How GDPR Affects Your Website’s SEO

user access to google analytics

How GDPR Affects Your Website’s SEO

It took several years to implement the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The drafting process started in 2016, but it wasn’t until the end of May 2018 that the regulation was put into action across the European Union. The implementation of GDPR affected digital marketing in a myriad of ways, all in an effort to protect users’ data and privacy. As expected, GDPR also affects SEO in more than one way. So what implications will GDPR likely have on your website’s SEO? That’s what we’re here to explain.


What is GDPR?


On May 25, 2018, GDPR was put into action across the EU member nations. Although there were previous directives governing the use of personal data, the was dissatisfied with how these directives only imposed minimum regulations. It took them two years to come up with the current GDPR, which is regulated on 88 pages, 99 articles, and 173 recitals. This regulation provides guidelines on how online businesses can get permission to access user information, limiting their use to prevent any onsets of data breaches thus providing better citizen rights.


GDPR requirements focus on 8 fundamental rights that users have over their private data. They have the right to:


  1. Be informed of any changes that may affect their privacy
  2. Edit or rectify their data
  3. Access their private information
  4. Be forgotten
  5. Transfer their data and access it on any device
  6. Restrict processing
  7. Object
  8. Participate in automated profiling and decision-making

GDPR Compliance and SEO


Following the implementation of GDPR in 2018, it has become a legal requirement to abide by the regulatory guidelines. Online businesses operating in the EU have become well-familiar with the requirements, adjusting their websites accordingly. However, since the regulations are confined to the EU, many countries fail to be updated with these new rules. For instance, if you run an online business in Denver, Colorado that carries out international projects with companies in the EU, you’ll have to adjust your website accordingly. For starters, you’ll be better off hiring a specialized SEO agency for your website to audit its performance and help you find your footing. They’ll be able to optimize your website for GDPR regulation, thus protecting you from the severe penalties set forth in GDPR.


There’s a reason why you need an expert eye to look into this matter. GDPR has various implications for your website’s SEO. Here are the top influencing factors:


Website Goals


You’ll be able to witness the impact of GDPR starting from how it’s going to affect your whole website goals. This becomes most apparent in tracked goals associated with sign-up forms and any other lead generating tactics. Since GDPR will require you to change your wording and create more elaborate consent requests, you can expect your sign-up rates to be affected negatively. You won’t be able to make use of user information as freely as you had, like sending them additional marketing materials, unless you’ve specifically gotten their consent.




Your analytical tools are likely to change as well. In case you’re using a tool that de-anonymizes user data, you’ll be at risk of violating GDPR. Other common processes may contravene the rules, such as sending user data to your employees in the form of reports across various channels.


charts and analytics showing seo score factors

Managing Consent


The wording you use while asking for consent will have to change. Instead of the common Cookie Policy phrase, you’ll have to create popups that ask for consent in a more elaborative way. This can result in page speed issues, which directly affects the website’s SEO ranking.


Ranking Factors


Although there is no direct relation between GDPR compliance and ranking factors, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be in the future. We’ve witnessed, time and time again, how factors that were proposed as optional later turned out to be essential in ranking websites on the SERPs.


User Experience


We can already expect the user experience to significantly change with becoming GDPR compliant, which is already happening with the consent popups. As new rules are integrated into GDPR, it won’t be surprising to find more factors affecting the user experience, and thus the website’s ranking.


The purpose of GDPR is to protect citizens’ right to their data privacy. Citizens living in the EU nations now have the right to consent to the way their data will be used, and any breach or violation of their data privacy will be dealt with in accordance with GDPR. This regulation impacts SEO in many ways, starting from the overall website performance to different ranking factors on the SERPs.

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