Google Analytics & Search Console Data Never Match – And Here’s Why
Google Analytics & Search Console Data Never Match – And Here’s Why, Google Analytics and Search Console data don’t match and you’re seeing discrepancies in the reported data.
The data from Google Analytics and Search Console do not match.
The discrepancy gives the impression that the data is inaccurate in some way.
The reality is that the data is correct. The discrepancy is what is crawled and how Google presents it.
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Google Analytics Versus Search Console
Google Analytics & Search Console Data Never Match – And Here’s Why, Reconciling data from Google Analytics and Search Console can be tricky because the numbers don’t really add up.
The reason is that both services solve different problems. Because of this, both services have different approaches to how data is collected and reported.
Purpose Of Google Analytics
Typical reporting includes:
Analytics can track performance goals such as purchases or lead generation.
Can provide real-time site traffic data.
Provides session quality data to show how close traffic is to conversions.
User behavior on the website.
It should be noted that the data provided by Google Analytics measures the performance of the website (in terms of website visitors).
While Analytics provides feedback on website performance, this report focuses on website traffic and what website visitors are doing.
The Google Analytics overview page reflects the focus on the site visitor:
“Get a deeper understanding of your customers. Google Analytics gives you the free tools you need to analyze data for your business in one place.
Understand your site… users to better evaluate the performance of your marketing, content, products, and more.”
The underlying purpose of Google Analytics is very different from Search Console, as Search Console focuses on site performance relative to search visibility.
Purpose Of Google Search Console
The information provided by Search Console is designed to help publishers understand how well their sites are performing in Google Search.
Search Console also provides search and indexing data, which is useful for troubleshooting search visibility issues.
On a special level, Search Console provides how for Google to proactively communicate with publishers concerning search visibility problems like manual actions (penalties), hacked status, improperly organized structured data, mobile usability issues, and alternative helpful data that helps a publisher maintain ideal search visibility in Google Search.
Finally, Search Console provides a way for publishers to fix localized language issues, set a site-wide country target, ban inbound links, and other tasks related to improving search visibility.
Google’s Search Console help page lists these data points:
Confirm that Google can find and crawl your site.
Fix indexing problems and request re-indexing of new or updated content.
View Google Search traffic data for your site: how often your site appears in Google Search, which search queries show your site, how often searchers click through for those queries, and more.
Receive alerts when Google encounters indexing, spam, or other issues on your site.
Show you which sites link to your website.
Troubleshoot issues for AMP, mobile usability, and other Search features.
The first reason Search Console and Analytics data are different is because each product’s purpose is different: they do different things.
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Search Console And Analytics Discrepancies Explained
Google Analytics & Search Console Data Never Match – And Here’s Why, Since both services serve different purposes, Google Search Console and Analytics will do things like collect data in different ways and because of this the reports will look different and have discrepancies.
The data is correct but is simply displayed differently.
The following is a list of various reasons why Analytics and Search Console data appear to be discrepancies.
Definition Of Search Is Different
One of the main reasons for the discrepancy between Google Analytics and Search Console is that they both measure search traffic differently.
What Analytics calls search traffic is different than what Search Console calls Search traffic.
Google Analytics includes Google Discover data in the search category.
This means if you look at organic search traffic in Analytics, it’s not just Google Search box traffic, it’s also Google Discover traffic.
However, Google Search Console splits Google Discover traffic and organic search results and displays a separate report for Google Discover traffic.
Google Analytics Is Blocked From Collecting Data
Another reason Search Console and Analytics disagree is that Analytics tracking is increasingly being blocked online.
Google Analytics cannot collect data from privacy-oriented browsers and extensions that block analytics.
For example, the DuckDuckGo browser extension and Mozilla’s Firefox browser block Google Analytics from loading.
Search Console data is not blocked, so this is another possibility that more or different data is collected in Search Console and differs from the data collected in Google Analytics.
