We all know how valuable Google Analytics is when it comes to monitoring the performance of your website, and that Google’s Search Console data can help you see how your website is performing in the organic results.
But did you know that you can actually link these two properties together?
Doing so will give you a comprehensive view of how your website shows up and performs in Google in relation to how users interact with your site.
In this post I’m going to show you how to link Google Analytics and Search Console, helping you to get actionable insights about how users are finding and interacting with your website.
Deeper Insights with Google Analytics and Search Console Data Integration
On the 12th May 2016, Google announced that they were introducing the ability to display Search Console metrics alongside Google Analytics metrics in the same reports. This means that acquisition metrics from Search Console, such as impressions and click through rate, can now be viewed in relation to behaviour and conversion metrics from Google Analytics, like bounce rate and pages per session.
“With this update, you’ll be able to see your Search Console data and your Google Analytics metrics in the same reports, in parallel. By combining data from both sources at the landing page level, we’re able to show you a full range of Acquisition, Behaviour and Conversion metrics for your organic search traffic.”
Google’s announcement also highlighted some new capabilities resulting from the improved integration, including:
- Finding landing pages that are attracting many users through Google organic search (e.g., high impressions and high click through rate) but where users are not engaging with the website. In this case, you should consider improving your landing pages.
- Finding landing pages that have high site engagement but are not successfully attracting users from Google organic search (e.g., have low click through rate).
- Learning which queries are ranking well for each organic landing page.
- Segmenting organic performance by device category (desktop, tablet, mobile) in the new Devices report.
And this is how the two data sources look in the new combined report for landing pages:
Landing page report showing Google Analytics and Search Console metrics
So how do you access this information? Well first you need to make sure that your accounts are linked.
Linking Google Analytics to the Search Console
The procedure for linking the two accounts is simple. You just need to login to Google Analytics and click on ‘Admin’ and then ‘All Products’:
You will then see a list of Google properties and their associated status. You may need to scroll down to the bottom of the page to find Search Console settings:
You should then see the URL of your website, which confirms that it’s verified in the Search Console. All you need to do now is select the reporting view:
However, if you haven’t added or verified your site in the Search Console, you’ll see this:
At which point you’ll need to just follow the Search Console set-up instructions from my colleague Sarah’s Quick Guide to Google’s Search Console.
Taking a Look at the Data
So now you’ve linked your properties, let’s take a look at the metrics that you can find in Acquisition > Search Console:
Let’s say you wanted to take a look at how your top landing pages perform in Google combined with conversion data. You’d go to Search Console > Landing Pages:
Looking at the list above, you can see that I have sorted by the number of goal completions to find my most valuable pages. Are they performing well in search? Well, not all of them. If you take a look at the landing page in position 4, you can see that the click through rate is just 1.64% and the average position 16, which is on the second page of the search results.
However, the engagement metrics are relatively positive, although ideally we’d like bounce rate to be under 40%. Therefore I would consider this page to be a candidate for some on-page SEO improvements to help encourage click through rates from search. In this case I’d review the page title and description to see if they can be made more relevant or engaging.
If you wanted to review how your content performs in different countries, then you’d look at the Countries report. What you need to be looking for here is a positive search performance, like click through rate and position, but poor engagement metrics like bounce rate and goal completions. This would indicate that there might be a need to develop a language-specific version of your site for users in those countries.
The site I am reviewing in the following screenshot is for a manufacturing business which only provides services to companies based in the UK. As you can see a sizeable percentage of their organic impressions and traffic is coming from the rest of the world, especially the USA:
In this instance, I would use the Search Console to ensure that this website is set to target the UK using the International Targeting options under Search Traffic:
Using the Devices report, you can compare desktop, mobile and tablet search performance and engagement metrics together to quickly identify how users on each device engage with your content. On top of this, poor user engagement on specific devices highlights a need to improve the user experience on that particular device.
Another useful task would be to split your top landing pages by device category so you can see how your content performs on different devices. In the example below I can see that while my client’s content has a relatively high click through rate from search, the engagement metrics are poor. As it happens, this website is not mobile friendly at all, but if it was supposed to be then we would have to investigate the mobile user experience:
The Queries report lists the top queries that caused your site to show up in Google and is the only report that doesn’t integrate with Google Analytics. However, what’s useful here is that you can choose Country and Devices as a secondary dimension. This is especially useful in helping you understand the type of content you should be generating for different content or devices:
As with the Search Console, you can still compare Impressions, Clicks, CTR and Average Top Position:
Some Things to Remember
- Landing Pages, Countries and Devices will show both Search Console data and Google Analytics data, while the Queries report will only show Search Console data for individual queries.
- The Search Console data is still limited to the previous 90 days, so if you’d like to analyse this data over time then consider downloading it every month.
- As with the Search Console, the data is still delayed by approximately two days.
- Keyword data is still limited as Google does not display some queries (not set or not provided) including personal or sensitive information.
- Clicks from Search Console may differ from total sessions in Google Analytics.
- Any segment that is applied to the new combined reports will only apply to Google Analytics data.
If you haven’t linked your Google Analytics and Search Console properties, then you really should do so now. Even though you can still access all of the same data independently on both properties, it really does help you get a broader picture of your SEO performance when you can see the data from both sources combined.