The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a European Union (EU) data privacy regulation that puts the customer/individual in control.The purpose is to consolidate privacy regulations across the EU.
It can have a direct impact on a number of issues relating to SEO. It is vital that you should understand how GDPR will affect your company whether you work with an SEO agency or do all of your digital marketing in house.
Below are the critical influencing factors within the GDPR that could alter SEO to see what changes you might need to make.
Consequences for Website Goals – One of the most significant aspects of SEO relate to the goals that you track on your website. You will need to ensure that your tracked goals have clear, active consent requests. This regulation might possibly also change some of the necessary wording.
You will require to be explicit on what you will do with a customer’s set of data. This infers that you will no longer be able to request someone’s email address for a newsletter sign-up to send them extra marketing materials, unless this has been made completely clear.
Managing Consent – One of the main issues covered by GDPR is that of consent. Already there has been some level of controversy regarding cookie consent popups. Since some websites have seen page loading speeds slowed due to the popup.
Page loading speed is a ranking factor. It has the potential to see your positon in Google slip. All websites need to gain cookie consent in theory. This is why no one is specifically being penalised by the change. Although, this does not suggest that you may need to look more closely at how these popups are affecting your page loading speed.
GDPR Affect on Analytics
For every business, it will be necessary to consider how they currently use customer data for any analytics process. Though if you currently use a process that cross – references the other data, it will not be GDPR compliant.
GDPR Compliance as a Ranking Factor
There has not yet been any indication from Google or any other search engine that GDPR compliance will become a ranking factor in their result. But this doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Google has a history of introducing concepts which initially appear to be optional while end up being a very significant factor in how a site is ranked.
Effect on UX and Usability
Google and other search engines are using user experience or UX as a ranking factor in their algorithm. Undoubtedly, GDPR will affect the UX of websites aspects. For example, a more prominent cookie consent pop-up are already doing so.
Google Might Remove Sites Blocking Users Over GDPR From Search
As GDPR, the European law about data privacy regulations across the web went live some sites simply decided to block any European visitor from visiting their website. This is because they do not want to confirm with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
If users in the EU clicks on a search result listed on one of the websites that is blocking EU users, they will get to a page that says they are deprived of access. Google might be unaware that the user is blocked because Google crawls this content from the US. Thus, may think that the content is available to all the users.
John Mueller from Google is looking for ways to deal with these issues around blocked content over GDPR for search. Though there is no clarity to what will Google exactly do to improve the user experience. It may be working on a way to ensure searchers from Europe don’t see inaccessible content in the search results or consider other workarounds to deliver content to users.
They might decide to bring some sites from Europe on a slower basis. This would help to check for these types of cases and then not show the sites to European users in search.
It is a good idea to speak directly with your SEO manager or Digital Marketing Company if you are concerned about how the GDPR will influence your business Google rankings. While if you are a small business and you manage your own SEO, it could be sensible to have some form of consultation on the issue to ensure that you comply with Google’s rules.
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