Time Delay Discrepancies
Another reason traffic data reports differ between Search Console and Google Analytics is that Search Console data is delayed by several days, while Analytics can report data in seconds.
The delay in reporting in Search Console can result in incomplete data at the time it is displayed.
Search Console Omits Certain Queries
Search Console protects user privacy, which is why the Search Console performance report omits data from certain types of queries.
A Google Search Console help page explains:
“To protect user privacy, the Performance report doesn’t show all data.
For example, we might not track some queries that are made a very small number of times or those that contain personal or sensitive information.
Some processing of our source data might cause these stats to differ from stats listed in other sources (for example, to eliminate duplicates).
However, these changes should not be significant.”
Anonymized Queries Totals In Performance Report
Performance report data does not match organic traffic data in Analytics for the above reasons, and anonymous queries are another reason Search Console performance data is further removed from the data reported in Analytics.
Google’s Search Console support page states:
“Very rare queries (called anonymized queries) are not shown in these results to protect the privacy of the user making the query.
Anonymized queries are always omitted from the table. Anonymized queries are included in chart totals unless you filter by query (either queries containing or queries not containing a given string).
If your site has a significant number of anonymized queries, you may see a significant discrepancy between the total versus (count of queries containing some_string + count of queries not containing some_string).
This is because the anonymized queries are omitted whenever a filter is applied.”
Time Zone Differences
Google Analytics reports data on a daily and monthly basis based on the publisher’s time zone.
The publisher’s time zone is set in the analytics view settings where the preferred time zone for the website can be set.
Google Search Console reports data according to Pacific Daylight Time (PDT), which is the California time zone, regardless of what country or time zone a website is set for.
What this creates is a situation where Search Console is assigning data to one time zone, and Google Analytics is assigning data to a different time zone (when the site time zone is outside of California).
This is going to make a big difference in how the data is reported because it virtually guarantees that daily and monthly traffic data will never match between Search Console and Analytics.
According to the Google Analytics page for editing view settings:
“Time zone country or territory: The country or territory and the time zone you want to use as the day boundary for your reports, regardless of where the data originates.
For example, if you choose United States, Los Angeles Time, then the beginning and end of each day is calculated based on Los Angeles Time, even if the hit comes from New York, London, or Moscow.
If you choose a time zone that honors Daylight Savings Time, Analytics automatically adjusts for the changes.
If you do not want Analytics to adjust for Daylight Savings time, then you can use Greenwich Mean Time instead of your local time zone.”
Landing Page URL Differences
Landing pages in Search Console are aggregated to some extent, while landing page URLs are not aggregated in Analytics.
Google’s support page explains it like this:
“Landing Page dimension: Search Console aggregates its data under canonical URLs (learn more), whereas Analytics uses the actual landing page URL.
This distinction will impact reports that include the landing page dimension including Landing Pages and Devices/Countries (when Landing Page is added as a secondary dimension).
For example, Impressions and Click metrics for web, mobile web, and AMP URLs could be aggregated… under a canonical URL…”
Search Console Data Is Limited
Another key difference between the reporting data between Search Console and Google Analytics is that Search Console is limited to reporting data for up to 1,000 landing page URLs.
Google Analytics does not have this limitation and can report more landing pages than 1,000 URLs.
A Google Analytics support page explains the differences:
“Number of URLs recorded per site per day:
Search Console records up to 1,000 URLs for landing pages.
Analytics does not observe the 1,000-URL limit, and can include more landing pages.”
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Data Differences In Search Console and Analytics
Google Analytics & Search Console Data Never Match – And Here’s Why, There are data discrepancies between the Search Console and Analytics measurements and reports.
The reasons for the differences range from the time zone that traffic events are mapped to to the way landing pages are aggregated.
The fact that there are differences between the numbers reported in Search Console and Analytics does not indicate that there is a problem with the data.
These are two different products that report data in different ways, and that’s about it.
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