John Mueller, Senior Webmaster Trends Analyst at Google, has recently cautioned SEOs and advised them to stop using Google Tag Manager for implementing structured data.

He said that though this can technically be done, but it will always be better if structured data is directly embedded on the page.

It may be noted that the topic of using Google Tag Manager for adding structured data recently came up for discussions. Mueller however expressed his disappointment and said that SEOs seem not getting the message at all or heeding to it sincerely.

Mueller has taken to social media platforms like Reddit and Twitter over the past week to address this topic. An observer said that Mueller tried to effectively address this topic twice of Reddit, while he discussed about it on Twitter once.

Mueller’s advice was succinct and clear. He stood his ground saying that structured data can be added via Google Tag Manager, but SEOs shouldn’t in any case.

But the million dollar question is, after all, why?

To this Mueller explained that structured data is used by Google’s algorithm only when it is visible on the page.

Explaining about the topic, Mueller wrote on Twitter thus: “On-page SEO should really be visible — it’s hard for Google’s algorithms to give something appropriate weight if we determine that it’s never visible. For example, when adding structured data, our goal is to only use it when we see that it’s visible on the page.”

Mueller continued to reiterate his stand on social media platforms when the topic once again came up for discussion on Twitter.

Daniel Brooks, while writing on Twitter on February 21, asked: “Can anyone explain why my JSON-LD markup isn't being found when I add it via Google Tag Manager? I've checked the HTML, corrected errors, set up a new tag, applied relevant triggers and it's still not being found when I test in SDTT.”

Barry Adams responded to this and said that the best solution will be to include it in the page’s HTML.

Mueller appreciated Adam’s response and completely agreed to his stand. Mueller wrote in his reply thus: “I'd second Barry's comment -- while you can use GTM to add SD to pages, and some people do, it's more complex and brittle. I'd really try to put the JSON-LD directly on the page.”

A similar response was given by Mueller on Reddit earlier in the week. He said that if the structured data is to be used at all then it should be made visible to Google.

Mueller, while echoing his thoughts, said, “Yes! I’d strongly recommend implementing them directly, rather than relying on JavaScript to embed them. Make it as easy as possible to get to this data, if you want it to be used.”

Bottom line:

The message for SEOs is absolutely clear now through this extensive and meaningful discussion. Google Tag Manager shouldn’t be used for implementing structure data, particularly when you want that Google should read it. There’s no point of being there at all when Google isn’t able to read it. Visibility of the structured data is vital.

Note: The markup just can’t be read by Google’s own structured data testing tool when implemented through Google Tag Manager.

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