links.
  • SEO specialists track search visibility and changes in keyword rankings.
  • Content strategists keep tabs on the relevance of blog posts, landing pages, and other content in terms of search position and traffic.

Limitations of GSC

Here are a few areas where Google Search Console may fall short of your needs.

  • There’s a delay before GSC processes and reports data, which means information in your reports is typically two to three days old.
  • The platform only retains data for 16 months, preventing you from running extensive historical reports.
  • GSC samples keyword data, so you don’t have access to specific search queries.
  • GSC doesn’t integrate with other platforms, so you can’t see email marketing or social media analytics within the tool.

Similarities Between Google Search Console and Google Analytics

While Google Analytics and Search Console have different purposes, they do share some common ground. They both give insight into common performance benchmarks — just with slightly different perspectives.

Website Traffic

Both GA and GSC can gauge how effective your SEO is at attracting audiences and traffic. Google Analytics focuses on traffic in terms of the number of users who visit your site no matter what channel they use. Google Search Console focuses on traffic in terms of click-throughs solely from search results.

Page Performance

There are different ways to look at page performance. GA provides metrics related to time spent on a page and successful interactions. These indicate how well a page is satisfying customer expectations. Meanwhile, GSC analyzes page performance from a search perspective, revealing whether pages align with search engine ranking factors and are optimized to encourage visibility and click-throughs.

Traffic Sources

An important part of website analytics is pinpointing how people get to your site. GA breaks down traffic by channel, including paid and organic sources, so you can tap into promising referral sources and tailor content. 

GSC is limited to organic search data but provides details into the keywords and queries sending visitors to your site. This helps you understand what users are curious about to guide your content.

User Data

Both Analytics and Search Console help you get to know your audience, although GA is much more in-depth. It draws details from users logged into their Google accounts while using your site. Use GA for information on audience by country, city, gender, age, interests, and language. You can also learn about the technology used, including browser, device category and model, operating system, and screen resolution. GSC provides information on countries and devices.

Tracking Goals

An effective SEO strategy has clear objectives, such as increasing traffic to generate revenue or boosting newsletter subscriptions to market directly to customers. Both GA and GSC help track progress toward your business goals.

Log onto GA to observe whether customers are performing actions such as signing up for emails or scheduling an appointment. You can tag these interactions as events to help track conversions. GSC is useful for tracking overall online visibility and traffic goals, such as ranking for certain keywords or improving click-throughs.

Search Queries

GA doesn’t provide information related to online searches unless you connect the platform to GSC (more on that below). However, you can set up GA to provide data on search queries made directly on your website. This tells you what visitors are trying to find when they land on your domain. GSC is focused on the queries people plug into Google to find your business.

Differences Between Google Search Console vs Google Analytics

The choice between using Google Analytics or Google Search Console depends on your business goals. For example, if you’re trying to gain traction for a new website, GSC is instrumental in getting your website up to par and gaining prominence in the SERPs. If your traffic isn’t converting, GA offers insights into user behavior. 

We’ll explain some of the differences between the two platforms so you can see which tool to turn to for your particular objectives.


A simple way to distinguish between the tools is to think about whether you want pre-click or post-click data. Search Console is focused on organic Google search results before someone lands on your site. You’ll learn where your site ranks, how many people see your search listing, and how many click through. Google Analytics picks up the story after someone clicks the snippet in the SERPs. It tells you what happens after that click — what pages users are exploring and how long their sessions are.

There are a few things to note with traffic metrics. GA considers a session as the number of times a user initiates a visit to your site. If someone leaves but returns within 30 minutes, GA only counts that as one session. A visit of less than 10 seconds (without a conversion or at least two page views) is considered a bounce.

GSC considers a click to occur when users leave the SERPs for a page on your site. If they come back to the search results and click the same link again, it’s counted as one click. If they then click a different link to your site, that is considered two clicks.


Another difference is that GA is focused on audience behavior while GSC concentrates on search engine performance. Both are critical to an impactful SEO strategy.

To draw users into your buyer journey, you need to appeal to their interests and expectations. You’ll get that insight from GA data, which helps identify patterns in behavior to improve content and user experience.

However, before your site can work its magic, you need customers. GSC focuses on acquiring search traffic by making sure your site uses SEO best practices to climb the search rankings and connect with users. This indirectly overlaps with the purpose of GA, as a technically sound site improves user experience.

You can also use Google Analytics to measure the impact of your Google Ads.


Before you can access Google’s data, you have to verify you own the property you want to track. This is especially important with GSC, as you can make changes that affect how a site ranks.

Google Analytics authenticates you through the tracking code you add to your web pages. If you’re able to access your content management system or HTML to implement this, you’re confirming you have ownership or permissions.

Search Console offers a few different verification methods:

  • Uploading a file to a specific URL on your site
  • Adding a meta tag to a specific page
  • Verifying the Google Analytics tracking code or Google Tag Manager snippet on your site’s homepage

Error Information

Google Analytics isn’t designed to find technical site errors. GSC, however, looks for issues related to crawling and indexing, including broken links and 404 errors. It’s good practice to regularly check Search Console for problems. You will also receive alerts if there are significant events affecting your site.

Reporting Features

GA enables you to customize reports, as well as access the following standard reports:

  • Reports Snapshot summarizes the number of users, countries of origin, and revenue from ecommerce sales.
  • Life Cycle Collection is an overview of movement through your customer funnel, providing data related to customer acquisition, engagement, monetization, and retention.
  • User Collection gives insight into the people visiting your site, including user attributes and the devices and technology they use.
  • Realtime Report tracks users in real time, including devices and geographic distribution.

GSC also has standard reports:

  • Performance Report summarizes page rankings, impressions, clicks, most visited pages, and search queries.
  • Index Pages tracks which pages are indexed or have crawling errors.
  • Page Experience gives insight into mobile usability, Core Web Vitals, and site security.
  • URL Inspection Tool assesses if a page can be indexed and if you’ve correctly implemented structured data.
  • Links Report details inbound links as well as pages that have the most internal links and backlinks.

Daily Limits

Google limits the requests you can make through the Analytics platform to manage its system resources. Free accounts are limited to exporting 1 million events per day. Events measure a specific occurrence or interaction, such as a click, purchase, or page view. Search Console limits the number of URLs you can ask Google to recrawl.

How To Use Google Analytics & Google Search Console Together

And that brings us back to the question of whether you should use Google Analytics or Google Search Console. 

While the tools serve up valuable data independently, they’re more powerful combined. Google lets you link Google Search Console to Google Analytics to tap into the strengths of both and simplify your workflow. This allows you to share data from GSC with GA so you’re using a single dashboard. You don’t have to switch between platforms, and you have access to additional reports.

Combining the tools lets you maximize your visibility in search engines and better serve your audience. You also have an extensive array of metrics at your fingertips, helping you get a big-picture overview of your SEO.

Track Your Growing Website Traffic With an SEO Partner

Data is a critical tool for assessing your SEO strategy and making sure it stays on track. But it’s only helpful if you can gain meaningful insights and translate them into real actions. Make sense of the numbers with an experienced SEO partner. Victorious can help you create an effective analytics strategy and generate more conversions with data-driven solutions. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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