What are Common GDPR SEO Mistakes?

The GDPR regulates the handling of personal data stored both on electronic media and in other forms. Your website may be at risk. What are common GDPR SEO mistakes? Below is a guide to the most common SEO mistakes related to GDPR requirements. 

4 SEO Mistakes to Avoid While Complying with GDPR

GDPR is the General Data Protection Regulation, which regulates the collection, unification, and use of personal data in the EU as of May 25, 2018. This regulation also applies to companies outside of the EU, so companies must comply with the GDPR in their activities. Compliance is essential, particularly for IT companies and websites dealing with customer data from around the world. Companies that violate the GDPR will have to pay up to €20 million, or 4% of annual revenue.

How Does GDPR Affect The SEO of The Website?

According to the Regulation rules, personal data is all data concerning a specific person by which he or she can be identified (name, IP, email address, etc.). Based on the regulations, some of the users’ information cannot be seen by site owners. Of course, not all information will be deleted – the search giant promises to keep aggregated data. In other words, impersonal data that cannot identify users.

For example, statistics will remain on the number of hits or bounces and other summary statistics.  But for businesses and marketers, it is personal data that is of much greater value. Google Analytics collects a huge amount of information about website visitors: their location, age, gender, profession, interests, preferences, and more. 

The GDPR has no direct effect on search engine optimization (SEO) techniques used to rank your website higher. The regulation negatively affects targeting and other elements of digital marketing. But many site owners have noticed a decrease in traffic since the GDPR was implemented. Apparently, this is due to gross errors on the site. Search engines can block website pages from appearing in search results if they don’t comply with GDPR. Below is a guide to the most common SEO mistakes related to GDPR requirements. Fix those to improve your platform performance. 

Mistake №1: Remove pop-ups, as they overlap all content on the page

Following GDPR policy, website administrators tend to add a big popup on every page about data cookies collection. This is partially correct, but what if users refuse to provide data? To do this, you should provide a special button to close the window without consent. The same pop-up window should not overlap the main information on the site, as it negatively affects the audience. Users can be embittered by a large pop-up window on every page. If they spend too little time on the site and close it immediately, it will impair the indexing of content on the website page. 

There is a way out of this situation. You can leave a small pop-up window at the top or bottom of the page so that it doesn’t overlap the content. At the same time, the notification should have “Agree” and “Disagree” buttons of the same size so as not to infringe on users’ rights. Allow users to browse your site even if they refuse to provide cookies. 

This is called “user-friendliness” and it’s common to the services that offer comparative analysis of different toolboxes. Any user should have an option to choose the most suitable goods or services as well but you should never use large popups that make viewing content difficult.

Mistake №2: Do not use external elements on the website that do not correspond to GDPR compatibility 

Be careful when using external elements on your site. Many templates, themes and WordPress plugins in website builders and blogs are not initially GDPR-compliant. All subsequent changes and compliance with the rules of the regulations must be done yourself manually! If you use paid or free website builders to create your site, then additionally check all compliance with the rules. Try to use less plugins, templates, and themes so as not to make things worse. 

Mistake №3: Unsubscribe links to your website pages with the new nofollow policies

Many site moderators try to “hide” privacy policy pages by making them nofollow. This means that search engines will not rank such pages. You would think, why would a search engine see text with a privacy policy and other GDPR-compliant pages? You don’t need to “hide” such pages. They should be visible to search engines.

Search engines should determine if a site has a page with a privacy policy and other GDPR rules. Do not hide such important information from Google and other systems. Otherwise, the quality of page ranking may deteriorate, resulting in less traffic. 

Many users are concerned about their security and only use GDPR compliant sites. Users won’t know if you’re complying with GDPR if you don’t rank for it. Some users specifically google “Site Name + GDPR” to find out about the terms of personal data protection. Don’t make GDPR nofollow links so that users can trust you. 

Mistake №4: Do not redirect users to a page with the new policy

Another common mistake is redirecting the user to a page with a new privacy policy. For example, you search on Google for a cleaning company in your city. You click on the first link in the search query and end up on a GDPR page instead of ordering cleaning services. You then have to close the new business policy and go to the page for ordering assistance. This takes time and frustrates many users. After all, they were navigating from a request for cleaning services. For them to read several pages of an editorial policy on data protection? 

Don’t make that mistake. Make the windows small and always allow the user to close them quickly, so they don’t overlap the pages’ contents. Many sites have already made this mistake and experienced a decline in traffic. 

GDPR Affects Website SEO

IT Security Policies

The updated data processing requirements for business to protect data seem strict but carry significant benefits. Currently, the GDPRs are not ranked on sites, but this may happen in the future, as was the case with the implementation of HTTPS concepts. 

So check your resource with this checklist to make sure you are not impairing search engine indexing because of GDPR:

  • Cookie policy. Be clear about what cookies you’re collecting and why. If you use third-party providers (e.g., Google Analytics), you should also reference their policies.
  • Privacy policy. What you’re processing, for what purpose, and how the data is protected, shared, and changed.
  • SSL-certificate. Encrypts the connection between the user and the website. Useful to purchase for quality search rankings, among other things. Good practice so that users don’t have unnecessary anxiety.
  • Online forms, subscriptions. They should necessarily include a clause stating that the user consents to data processing. 
  • Payments. If you accept payments by PayPal and so on, be sure to include a link to their privacy policy. Don’t work with anyone who doesn’t comply with GDPR policies.
  • Online chat, email newsletters. Choose GDPR compliant providers. 

Author Bio: Marie Barnes is a marketing communication manager at LinksManagment, a website where you can buy legal backlinks. She is an enthusiastic blogger interested in writing about technology, social media, work, travel, lifestyle, and current affairs.

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