GDPR: What, Why And How It Will Affect SEO?

Posted by Sagar Khandekar

May 31, 2018

Google Analytics SEO 31 min read

Your personal data you reveal to lots of websites when you signup for their services or products. In the era of digitalization, your personal data is not your own anymore. Have you seen those app permissions when you want to download an app on your Android or iOS app? From your call records, messages, your photos and places you have visited, everything is given on a golden plate to the app or website owners and this data is a prized resource for them.

The Economist announced that this personal data is way more precious and valuable than oil. This data helps corporations and businesses to improve customer experience.

What is someone misuses your data or what if your data is used for some illegal activities? Obviously, companies are concerned about data security, but their security parameters are not up to the mark. Even consumers are not convinced that their data is safe and secured with the companies.

92% of online customers believe that they are concerned about data security and privacy, as per the 2016 Consumer Survey by TRUSTe/NCSA.

In addition to that, for companies, it is way more difficult to delete customer data. As per the report by Symantec’s State of European Privacy, it was revealed that 90% of businesses find it hard to delete private data of customers and about 60% of them don’t have systems for it.

It is clear that there should be a regulation about data management and use.

Thanks to GDPR (The General Data Protection Regulation), it is not an issue anymore. It is a new set of laws designed by the European Union in 2018 to secure and safeguard personal data.

What is GDPR?

What is GDPR

GDPR is a much needed digital privacy regulation and every company that collects personal data from customers, have to adhere these data privacy regulations. It covers all the member states of the European Union.

According to GDPR, all the companies have to build privacy settings for all the digital products and websites to maintain their customers’ data and personal information. In addition to that, they also have to come up with privacy impact assessments and have to launch new ways to seek permission for data.

If you think that companies can overlook this regulation, it is not possible. Remember, it is not a suggestion or a directive, but a regulation and if any company fail to comply it, they have to pay the fines up to €20 million or 4% of your global turnover!

It is a big relief for customers as their private data is secure and safe. It puts customers on the front seat by securing their data. This data cannot be exploited by the people with the wrong intention.

There was a speculation that companies are exploiting the data by using it for their gain and it is not possible with new GDPR regulations.

Why Introduce GDPR Now?

The existing data privacy regulations were based on a document that was drafted in 1980 and it was amended in 1995. However, in the contemporary era, it is outdated and unquestionably fails to secure data. It does not include smartphones, web technology and VR devices. Moreover, it was just a directive and it was not mandatory to follow and adhere it. It is not a case anymore.

Impact and Affect on SEO

Impact and Affect on SEO

If you are a digital marketer and you think that GDPR will not affect their SEO strategies, you are mistaken. Though it does not affect ranking directly, GDPR can affect your SEO strategy in many ways.

– Website and Managing Consents

There are many websites you visit on a daily basis and you must have seen different types of signup processes and email registration requests. Website owners have to be careful about it after the introduction of GDPR, it will change completely. For example, if you have a newsletter sign-ups section on your website, you have to ask for a consent and it might influence your sign-up rates to a great margin. Also, you need to rephrase your terms and conditions page and add exact information about how you will use data your customers provide to you. Even in your Cookie Policy, just a phrase will not work now. You need to facilitate your users with a Cookie Popup and according to experts, it might affect your page loading speed too.

– Analytics

Google Analytics is anonymized and hence, it is complaint with GDPR. However, if you are using any deanonymizing process, it is not GDPR compliant.

– GDPR Compliance as a Ranking Factor

As of now, GDPR compliance does not influence the ranking factors, at least, Google did not declare it till now. If it is optional for now, it does not mean that it will be optional forever. Remember HTTPS? It was optional first and then it was a significant factor that affects your rankings.

– Google and GDPR Popups Notices

To comply with GDPR regulations, websites are coming up with a new pop up windows to notify users about new terms and conditions pages. Being a marketer, it is crucial for you to understand how will it impact your SEO rankings and strategy? John Mueller from Google answered this question in the recent Google Webmaster hangout. He said that you can use pop up, but at the same time, you need to ensure that the content is visible to GoogleBot. Also, he recommended that you check it personally with a mobile-friendly visiting tool to ensure that no mishaps occur.

SEO and GDPR-Compliance (What You Need to Do as SEO?)

Thankfully, for digital marketers, there is a sign of relief that search engine optimization is already GDPR compliant and it is also going to be the most important ways to promote your business digitally. When it comes to On and Off Page SEO, it does not ask any customer data. So, there is no need for any consent and permissions from customers. Overall, SEO is all about offering superior user experience to the customers and building a reputation. However, there are many ways you can drive traffic and attract users by following certain important tips even if with GDPR compliance.

– Meta Tags

For proper optimization of the web page, a relevant and high-quality meta tags and descriptions play a huge role. It will help users to understand whether they will find what they are searching or not. Compelling and creative meta descriptions with a call to action theme will surely be appreciated by search engines and you will get excellent rankings.

– URLs

Short and target-keyword rich URLs do help website visitors a lot and it has a significant impact on your website’s rankings. Also, it will help users to guess your website URL without searching it on the search engines. Such visitors offer goof conversion rates as they do have a high impression about your offerings.

– Crawlable Pages

When search engine crawlers crawl your website, they should be able to read your content easily. Making them confused will not work. Ensure that you use text that they can read easily with embedded properties and images and videos with relevant ALT tags. It will boost your traffic to a great extent.

– Smart Keyword Usage

Keyword usage is a most important thing to take care of. In the era of Artificial Intelligence, it is of utmost significance that you use your primary, secondary and relevant keywords perfectly in content.

Other GDPR-Friendly Marketing Options

Other GDPR-Friendly Marketing Options

There are other GDPR marketing options available apart from SEO. You might use them to boost your website traffic.

– Social Media Marketing

In the upcoming GDPR era, social media marketing will be the key factor to market and promote your products and services. As social media is a two-way communication street, it is what GDPR encourages. It is one of the most GDPR-compliant marketing options to choose for your marketing strategy. However, you need to be conservative with your audience and offer useful and engaging content that helps them to decide better. Make relationships with users on different social media platforms rather than just promoting your offerings.

– Content Marketing

For an ideal content marketing campaign, you don’t need users’ data and it is what makes content marketing the best marketing option to boost your SEO too. It is also GDPR compliant marketing option to employ in your strategy. Come up with original, fresh, unique and engaging content that users love. Once they are connected with your style, they will be yours. However, you need to be an authoritative here. Show them that you are an expert in the field. For SEO purpose, content marketing comes up with backlinks that are very useful for your SEO campaign.


There is nothing to worry about your SEO campaign due to GDPR implementation. In fact, you can take the first step to use it in your favor to get a competitive edge over others. In a recent future, GDPR is going to change the way website owners collect and use data. It will be fun to watch how it goes.


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