Author: Andra Iliescu - SEO Specialist - OSF Digital.
The first proposal for GDPR was released in 2012. Since then, numerous data reform policies were enacted by the EU, eventually leading to the European Parliament’s support for the current version of GDPR.
This article from one of OSF Digital’s SEO Specialists will shatter the most common myths about GDPR & SEO and share what you need to pay attention to as well as the smart search engine optimization settings you should perform to obtain full GDPR alignment.
On the contrary, if you’re using tools that rely on anonymous, non-identifiable data, as this is defined under GDPR, keyword research on optimized content may become the most effective technique you can use to attract new visitors.
For the time being there’s no announcement from Google that GDPR compliance influences your ranking in any way, but it might be possible, taking into account that Google has always been a proponent of secure websites. For example, until now HTTP websites could have the same ranking as HTTPS, but since July 2018 Google protocols are marking HTTP websites as not secure.
It’s become a common false belief that cookie pop-ups may have a negative effect on your website’s ranking within search engines. Actually, if set correctly, cookie consent banners or pop-ups won’t affect your SEO and the information on your website will still be visible to GoogleBot. You just have to make sure your pop-ups are not intrusive and that they are not covering all of the website content preventing the user from viewing the page until they press a button or close the pop-up.
Tip: Design your cookie notice as a neat banner placed at the top, side or footer of your website so that both your website visitors and GoogleBot will be able to see your page content without any obstacles.
Even though On and Off Page SEO doesn’t collect any customer data, there are still some ways to improve your SEO so it’s aligned with GDPR.
Use relevant meta tags and descriptions that will help users better understand whether the search results correspond to their search requests.
Make your URLs short and refine them with keywords to help users find your offerings easily and improve your website’s ranking.
Boost your traffic by making your pages easy to read for search engine crawlers: add ALT tags to your images and videos.
Do not neglect keywords, use primary and secondary keywords to move your website to a better ranking position within the search engines.
If you’re using Google Analytics to collect data and measure your website’s performance, under GDPR Google Analytics acts as a data processor leaving you with data controller role. Here’s what you can do to ensure these relationships are safe in terms of GDPR:
Google provides a deactivation add-on, but to secure GDPR compliance you can extend the script and set an opt-out cookie to prevent future data collection. Empower your users to declare objection on all systems used since a device-independent usage assignment for a created user ID is not allowed.
Within the Google Analytics menu go to ‘Administration’ and select ‘Property,’ from there click on ‘Tracking Information’ and continue to ‘Data Retention.’ Select the period of data retention from 14 to 48 months in the field ‘Storage of user and event data.’ Set the ‘Off’ status in the field ‘Reset on new activity.’
In ‘Administration’ select ‘Property Settings’ to delete the old identifiable data with the help of the ‘Move to recycle bin’ button. Expect this data to be deleted within 35 days.
Don’t worry, Google has you covered with that, but you still need to look after a few things.
GDPR definitely brought with it a seismic shift so make sure your SEO and marketing teams are well informed about all the tools and techniques that have been affected by these regulations. Provide relevant training, or even get help by hiring a digital marketing services provider to help secure your company and avoid breaching GDPR compliance.
Don’t let your traffic drop, and most important, don’t lose revenue!