I’ll never forget the first time I tried to compare and reconcile the search query data between Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics. I nearly fell on the floor, nothing matched. The number of impressions varied wildly between the two, the top search queries different, and I was baffled.
I immediately turned to Google search to find the answer. Search after search yielded bazillions of results, but no answers. My only consolation was that I clearly wasn’t the only person who had the question. There were multiple forum posts and requests for help titled with things along the line of
“Keywords do not match – “Webmaster Tools Top search queries” vs. “Google Analytics Traffic Sources”
I saw answers that ranged from:
“The difference is because Google Webmaster data is updated monthly whereas in Google Analytics you can see the daily activity.” (for the record, this isn’t accurate)
“I have never successfully reconciled even a part of one with any part of the other. Trying to do so is an exercise in futility and likely to cause irreparable psychological harm.”
I continued my search. The information on Google Webmaster Tools Help, didn’t provide an answer to my question, although I did bookmark the page for future because was a great video about how to interpret and use the data.
Thank goodness I stumbled on the answer in a random blog post that unfortunately I can’t relocate it. I’d have liked to have given credit to the person who finally helped me solve the mystery.
Without further ado, let’s unlock the mysterious discrepancy between Google Webmaster Tools and Analytics.
- The default view for search queries in Google Analytics includes ALL search types – Image, Mobile, Web, and Vido
- The default view for search queries Google Webmaster Tools includes only Web Searches
I’m not sure why they default to Web only results in Webmaster Tools, maybe it’s because results coming from traditional search engine results pages are what most of us are focused on.
The neat thing is, that Google has given us another tool to analyze what is happening on our website. In Google Analytics you can see who’s coming to your site from a mobile device, but you can’t see who’s getting there because they’re searching through images or videos.
Click on the “Filters” button on the search queries dashboard to launch a window that contains pie charts. The pie charts show you how impressions to your site are distributed by source. You can apply additional filters to look at search queries, impressions, clicks, and click through rates by source and by location.
This is a fantastic way to gain insight into how people are getting to your site from mobile vs web.
You can apply a new filter in 4 simple steps:
- Click “Filters” to open the window with the pie charts
- Click on “Web” to change the Filter
- Select the filter you want to view (if you’re trying to reconcile the data between Webmaster tools and Analytics, select “All”)
- Click on “Apply New Filter”
Whala! You have successfully change the view of data.
One final tip: When you’re comparing ALL results in Google Webmaster tools with the results in Analytics, make sure the data ranges are the same. The defaults for date ranges are slightly different between the two tools, so if you don’t adjust them your data won’t match.
Google Webmaster Tools and Google Analytics are packed with information that can help you improve the performance of your website.
Contact me to schedule online or in person training and I can help you make sense of your data.
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