Why Search Console and Analytics Differ in Discover Reporting

Google’s John Mueller answered a question in the Office Hours Hangout about the discrepancy between Google Search Console (GSC) and Google Analytics when it comes to reporting on Google Discover traffic. Mueller explained the reason this happens and the reasoning for why Analytics Discover reporting is different.

Discrepancies Between Search Console and Analytics

The differences between Search Console and Analytics is something that baffles search marketers. It would seem that the reporting should be similar but that’s not always the case.

Particularly for Discover, there is a difference.

This is the question asked:

“My question is regarding the performance measurement of Google Discover.

I have a client whose site has been up for seven or eight years and they have great content.

What I’m seeing is for a particular day and for a particular page, if Search Console is showing let’s say 100 clicks and if you check that particular page and particular date on analytics, …it shows …discrepancy in the sessions and the clicks.

There it is showing around 20 sessions …in analytics.

So there is a lot of discrepancy.

What is the good way to measure the Google Discover performance?”

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Search Console Accurately Tracks Discover

John Mueller responded to the question by stating that Search Console is more accurate than Analytics for tracking Google Discover traffic.

John Mueller responded:

“I think the only way to measure it is in search console. Because in particular in Analytics, the traffic from Discover is almost always folded into Google Search and then you can’t separate that out.

So it’s only in Search Console do you see …the bigger picture.”

Why Analytics Doesn’t Accurately Track Discover

The person asking the question followed up to ask why Analytics tracked Discover in a way that doesn’t separate it out from Google Search.

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Google Discover content is not the direct result of a search. It just shows up.

But a case could be made that it is an indirect result of search history that reveals a users interest in certain topics.

Some of the topics of interest that are revealed through search history are then surfaced in Google Discover.

So because Google Search plays a role in content that is surfaced in Google Discover, that might be reason enough to fold Discover traffic into Google Search traffic and to not differentiate between the two of them.

That and the fact that it can be tracked in Search Console.

Mueller didn’t go into the details, it might be something that the Discover team might have more to say about.

Mueller responded:

“In particular Discover, we see as a part of Google Search so we don’t separate it out.

…At least the Discover team they basically decided well, Discover is a part of Search so we’re not going to separate it down.”

Google Search Console for Discover Analytics

Google acknowledged that there is a difference in how Search Console and Analytics tracks Discover traffic.

It’s good to know that Analytics is inaccurate and now that the mystery is resolved there is no further cause for head scratching about the difference.

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Citation

Analytics vs GSC Discrepancies in Discover Traffic

Watch John Mueller answer the question at the 50:04 minute mark

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Searchenginejournal.com

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