For those living under a rock, Google Tag Manager is a free tool for marketers to implement website tags that include conversion tracking, enhanced site analytics, remarketing and more. Tag manager makes it easy for marketing teams to implement enhanced tracking without having to get a development team involved. Google Tag Manager runs on a Tag Management system which allows marketers to integrate additional tracking into websites dynamically or for individual pages. Some of the benefits to using Tag Manager include:
- Cost Savings
- Built In Debugger Tool
If you aren’t convinced learn more about Google Tag Manager. Otherwise, let’s rock-n-roll!
If I haven’t lost you yet there are several advantages Tag Manager offers for SEO’s. For example, you can implement schema markup for local clients, insert meta no index tags, and implement rel canonical tags in a breeze.
Implementing Structured Data through Tag Manager
Structured data in its base form is information formatted in a way that can be universally understood. Schema Markup is a vocabulary for structured data developed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and Yandex. The goal is to create structured data markup that all search engines can understand. You can start to see how structured data can provide an edge when trying to gain organic visibility.
The benefits to Schema Markup really come into play if you are managing local SEO for a client or personal site. However, you can also leverage schema markup and micro data to mark up blogs, product information, aggregate reviews, key contact information and more.
To implement Schema Markup for a local business with Tag Manager we first need to generate our code. Fortunately, there is no need to code Schema manually we can make use of a JSON-LD generator. For local businesses and organizations I prefer to use J.D Flynn’s JSON-LD generator it is straightforward and includes a variety of additional schema elements I have yet to find with other generators.
Simply, follow the instructions and fill out all necessary fields. The schema tool will generate the necessary JSON-LD Schema Markup so you can implement it via Tag Manager.
Next, you should already have Tag Manager properly configured and set up on your site. From there you will go to your workspace and click “NEW”.
From here you will want to name your tag accordingly in case you need to reference back to it for updates.
From here the tag type we will create is a custom HTML Tag. Then you will want to set it to fire on your desired page. For our example, we will choose the contact page to fire the Schema Markup. We want to give search engines additional structured data on important information related to our website’s location, key phone numbers, business type, and address.
Once you have your HTML tag built out in Tag Manager you want to build out the trigger next to fire on the Contact page specifically. There is no point in firing the Schema tag site wide.
You can extrapolate this out further and implement Schema on additional pages depending on your website’s structure. You can add Schema on specific product pages, testimonials pages, and the blog section of your website.
As a side note – Some CMS’s may already inject Schema Markup into your website automatically. To check and see if your website has Schema Markup you can use Google’s structured data testing tool to see what if anything is missing.
Implementing Meta No Index Tags
Next, you can implement Meta No Index tags through Google Tag Manager. No Index tags are a special HTML <META> tag that tells robots not to index the content of a page, and/or not to scan it for links to follow.
To accomplish this successfully we have to specify variables and tell Tag Manager to fire this code in the head section. The breakdown will look like:
Var meta = document.createElement(‘meta’);
meta .name = ”robots”;
Meta.content = “noindex”;
The next step is to specify which page this code will fire on. It should go without saying you do not want to accidentally fire this tag site wide and remove your website from all major search engines.
After you have your custom HTML Tag built it’s time to specify what page this code should fire on.
As you can see above I am telling Tag Manager to fire this tag on the specific page above. The workflow looks like: “Page URL” – > “Contains” – > “https://www.example.com/t-emailerror.aspx”.
We can check that this tag is firing properly a number of different ways. First, I like to make use of Google Tag Manager’s debugger tool within Tag Manager.
Hit the ‘Preview’ button next to the blue Submit button to enter into preview mode. From there open up the specific web page where the container script is located.
From here we get a breakdown of Tag Manager containers that are firing off and ones that are not. We can see here that our meta no index tag is in fact, firing on the correct page. You can take this one step further and check with the Mozbar to see if the no index tag can be recognized.
Implementing Canonicals Through Tag Manager
It is typically best practices to implement self-referring canonical tags sitewide for SEO purposes. If you are kinda fuzzy on why we would do this it is probably a good idea to do a bit more research into canonical tags.
Since Moz published an in depth article recently on how to implement dynamic canonical tags I will not be going into that. However, you can learn how to implement dynamic canonical tags from Moz. It follows a similar format as the meta tag in our previous example.
Implementing One Off Canonical Tags
To implement one off canonical tags we will insert a custom HTML tag into the specific page we want to canonicalize. First, you need to create your HTML tag in Google Tag Manager.
Testing Canonical Tags
We have a few methods to test to see if the Tag is firing properly. First, you can use Google’s debugger tool for Tag Manager. Or, you can make use of the MozBar to get a quick read on whether or not it is recognizable. Chances are if Moz can find it then so will Google and probably Bing. The MozBar is a free browser add on that allows you to quickly get critical web page metrics.
Once you have it installed you can click on the ‘Page Analysis’ tab.
From there click ‘General Attributes’ tab and you can see whether or not the canonical tag is recognized.
Whenever possible it’s important to always hard code Schema Markup, no index tags, and canonical tags. However, there are times when it’s not possible to hard code these meta tags. With that being said Tag Manager makes it a breeze to implement schema markup, meta no index tags and canonical tags on the fly.