GDPR and SEO : What is General Data Protection Regulation in SEO

GDPR(General Data Protection Regulation) in SEO
The General Data Protection Regulation is by far the most significant data protection laws introduced to date as per many reports found online.

It controls the gathering, utilization, communication, and protection of data captured from inhabitants of all the 28 EU member nations.

The rules apply to everyone in the EU, regardless of where the entity collecting the private information is located. Companies that refuse to follow the GDPR may face penalties of up to € 20 million or 4% of the world’s total turnover.

Well, to date, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and marketing companies have had their share of fun while openly processing customer data or exploiting many gray areas. However, this has now come to an end.

A comprehensive analysis of how GDPR impacts the SEO industry

A majority of experts in the SEO industry are currently going through a phase of slight panic because they are unsure of how to abide by the GDPR guidelines while continuing to operate their businesses without incurring losses or risking fines.

GDPR was unavoidable. In an era of hyper-connectivity, accelerated globalization, and highly developed technological advancement, the earlier data protection act introduced in 1995 had turned woefully out of date.

However, there has been a lot of misconception, guesswork, and chaos on the internet, especially in the SEO industry.

That’s why we made the decision to compile a comprehensive guide on how GDPR will impact the SEO sector.

In this article, we will explore the importance of GDPR as well as its effect on SEO industries, both in terms of the SERP ranking system and the inevitable shifts that the sector will undergo.

Given the importance of SEO in inbound marketing riddles, we will discuss our insightful analysis of the digital landscape transitions we can anticipate.

1. Consent management

Among the key issues addressed by GDPR, one is consent. Several sites currently use an edition of the sentence [By using this site you are agreeing to our Cookie Policy] in an attempt to acquire consent.

But, with the enforcement of GDPR, it will no longer be considered legitimate and your webpages will have to get people to actively concur instead of passively.

There’s already been a few controversies involving cookie approval notifications, as some online sites have witnessed page loading times slowing down as a result of a popup.

However, because loading time serves as a ranking element, it has the possibility to let your Google rank drop.

In concept, all websites must obtain cookie approval. Hence, nobody is particularly penalized by the transition.

However, this does entail that you’ll need to examine how such popups influence your website loading speed more carefully.

2. Data analytics

Every company will need to take into account how they presently use user information for analytics processes. Google Analytics, for instance, gives you accessibility to customer data.

Again, social media analytic metricscome to the rescue as it enables marketers to craft better campaigns and ensure optimum yield.

But the above complies with GDPR guidelines because the statistics are anonymized. Even so, if you as of now use a de-anonymization procedure, you would not be regarded as GDPR compliant.

Examine your own metrics – you could discover that internal procedures like communicating private information with staff members throughout email messages or specific details enclosed in email campaign reports violate the rules.

There is still no evidence from any search engine that GDPR implementation will be a ranking element in their outcomes – however this does not rule it out.

Search engines offer strategies that seem to be voluntary at first but eventually wind up becoming an important component as to how a website is positioned.

We only have to take a peek at HTTPS as one of the latest examples. Whereas HTTPS was once just a favored criterion, Google now tends to take it so sincerely that customers are alerted each time they try to access a non-HTTPS website via Chrome.

The shift to HTTPS furthermore indicates that Google is starting to prefer websites with stronger safety protocols and incorporating it as a significant element in their iterative algorithm.

3. Usability and UX

As per a recent e-com trend report, for your business, you need to have complete control over the UX of your website across many channels – desktop, social media, and mobile. You need to plan everything around your target audience and create a design that represents the brand.

Even several search engines are progressively utilizing user experience (UX) like a determinant of ranking in their algorithms. But there is no reason to think that GDPR will not impact website UX.

Elements such as an extra predominant cookie approval pop-up are now doing so. Once additional changes are required to conform with GDPR as well as confidentiality, there would be a potential for significant hurdles.

To guarantee that designs integrate the essential components while staying user-friendly, website developers will most likely need to work alongside SEO experts and professionals who comprehend GDPR compliance.

4. Value-added content

Because of the GDPR’s restrictions, businesses are now preferring to generate relevant content in order to reach subscribers. This implies that SEO complies with GDPR.

Since it has reduced retargeting, GDPR has introduced a new harmony between organic and paid search.

You can benefit from this by optimizing your metadata as well as URLs. It will increase the number of users clicking on the pages.

Furthermore, you should put more emphasis on developing meaningful content that provides value to customers and encourages them to come back to your webpage on a regular basis. Producing eye-catching headlines plus titles also helps.

The most tricky aspect is that contemporary consumers prefer highly customized content, so it’s difficult to strike the right balance between offering subscribers what they want while using their information in a GDPR-compliant manner.

The ideal option here is to ask for permission when necessary and spread awareness as to how you intend to use the statistics, clarifying how it will assist you to provide a better and more personally tailored customer journey.

5. Privacy policies and traffic blocking

Earlier, linkage to other website pages could not be placed on webpages which had no contribution toward the overall content of the page.

GDPR now allows you to include links to security practices on each of your pages, which also opens up the possibility of including links to certain other kinds of pages.

On that related point, while other portals for data retrieval require having to log in and share personal details, search can now be done entirely anonymously.

Individuals worried or paranoid about their confidentiality can try Googling or conduct DuckDuckGo searches via an incognito mode — all without signing into a search engine.

Apart from the customization search facets, search doesn’t quite require cookies or other types of user information to provide excellent results.

Now, it’s no longer feasible to block as well as reroute GDPR-compliant EU visitors, since this can have an impact on your brand’s B2B SEO techniques, resulting in negative repercussions for your online platform, such as:

  • Backlinks are being removed.
  • Your EU positions have dropped.
  • Customer churn

The key to avoiding this is to make adjustments to your entire website and content so that they are GDPR compliant — in the manner that’s already been specified.

To enhance your knowledge about this we recommend reading Osano’s guide to privacy laws.

6. Budget reallocation and lower cannibalization

For bigger corporations with strict accounting systems, a substantial chunk of the 2018 marketing spend was set when the year began.

Because GDPR is overturning attribution, it is starting to cause a rethinking of compensated budgets; funds issued for paid campaigns may become more accessible for SEO necessities.

If such funds are reallocated to SEO, a few of those wishlisted backburner initiatives may become an actuality.

Again, there has always been some cannibalization within the correlation between organic and paid search, particularly when aspects such as product bidding or retargeting are considered.

With the capacity to retarget effectively being legally prohibited in the European Union and contextualisation concerns possibly restricting some brand lookup, the organic channels are poised to grow as click volume shifts to organic results as paid listings within search engines are lowered.


You could be feeling pressured by how GDPR might affect your company. However, there’s no need to worry.

SEOis a continuously changing and evolving sector. New regulations such as the GDPR would almost certainly have quite an effect on ranking lists, but it is close to impossible to provide specifics until search engines have adapted to them.

It is your responsibility to stay aware about what these changes imply for your online platform and any adjustments you would need to introduce to stay on top of things.

If you really are worried regarding how GDPR will affect your company’s search ranking, you should communicate with your SEO supervisor or agency immediately.

Conversely, if you run a small-scale enterprise and handle your own online presence, it may be sensible to seek advice on the matter to make sure that you are in compliance with GDPR rules.

The best part is that search engines hardly make drastic shifts in their algorithms. Also, they typically give sites time to catch up with benchmarks.

By Elvis Tapfumanei

Elvis Tapfumanei is a well-rounded content marketer and SEO analyst at Selfcraft Media. His experience in digital marketing techniques and cutting-edge technologies led him to help entrepreneurs to achieve positive and profitable results for their businesses through effective content strategies.