See Better GA4 Reports when You Link Your Google Search Console to Include Search Data
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See Better GA4 Reports when You Link Your Google Search Console to Include Search Data
Kate Gingold
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See Better GA4 Reports when You Link Your Google Search Console to Include Search Data

Engagement Overview was the last stop on our GA4 tour, but there is one additional report, not part of the basic profile, that we suggest you add: Google Search Console (GSC).

GSC is a separate service offered by Google. Also free, you can link it to your GA4 platform to track search data all in one place. It’s simple to connect the two, as long as you have a Search Console property set up, are the verified owner of that property, and have at least the Editor role in GA4. Start with the GA4 menu and click “Admin.” Find “Product Links,” choose “Search Console Links,” and click the blue “Link” button. All done!

Now when you click on the “Reports” icon in the left-hand menu, you will see “Search Console” listed below “Life Cycle.” Click on the drop-down menu and two new reports will be available to you: “Queries” and “Google organic search traffic.”

Queries Report

In the world of online search, “query” refers to the term or phrase that a User types into the search box, such as “cicada” or “pizza near me.” The Queries report reports back on the organic search activity regarding your website specifically within the Google search engine.

The first graph, Organic Google Search clicks over time, shows how often Users clicked on a link to your website following a Google search. You can switch between per Day, Week, or Month.

To the right of that, is a bar graph labeled “Organic Google Search clicks by Organic Google Search Query.” This long title refers to the terms or phrases that brought traffic to your website. Knowing how people are searching will help you fine-tune the content on your website. Be sure that you are using the right words to attract the right people, the ones who want what you are offering.

Below these two graphs is an Organic Google Search query list, starting with the most popular queries. The “Clicks” number tells you how many times someone went to your site after clicking on a link found during a Google search.

The “Impressions” number refers to how many times your site was offered on a Google search results page. Keep in mind that just because your website was listed in the results, that doesn’t necessarily mean the User actually saw it in the list.

The “Click Through Rate” is the number of Clicks divided by the number of Impressions. A large number of Impressions is good because it means your website is showing up as the answer to a Query, but you really want a high CTR, proving your website is the best answer to the Query.

The last column of this report is “Average Position.” Back in the day, websites vied to be “Number One” on Google, that is, be listed first on the page when a User typed a query in the search box. Today, there are many lists where a website can be “first,” including ads, images, maps, and plain old links. Remember, search is personalized now, so the pizza website that is “Number One” in your neighborhood will not be “Number One” if you are searching from a computer in another state. Yes, you should aspire to a top Average Position number, but don’t obsess over it. Continued SEO efforts will improve your position.

Google organic search traffic

The second report screen under Search Console is Google organic search traffic. It starts with the same Clicks over time report as on the Queries screen, but focuses on the landing pages of your website.

On the right is a bar graph showing the top landing pages. A landing page is where a User “landed” when clicking on a link. This doesn’t have to be your website’s Home page. If you blog or have separate web pages for different products or services, those individual pages may be returned during a search query and be the links a User click on. In this report, you can see which pages are being landed on most often.

Below is a table with more stats for your website’s top landing pages. Like the Queries screen, you will see how many Clicks each page received as well as how many Impressions were recorded for the page, followed by the Click Through Rate. You will also see each page’s Average Position for Google search queries.

In addition, there are some new stats such as the total number of active Users and the number of Engaged sessions. An Engaged session means the User stayed longer than 10 seconds or did something like watch your video or click to a second page. As you might expect, the Engagement rate is calculated from these two data sets. You can also view the Average engagement time of your website visitors.

The next two columns in this report are Event count and Key events. Remember that Events are small actions a User takes while on your website that keep them engaged. Events include scrolling down a page, viewing a new page, or submitting a form. A Key event is Google’s new name for what used to be called a Conversion. According to Google, a Key event is “user action that’s valuable to your business,” such as making a purchase or setting an appointment. There’s also an Ad revenue column if you are running Google Ads.

As you can see, linking Google Search Console to your GA4 platform provides useful search data that you can’t get from GA4 alone. If you haven’t already set up GSC or if you aren’t sure if you have, we can assist with that. Just give us a call or drop us an email.

Photo by Lola Russian
 

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Kate Gingold

Kate GingoldKate Gingold

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

Other posts by Kate Gingold
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Full biography

I have been writing a blog with web marketing tips and techniques every other week since 2003. In addition to blogging and client content writing, I write books and a blog on local history.

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