Why Use Google Analytics AND Webmaster Tools/Console?

Most website adminstrators know by now that Google Analytics provides valuable insights into user metrics. The information gained using this tool can guide a site builder in making educated decisions related to mobile optimization, advertising the site, and more. Yet, many fall short in learning about Google Console (formerly Webmaster Tools). The reason for this is that Analytics is more strongly promoted because it supports advertising, from which Google makes substantial revenue. Google Console, by way of contrast, provides the tools needed to drive traffic from organic sources (search engines). Both have a place in marketing a website, but neither should be used exclusively of the other.

Google Analytics tells us…

  • who is viewing the site,
  • from where,
  • how long they remained,
  • what pages they visited,
  • what browser they used,
  • what device,
  • and so much more

It would take an entire post just to get into all the details provided by Google Analytics. The most important aspect of Google Analytics is that it can tell us how best to use our marketing dollars. Natually, it integrates nicely with the Google Adwords advertising platform.

The Advantage of Adding Google Console/Webmaster Tools to Your Marketing Arsenal

English: A pie chart created in Excel 2007 sho...
English: A pie chart created in Excel 2007 showing the content of tweets on Twitter, based on the data gathered by Pear Analytics in 2009. (Photo credit: Wikipedia). Analytics such as these are vital to webmasters in growing traffic to their site.

Google Webmaster Tools used to be the high-realm for SEO experts. It contained a keyword tool that allowed webmasters with the information needed to optimize a website. That tool has been removed from Tools and revamped for use on Google Adwords. When Google did this, most engaging in search engine optimization (SEO) either switched to other online tools or Adwords. With SEO largely going away, this tool is largely used to drive ad campaigns. Google recently renamed it Console.

But this is not the only useful thing to be found on Google Console. In fact, I believe that this tool set is the best available for websites will low traffic. Why?

Although Analytics can tell us much about our audience, Google Console provides us with deep insight into the content we create. Sure, we need to know about who is reading our content, but if the content is underperforming, knowing why is very important. Otherwise, any changes we make to underperforming content is just guesswork.

Google Console contains a set of spreadsheets that reveal:

  • Issues with the Crawlers
  • Issues with Internal Links (404 errors)
  • Links to your site
  • Issues with your sitemap
  • Mobile Usability
  • Structured Data information
  • Search Analytics

There are many more tools in Google Console than this short list, but these are the most important.

Consider for a moment the last one, Search Analytics.

Graph and keyword list from Google Console (formerly webmaster tools) showing search results for criminal justice website. Caption reads, Google Console provides a detailed look at the exact terms people are using to find pages on a website. In this example, the website CriminalJusticeLaw.org is clearly driven by searches for the Principles of Sir Robert Peel for these consume four of the top five searches. Image Source: CriminalJusticeLaw.org CC by attribution.
Google Console provides a detailed look at the exact terms people are using to find pages on a website. In this example, the website CriminalJusticeLaw.org is clearly driven by searches for the Principles of Sir Robert Peel for these consume four of the top five searches. Image Source: CriminalJusticeLaw.org CC by attribution.

Although Google Analytics tells us about the people searching for our website and the pages contained thereon, Google Console tells us about the terms people are using to locate those pages. Analytics can tell us what page brought a person to the site but it does not tell us what terms were used to find it (unless we have integrated with Adwords AND paid for advertising that brought them to the site–this is something entirely different).

For instance, notice the image to the right. This is from the Google Console for one of my other websites, CriminalJusticeLaw.org. Note that the searches that bring the most traffic in this snapshot are for pages related to Sir Robert Peel’s Principles of Policing. Depending on the time-frame chosen for the data pull and the exact date, this may change.

Still, for sake of this demonstration I now know two very important things:

  1. There is less competition for this exact content OR I am strongly beating the competition and
  2. If I want more traffic to my site, I could, if I choose, add more related and relevant content about these topics.

These are just two of the things this information tells me. I can also download a complete spreadsheet of the searches to this site and learn not only what terms people are using to find various pages, but also how often they see but do not click on my content when it appears in their search. By knowing this “Click through rate” I can adjust pages so that more searchers choose my content over others when it does appear in their search results.

For this reason, I believe that for a website getting a little traffic, Google Console is far more useful than Google Analytics.


If you would like to learn more, contact C J Oakes with Oakes Writing Website Services. Oakes Writing provides content marketing solutions specifically for professional websites such as Law Firms, Real Estate Agencies, and more. Be sure to ask about our guarantee.