Why doesn’t the clickthrough data in Webmaster Tools match what I see in Google Analytics?
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Why doesn’t the clickthrough data in Webmaster Tools match what I see in Google Analytics?


Today we’ve got a question from
Paul in Washington, D.C. Paul wants to know, why doesn’t
the click through data for the keywords in my webmaster portal
report match my Google Analytics data? It’s a very good question. So, just to give you a little
bit of perspective, the Google Analytics team is separate from
the Google webmaster tools team. And in fact, they’re in
different locations, they use different code bases. 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 — the
webmaster portal 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’re using a browser which 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 webmaster tools 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 a little
bit different numbers. It would be nice if things were
completely unified and they were counted exactly the same. But you’re 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.

10 Comments

  • andyhatt

    Hmm I'm not sure this is the full story…

    Javascript settings may account for differences between _Google Analytics_ and _Server Logs_, but what Matt doesn't mention at all is the 3rd party WMT approximates Impression & Clickthrough data.

    I am guessing it would be very resource-intensive to report on exact impression and clickthrough numbers on such a massive scale, especially considering all the variable results. WMT probably extrapolates data from a sample set, or something like that.

  • Alexandru Pulpa

    The guy who spammed 15 hours ago… is he stupid or something? the link is not valable… and what does a romanian second hand dacia car spare parts site has to do with the master of google, Matt Cutts? 😮

    These spammers, they never learn!

  • VHT Studios

    What about the huge difference between Traffic Sources:'Keywords' in Google Analytics and 'Queries' in Webmaster tools. Webmaster Tools shows about 1,200 different queries, Analytics is showing over 20,000 'Keywords' generating clicks for the same exact website?

  • ScienceAround

    @Films4You yup, especially after they said that they accidentally collected private data from unsecured wireless networks. "Accidentally" LOL

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