It is the age-old question, one that stretches back to the first days of Google’s alterations to their search marketing tools. When Google Analytics and Google Search Console first crawled out of the early primordial soup that was the Internet in 2005, they had some alignments that allowed us to match up data points and make some inferences. These days, we can only look at the output from these two titanic tools, scratching our heads and asking ourselves:
“Why on earth are these data sets different?”
Trying to exactly match the landing page Photo Editing Services traffic from GA with the clicks from GSC is an exercise in futility. Much like Neil Patel and page two of Google’s search results, they simply don’t get along.
In the interest of shedding a light on one of the most pervasive frustrations the SEO industry struggles with, this is a breakdown of the underlying differences between GA and GSC. The former measures behaviours and attributes of the users, while the latter is concerned purely with a website’s metrics.
Trials and tribulations with either tool aside, they have fundamental differences that result in the disparities we see in the data, and today we’re going to put the mystery under a spotlight.
The Rank Modifier Engine
To understand how Google serves and refines individual SERPs, let’s look at this patented model for modifying SERP rankings from Google’s very own minds.
For a brand-new search, the pages are run through the Indexing Engine (2010) and the Scoring Engine (2020) before they hit the Ranking Engine (2030). Then, they are displayed, and the user picks their preferred result. Once they’ve clicked, their click is tracked (2050) and inputted into the Session Log (2060).
Here’s where it gets interesting. The tracked click from the session log is fed into the Rank Modifier Engine (2070). This engine influences the rankings for similar searches across time, presenting links it finds more relevant based on click history. Theoretically, this could broadly impact the relevancy score of all websites on a SERP, changing how they do in the Scoring Engine and where they appear on everyone’s SERP. This impact reverberates across all tools.
How is this relevant to the data disparity between the two tools? It comes down to how they measure a session and a click.