So GDPR and SEO, hmmm isn’t it always the way, you get your site setup and you’re happy with your SEO and how everything is working and then you’re sent another curveball?
Well GDPR is the latest curveball that you need to handle and it affects everyone who owns and runs a website.
Before we get too far into GDPR and SEO and what it all means etc I just need to give you a short Disclaimer and point out that I am not a Privacy Law expert and that everything that I write in this article is just my thoughts, ideas and opinions and are in no way sound legal advice.
I’m one of you guys looking for the answers and offering what I consider to be the best options.
With that said here is my take on GDPR and SEO – What does GDPR mean for SEO?
What is GDPR?
GDPR stands for the General Data Protection Regulation.
Way back in January 2012, the European Commission set out plans for data protection reform across the European Union in order to make Europe ‘fit for the digital age’. Almost four years later, an agreement was reached. One of the key components of the reforms was GDPR.
GDPR is a new set of rules designed to give EU citizens more control over their personal data.
The General Data Protection Regulation requires that webmasters gain their readers or users consent to collect cookies for an enhanced experience.
You are required to collect usernames on comments made to blog posts.
You also have to seek consent on your site contact form to gather the name and email address of anyone using the contact form.
If you are a first-time visitor to Infobunny you would have already seen ours and had to opt-in to close it.
Oh No my Mailing List
You have spent years building your list. Now you are going to have to email your list and ask everyone to opt-in again to your list and give consent on all of the above.
Total GDPR Compliance
You are required to be GDPR compliant but if your Theme Developer is not compliant then neither are you.
If you are using a plugin that is not compliant then again neither are you
The good news is that theme and plugin developers are becoming compliant, they have to or they could be facing some big fines. They will also lose users and their users opt-out in favor of an alternative that takes GDPR seriously
So how does GDPR affect SEO?
Infobunny is a self-hosted WordPress site so let’s tackle all the questions from a WordPress point of view.
GDPR does affect your SEO but the question is how? and what can you do to stop it having a negative impact on your site?
To understand how GDPR affects SEO you must first understand search engine optimization.
Chances are for your WordPress Site to become compliant with GDPR you’re going to need to install one or two new plugins that will help you.
As we know plugins so your site down and a slow site is not a happy site.
The load time and speed of your site have never been more important now that we have the Google Mobile First Index where Google now takes mobile results and shows those ahead of desktop results.
If you have a slow mobile site then you are going to have a negative impact on your SEO.
What does GDPR mean for SEO? The User-Experience
UX is also big news with Googles Mobile First Index.
Your site needs to display correctly on all devices, desktop/laptops, mobile and tablets.
Opt-in consent boxes and pop-ups are bad news for the user experience if they display badly.
Yes, you now have to have them to be compliant but look for sensible user-friendly ways of displaying your GDPR consent boxes.
My take on Redirects
Now it is great that they are working to be GDPR compliant but let’s think about this for a second.
Is it a good idea to redirect away from content that a visitor wants to see?
Time on page is a big SEO ranking factor. The longer someone is on a page the better the signal to Google that this is quality content and the better your search results.
If you are bouncing your visitors right out from a page they want to see then what is the message that you are sending Google?
You have to be compliant with GDPR but you also have to be smart with how you are compliant
NoFollow or DoFollow links
Should you nofollow links to your Privacy Page or Terms of Service?
Well, I see no reason for making them nofollow. They will by default become valuable pages and Google wants to see them so it really doesn’t make any sense to me to apply the nofollow attribute.
Linking to these pages should be seen as just part of your natural internal linking strategy.
NOW here is what you have been waiting for
GDPR and SEO best practices
Look for smart ways to be compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation.
WordPress Plugins are becoming compliant so before you rush off and install a number of new plugins to deal with your compliance first investigate what you already have installed and use on a daily bases.
Askimet the comments spam prevention plugin has added an option to add a tracking notification to your contact form.
There was a message on my admin dashboard saying
Akismet & Privacy.
To help your site be compliant with GDPR and other laws requiring notification of tracking, Akismet can display a notice to your users on your contact form. This feature is disabled by default, however, if you or your audience is located in Europe, you need to turn it on.
For a detailed guide on how to use Askimet head over to our friends at WPBeginner and read:
I use a plugin call WPForms (no affiliation) for my contact form and guess what they now offer GDPR enhancements that add a checkbox notice about collecting their name and email.
I did, however, add one new plugin to my site and that was WP GDPR Compliance (no affiliation)
WP GDPR Compliance is a free WordPress plugin that basically covers all the bases.
WP GDPR Compliance allows you to
- Add a GDPR checkbox that when activated will be added automatically just above the submit button.
- Data Request – Monitor who has requested their data
- Check List of compliance, turn each section that corresponds to your site type green and your all set
WP GDPR Compliance doesn’t currently support an EU Cookie Consent feature, but being from the Uk Infobunny has had a Cookie Consent Feature for a couple of years now already.
Well, you should have because although they are often the most boring pages on a site Google still looks for them as a sign that your site is a professional credible option for them to show to people.
Now there are going to be sections of the template that you don’t need and sections that you feel you will need to add, depending on what your site does.
But the main point is really just to be as transparent as possible with what information you store, how you use it and how you protect it.
Before you create your policy it might be a good idea to check other webmasters pages for inspiration.
You can find mine linked above in this article and also in the menu at the top and linked in the footer.
I am happy for you to borrow any sections you feel that you need, but do not just cut and paste. Rewrite what you read and put it into your own words.
Cutting and pasting content will not help your sites SEO optimization.
GDPR and SEO the future
It is not beyond the realms of possibility that GDPR becomes a ranking factor for SEO within the Google SEO Algorithm.
And we have seen Google pushing webmasters towards getting https Security Certificates.
Who is to say that they won’t implement GDPR into SEO.
It would make sense in my opinion.
GDPR and SEO – Takeaways
GDPR may seem like just an inconvenience but the reality is that this change is long overdue.
WordPress bloggers are quite lucky in that becoming compliant is a relatively easy task, you just have to be smart when it comes to GDPR and SEO.
Offering an option for visitors to request their data could have been a big problem but WordPress stepped up and have given us a workable option within the latest update.
What is important here is that you do take GDPR Compliance seriously and implement it in a way that doesn’t harm your SEO.
The good news here is that it’s not just you dealing with this, every webmaster is and there could be a small SEO advantage over your rivals if you implement some smart solutions.
That’s all for now!
Are you taking steps to make your site compliant?
How do you see GDPR and SEO working together?
Will GDPR become s SEO Ranking factor?
Let me know in the comments section below, you will find that you will need to click a few tick boxes 😉