41 | Google Tag Manager with Gerry White from Just Eat


Gerry White is an SEO consultant working as Tech SEO Lead with Just Eat. He sometimes does freelance analytics work too, finding out of the box solutions. Gerry runs Take it Offline, a conference/fun social for SEO and Digital Marketers where I usually tend to catch him and have a chat.  He has worked with BBC in the past for example and has also worked agency side as well as client side and freelance for nearly 20 years. So a massive breadth of experience! 

Why Use Google Tag Manager for SEO?

It’s a way of injecting JavaScript onto a site. Google Tag Manager (GTM) lets you add markup and page schema for example or Json information that Google can use to update Title tags and reviews etc. Be aware though, this isn’t always the best approach because Google has to reprocess it (which can take weeks to see the information.) 

GTM’s original purpose is managing analytics tags and the JavaScript (JS) means easy to set up on the page. On the clever side, JS can repurpose information as well. A Json ID block for example that’s added can help with rich snippet creation. 

Potentially, it’s a way to make changes without your website developers but do let them know about it of course. Hackers can get into your site as some GTM has significant security implications. For example, someone can scrape every key code, like customer information and that’s super dangerous. 

Essentially, you need a process where leavers don’t have access to your GTM/GA and where your tags are maintained.  

Real Life GTM Project Examples
Gerry shares a couple of examples of how GTM can be used. He was able to easily add a social feed by using GTM to execute a food festival project at Just Eat. 
When Gerry noticed sites duplicating Just Eat, he used GTM to noindex their entire sites in an instant. 

Top Tip to Use GTM? 

Take it slowly. It does get more complicated as you get into it so put it on your site and do the basics first.  Connect it to analytics and get things tracked so that they’re showing reliable data. Then test things out and find out what extra things you’d like to do with GTM. Increase it slowly and don’t configure large things all at once as some things may no be compatible and you won’t know which bits. 

Gerry says https://www.simoahava.com/ has plenty of advice.

If customers are logged into your site, you’re able to take extra information such as what areas they’re visiting. With that you can create good profiles on them. You can then retarget them via other campaigns, especially if they’ve returned a product or it’s not their first purchase. 

Use the information in the data layer to personalise content and make more localised and relevant to the different users. 

Also, Gerry uses GTM to identify 404 pages. Nothing on the page is usually different (sometimes use title tag to differentiate them) but then can’t segment in GA usually. GTM can help you understand when people visit a broken link easier. A great automated way of doing this for a large ecommerce site in my opinion. 

Bogey Metrics

Gerry has a rant about metrics that don’t mean anything. Take bounce rate and conversion rate in GA, he calls them bad metrics unless you take them out of being sitewide metrics. 

Bounce rate example: “If I’m going to Amsterdam, I’ll look at how much luggage weighs.” If he goes to a site where he has to browse around and not find what he’s looking for, then the bounce rate will be low but actually, it’s bad user experience. Bounce rate should be segmented by users and page type/intent.

I personally use Data Studio to segment Organic page types to figure out sessions, transactions, bounce rate, AOV etc. This shows what content is bringing traffic and what does it mean to the business. 

Another example from Gerry is time on site. If you have multiple tabs open or open a page then go off to make a cup of tea… it doesn’t mean you’re reading the content. 

Safeguard yourself from having bogey information. Ask yourself what is good engagement for that particular type of page and content. How and why are they engaging in the way they are? Track the user in multiple ways if you can. It’s not just about benchmark metrics but the user intent and you need to prove the user intent. 

Custom dimensions on the other hand are great. It’s good to analyse audience in more depth and use that data in Data Studio for example to segment further. Have a think about what is the golden metric in a business and often it’s about listening to senior management team and what they want. 

Gerry White on Twitter: @dergal & Linkedin

Related Episode:

Music credit: I Dunno (Grapes of Wrath Mix) by spinningmerkaba (c) copyright 2017 Licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (3.0) license. http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/jlbrock44/56346 Ft: Jlang, 4nsic, grapes.

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