Google Tag Manager should be every SEO’s best friend, especially when working with slow or uncooperative developers. Not only do you have the ability to enable Google Analytics tracking through Tag Manager, but you also have the ability to perform a host of other functions, including event tracking, code injection, and AdWords & Remarketing tagging. The best part is that most of these can be implemented directly through the Tag Manager interface: with few exceptions, there is no additional onpage code required. This feature alone has saved me hours in the past for projects that would have otherwise required endless back and forth with a development team.
4 best use cases of Google Tag Manager for SEO:
- Form/Event Tracking
- Schema Implementation
- Metadata Injection
- Improved PageSpeed Score
At the end of the day, your goal with SEO or any other digital marketing should be to drive more business to your or your client’s site. With that in mind, having proper event and conversion tracking on your site is crucial. Tracking where your customers are completing their customer journey, what source they arrived from, and the path they took for that journey are all important components of that tracking.
The events you can configure in Google Analytics are a great way to record this event tracking. However, implementing these events using traditional Google Analytics tracking code can be a royal pain in the neck. Let’s look at the RankWatch “Contact Us” form as an example:
2) Schema Implementation
Another great use of Google Tag Manager for SEO is for injecting schema onto a site. Schema is a type of semantic markup for a site that can provide additional signals to Google and other search engines about the content of the site. Although not a direct SEO ranking factor, proper use of schema can improve your chances of getting featured snippet results, knowledge panels, and other types of rich results in Google. 4 of the best ways to improve your schema for these rich results are through Organization, LocalBusiness, BreadcrumbList, and AggregateRating schema, all of which can have a direct effect on the information displayed about your website in search results.
Although schema can be implemented directly through a site’s HTML, you can run into many of the same issues as above: unresponsive developers, edits that need to be made when Schema.org updates its protocols, and slow iterations of debugging. Instead, if you use Google Tag Manager, you can inject the schema directly onto a site through an HTML Tag. Here’s an example of what that looks like for our Go Fish Digital services page:
As you can see from Google’s Structured Data Testing Tool, this schema fires and is detected by Google without any warnings or errors:
The versatility and flexibility Tag Manager has afforded us has been invaluable as we experiment with new types of schema and adapt to updates in the SERP landscape.
3) Metadata Injection
Hat tip to my colleague Brian Gorman (@briangormanGFD ) for bringing this to my attention. Using the same HTML Tag as we used for schema injection in #2 above, we can also inject metadata directly on to a page. Metadata is important because it’s how a number of SEO features are added to a site. Some of the elements that are included as meta elements include:
- Page Title
- Meta Description
- Canonical Links
- Rel Prev/Next Elements
- Noindex tags
- Open Graph Markup
- Twitter Card Markup
As you can see, having the ability to edit these elements directly through Tag Manager gives you incredible control over a website’s organic presence. While most of these elements are generally editable through a site’s CMS, there are times when you either don’t have access to the CMS or don’t have time to wait for a developer to implement your recommendations. In those cases, Tag Manager is the way to go.
4) Improved PageSpeed Score
Who among us hasn’t at one point or another come across the dreaded PageSpeed score from Google? It always looks something like this:
For anyone who’s attempted to implement these suggestions, you’ve likely seen how difficult and tedious that can be. The good news is that sometimes, those script resources can be implemented through an HTML tag in Tag Manager. Since Tag Manager itself is just another script on the page, adding additional code to be injected through Tag Manager will not have a negative effect on your Page Speed score. This means that if you can figure out an effective way to deploy scripts that are currently slowing down your page through Tag Manager instead, you have a good chance of improving your Page Speed score.
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