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Avoid These SEO Mistakes While Complying with GDPR

The common question asked by small businesses is how they would know if the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to their site or not. Simple, if your site servers are located in Europe region or you get visitors from there then yes you need to comply with it. But while doing so make sure that you are not losing your visitors by making these SEO mistakes which we have discussed below;

1. Don’t Obstruct Your Content with Pop-Ups:

Adding too many pop-up contents to inform the user of your updated policies may cause an obstruction in their browsing hence do this carefully. Add a small pop-up on the bottom or on the side and do not obstruct the whole screen, secondly give the users all options to read and dismiss the compliance pop-up once and for all so that it does not appear again.

Another pop-up that sites use is for cookie usage and most websites only keep the option to agree with it if you wish to dismiss whereas the user may be visiting your site once hence, why would he or she agree to this policy?

What is data privacy? It is basically to keep your policies of data usage transparent and handle the user data carefully but it also means that the users get the option to choose if they want you to use their data or not. Not complying to that will cause you losing users and business.

2. Don’t Block all EU Traffic:

One strategy which many websites had implemented as the GDPR was implemented was that they blocked all EU traffic but in reality, this is a bad idea. GDPR is actually not bad and even if you do not cater to the EU region, being transparent and careful about user data only improves user experience, something which all businesses are aiming for hence apply GDPR even if it is not compulsory in your area.

Another reason not to block EU traffic is that this will also block the bots and crawlers coming to your site from EU backlinks causing loss of these backlinks which used to be good for your SEO hence will affect your site ranking.

The third reason not to block EU traffic is that it will also block users who are traveling to that region or do not belong to the EU but settled there causing bad user experience which is not your aim ultimately.

3. Don’t Redirect Users to New Policy Page:

If you have complied to the GDPR and wish to inform your users about it, redirecting them to the compliance page is not a great approach as not only users but the crawlers will also get redirected and that may cause you losing your website rankings.

Also, if your users are clicking on the link of your site expecting to see certain information and forcefully redirected to the compliance page, the users may quit the site and jump to some other website. Setting redirects that take users away from the content is a bad strategy. This is going to be bad for business hence avoid this completely.

4. Don’t Show Different Pages to Google and EU Users:

Don’t do this or else it will only negatively impact SEO and cause penalty with Google. Creating different pages for users and crawlers is called cloaking, and it is equivalent to misguiding the search engine as an SEO tactic but tricking Google is never a good idea as the algorithms update often and you will be busted for this and your site rank will go further down.

5. Don’t Install Third-Party Elements That are Not GDPR Compliant:

When you use third-party elements on the site which are not GDPR compliant, your site also becomes non-compliant and this may cause legal risk to your site. Any theme or plugin which does not comply with GDPR is not well updated as most reputed ones have already made theme changes hence trusting such elements is not a good idea as your site becomes prone to hackers.

All other components of your website may be GDPR compliant but even if one element is not, your entire site becomes non-compliant which you should avoid from happening. Obviously, you do not wish to be fined and you also would want to protect the privacy of your users and increase your credibility hence refrain from using such elements.

In Conclusion- Does GDPR Compliance Affect Website Ranking?

We are going to see this from a different angle. We are not going to talk here about how the search engines differentiate between GDPR and non-GDPR compliant sites. 

If you are complying with this regulation, you are deploying a safe approach to give priority to your user’s preference and taking all measures to keep their data safe. This will only improve your website traffic and user engagement which in-turn is going to make your site stand-out in search engine evaluations and your site ranking will be boosted as users find your site useful and they engage with it. Hence, we can say this without a doubt that complying to GDPR is not only going to rank your site higher but also improve your business revenues.

By CWZ

Founder of Cyberwarzone.com.