Delays, speed bumps, and scope creep are found in almost any search optimization project. Even the most capable teams run into walls where the work grinds to a halt. The development team might have more pressing problems to handle or a code freeze could prevent any work from getting done.
This is frustrating for SEO professionals who want to improve their company’s organic search efforts while maximizing the value from their search partners. How can they make necessary code changes when the development team won’t answer their calls?
SEO Change With GTM
- Switchboard tags that replace “www” with “m” depending on the location (desktop or mobile) that the user is browsing from.
- No Index tags that tell search crawlers to ignore certain pages. (Nemzer cautions users to avoid accidentally applying noindex tags to every page.)
- Canonical tags that direct crawlers to the right pages to index instead.
- Structured data tags that add information to your product pages.
The ability to make these changes are essential in the world of eCommerce. Retailers often have tens of thousands of product pages and need to quickly make changes across the entire site or to a specific few products. Considering organic traffic can account for 20-50% of overall eCommerce revenue, there is no room for error because of bad SEO or improper tags or poorly written meta descriptions.
SEO Change With CDNs
SEO professionals who aren’t able to accomplish their goals through GTM can consider making changes on the server side. Through this strategy, you would be able to write code that changes everything from your headers and content to the behavior and feel of your website because of your CDN.
“Service Workers are a feature implemented by modern browsers which allow you to load a script which intercepts web requests destined for your server before they hit the network, allowing you a chance to rewrite them, redirect them, or even respond directly,” Kenton Varda explains on Cloudflare.
Additionally, Amazon Web Services has similar capabilities, but its technology is more rigid.
Case Study: Trinity Insight
The client wanted to expand their international traffic but kept getting hreflang errors, mixing the languages of UK English and US English. Our first strategy was traditional hardcoding. Unfortunately, both the US and UK sites referenced the same code. Then we turned to GTM. Instead of referencing the code, we developed hreflang tags that fired depending on the ccTLD (country code top-level domain). We were able to fix the problem and find a scalable solution without involving the development team and driving up our hours and labor costs.
It took us a few weeks to fully see the impact of the change in Search Console, but you immediately notice the dropoff of errors taking place without any modifications to the core code.
While you might think that working in GTM and through client CDNs might be the best new solution to circumventing development teams, most SEO professionals only recommend using these steps when there are limited options available. These are strategies when you need something done quickly or there are no alternatives to choose from. There are multiple reasons for this.
- Google has stated that it renders canonical tags in the source code, not GTM. While many SEO tests have disproved this and found that the canonical tags are rendered accurately, it is always in the best interest of webmasters to stay on Google’s good side.
- You cannot create new pages easily with this methodology. It can only be used to modify existing pages.
- Your solutions may break over time with no way to tell when or how to fix them. In many cases, your GTM or CDN solutions will be temporary fixes until you come up with something more permanent.