Why you should never trust Search Console data (Part 1)

Please, be careful with Search Console data. It’s more than important. Don’t trust them 100%. This tool proposed by Google is of course useful. Like give keywords where you’re visible, or the ones clicked by the visitors. It’s more than better to know your 404 pages. But again don’t trust them blindly. Morever, never trust Google 100%… Use them to give you trends, and nothing more.

Note: I remain open-mind to debate or discuss potential mistakes. 

Analysis Environment

To understand my process, here is the environment where I’ve worked in:

  • the website has been released 2 weeks before the analysis
  • period : from 7th of August to 13th of August 2017
  • Search Console and Google Analytics are set up on the website
  • I’ve used R.studio and the searchConsoleR library, to extract data from Search Console API.

The data in the interface

Here are the data, given by the Search Console

First, I’m not really happy when I see that the total number of clics (79) is clearly not the sum given in the table (8). Let’s see what we can find in the API. Usually, data are more detailed.

The data in Search Console API

For information, I’ve extracted all the data day by day, keywords by keywords. Here are the results:


Good news : the data in the API are 100% the same that we can find in Search Console Interface (in the table). The bad news is my total number of clics is quite far away from the 79 clics.

The data in Google Analytics

In order to find an other comparison, I’ve had a look in Google Analytics. Here’s what I’ve found:

91 sessions ! This value is close to the 79 clics given by the Search Console.

In a nutshell

  • Clearly, Google gives few information regarding keywords and clics (less than 10% in that case).
  • The total number of clics is far away from the real number. In theory, we should find an organic session number from GA, equal or less than the number of total clics given by the Search Console.
  • Here again is a proof that this solution is more aim to give you trends and nothing more. We can note than we are staying in the Google environment. I cannot imagine if we decide to cross this data with an other webanalytics solution (like Adobe or IBM).

However, we stay on small volumes. It would be relevant to do the same analysis with websites getting more traffic volume (medium and/or high). I’ll suggest other analysis in the future. 

What about you ? Have you already been in this situation ?

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