SEO Tip #81: Why Doesn’t The Click through Data In Webmaster Tools Match What I See In Google Analytics?

Matt Cutts: That’s a good question. To give you a little perspective the Google Analytics team is separate from the Google Webmasters Tool team. In fact they are in different locations. They use different code basis. They’re really sort of completely different silos within Google. So it’s not as if a ton of data sharing goes on between those two areas of Google.

I’ll give you one example way in which they can be skewed. Google Webmaster report essentially might say, “look we know the number of impressions, we know the number of clicks, or whatever” because that’s monitoring stuff on the server side of Google. It’s basically saying ok we know how many times people saw this particular website.

Google Analytics uses JavaScript. So if someone has JavaScript turned off or they are using a browser that does not have very good JavaScript support maybe it’s an ancient browser or something like that, or maybe they’re using no script and they don’t trust JavaScript to run and they’ve disabled Google Analytics for whatever reason, that user is going to look relatively invisible to Google Analytics.

So JavaScript is just one example way where you might look in your server logs, you might look in the Google Webmasters Tool report, or you might look in Google Analytics, and you might see slightly different numbers there. But to a first approximation they should be quite close.

You can always use slightly different methodologies, and that can give you kind of little bit different numbers. It would be nice if things were completely unified and they were counted exactly the same but you are always going to have a few situations like people who disable JavaScript deliberately or people who, for whatever reason, have JavaScript turned off. And that might skew your results no matter what.

So we figured it’s better to give you as good information as we have in both cases, on both situations, and then you can take that data, consider the source, and then still get good, useful, actionable information out of it.

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About the Author

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson has been on the Internet since the its dawn(ie his first computer program was recorded on cassette tape) and his first hard drive cost about as much his current MacBook. His first byline was in 1993 for a local newspaper rag he eventually helmed, and his last “real job” was at a computer start up which ended when it ended. Throughout it all he’s freelanced and blogged. Now he is mesmerized by Search Engine Optimization forever trying to “rise to the top” for the right reasons. He’s been married to his wife Julia for as long as he can remember and has two lovely, wonderful children. He looks forward to sharing the latest in the technical best for all the online entrepreneurs.