Google Tag Manager, Schmoogle Tag Manager

June 10, 2021
📗 Field Note

This question has come up in a few client meetings. Maybe you’ve been asking it too.

What is Google Tag Manager? Should I care, as a content marketer?

Google Tag Manager is a way of putting JavaScript tags on your site – and managing them – more easily.

It’s not weird for a site to have dozens of these tags for various purposes, with wide-ranging effects on analytics and site performance – both things that you probably care deeply about as a content marketer!

Tag Manager simplifies crucial web dev work:

  • Add analytics tags when and where you need them
  • Remove analytics tags when you don’t need them anymore – or only fire them if they’re needed – which makes your site faster
  • Manage and troubleshoot analytics tags that are causing problems with the site.

That means more time for adding new functionality, implementing new features, and other things that are more obviously helpful to users.

What should you do?

Ask some questions of your web dev: Is your team using GTM? Who is managing it? If you’re not using Google Tag Manager – or if nobody’s looked at it in a while – there can be some quick wins there for site performance and tracking.

What is "share of search"?

June 10, 2021
📗 Field Note

Your brand and product marketing teams might be really excited about this metric we’re running into called “Share of Search”.

It’s simple to understand: who do people search for the most in our category?

And it’s easy to calculate, too – get the monthly search volume for your brand, and see what percentage that is of all brands in your category. For example:

  • If you have 10,000 searches a month, that’s 10,000 searches for you, and…
  • Your 5 competitors all have 5,000 each, that’s 25,000 searches for them, then…
  • Share of search is about 30% – your searches (10,000) over total searches (35,000)!

(A quick and very rough way to get a similar analysis is Google Trends, so start there if you don’t feel like doing a lot of math right now.)

Share of search is cool for a few reasons.

  1. It’s meaningful. The more present you are in search, the more you can expect to sell.
  2. To put it another way, share of search predicts share of market.
  3. It’s easy to calculate, understand, and validate. You can track it easily over time.

But most importantly, it helps you make the case for visibility in organic search – and therefore, in investment in content – in a way that should get your colleagues excited. (Or depressed? But then maybe resolute.)

How to get started:

  • Go in and explore Google Trends. Type in your name, and your competitors’ names. Adjust the time range.

  • Compare your competitors. If that didn’t work, tools like SEMRush or Ahrefs will usually have the data even if Trends doesn’t deign to include it.

You can take this one step further by seeing what your share of search is for certain topics.

You’ll need a tool for this, but look for a tab called “Competitor Analysis” or something similar, and enter the topics that are most important for your brand.

Share this data with your comms and product marketing teams.

Core Web Vitals are slightly delayed

May 26, 2021

Google had planned to roll out its new Core Web Vitals ranking criteria this month. (We went into detail in a previous newsletter).

But now Google has decided to delay the rollout to mid-June, gradually, completing the rollout in August. So you’ve got a little more time to get the optimization process underway.

In anticipation of the rollout, they’ve released a new Page Experience report, designed to give you a more nuanced view of page performance across your site.

You’ll need to set up Google Search Console to use the report. If you haven’t used Google Search Console, it’s well worth your time to get it set up. Very, very well worth your time.

Search Console will give you access to tons of Google’s internal information about your site, including whether Google views it as a good experience for users, how much you’re showing up in (not just getting traffic from) search, and much more.

Ask your dev team how they’re preparing for this page experience shift. Send them a link to the Page Experience report and ask them if it’s pointing out any unforeseen avenues for optimization.

Why keywords need a relevance metric

May 10, 2021
📗 Field Note

This question has popped up a few times this month. Maybe you’ve been asking it too.

Can I build a keyword strategy on search volume and competition metrics alone?

Determining the relevance of a topic to your brand is a core marketing skill, and it’s overshadowed these days by big data metrics like search volume and competition.

All of them are important – but they should all work together.

You might ultimately choose a keyword that’s easy to win and has high volume even if it’s not the most relevant. Sometimes this makes sense. But if you’re not tracking relevance every time, you’re setting yourself up to chase keywords that won’t ever convert because your brand doesn’t speak to them.

Track volume, competition, relevance for any keyword, and weight each metric accordingly in your calculations. We give you more detail on how to do it in our keyword strategy guide.

Goodbye, third-party cookies

May 10, 2021
🕵🏻‍♂️ Journal

Third-party cookies are going away. Safari and Firefox have already blocked these entirely, while Chrome is planning to next year.

Does this matter?

Let’s start by recapping what cookies are: Little bits of tracking info that your browser stores on behalf of sites you visit.

Cookies can be useful. One might store your username for a “Remember me” login box. But it might also store your demographic data for ads.

Third-party cookies take this one step further, storing data from sites you didn’t visit (at least, not directly). They have all the charm of a love note from someone you’ve never met.

So what does it mean that they’re going away?

  • It will become a little harder to target ads, and they may get more expensive, too. That means organic channels (like organic search) will become more important.
  • Getting your audience onto channels you control – like your email list – will become more important too.
  • And in general, content marketing will play a bigger role in lead generation as paid search tactics become more convoluted.

This is good for privacy, too, right?

It’s not bad. But the ad industry is way too big to not track you. So what we’re entering into now is not a golden era of user privacy, but an arms race between advertising technology vendors and users – with Google kind of playing both sides.

Does GPT-3 write everything for everyone forever now?

April 22, 2021
📗 Field Note

Lots of marketing folks are singing the praises of A.I. copywriting tools like GPT-3. The copy it generates isn’t flawless. But it does occasionally pass the Turing test, and it’s improving rapidly.

Does this mean that copywriters and content marketers should be gearing up for a war against the machines?

Maybe? But more likely, smart content people will use tools like GPT-3 as levers, to automate away hard and boring stuff (like the first, not very good, draft) and focus their efforts where they can really deliver value.

You might want to start studying up on what it’ll be like to have an AI in your toolbox. This piece on the SEMrush blog is a good place to start.

Also, we experimented with A.I. video creation and the results were… fun.