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General Data Protection Regulation

Here you can find the official content of the Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (General Data Protection Regulation) in the current version. All Articles of the GDPR are linked with suitable recitals.

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GDPR: How it Impacts the SEO and Digital Marketing Industries

GDPR How it Impacts the SEO and Digital Marketing

In recent years, there have been several incidents in which large companies have been involved in situations related to illegal processing, hacking, and theft of personal data.

One of the most famous cases, with serious repercussions, was the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Facebook didn’t suffer data theft, but the consulting company- Cambridge Analytica used the personal data of 87 million users, harvested through the Facebook platform without consent to influence the 2016 United States elections and England’s exit from the European Union (EU).

This and other similar cases only reveal something that had not been foreseen in the digital age: the personal data provided by millions of people to thousands of companies on the Internet isn’t being treated and protected properly.

This is the reason why GDPR arose in Europe, and in this context, we’ll explain what the impact of GDPR is on today’s digital marketing and search engine optimization (SEO).

What is GDPR?

GDPR is the acronym for General Data Protection Regulation, which replaces the old Directive of 1995, which was already obsolete in the modern communications environment, where the Internet, mobile devices, and social networks changed the rules of the game.

This Regulation came into force on May 25, 2018, and is characterized by putting the personal data of users at the highest level of importance regarding legal protection.

The law applies to all those companies that work with the personal data of European residents, even when such companies don’t have their headquarters in Europe.

[RELATED CONTENT: Who does the GDPR apply to?]

What is the effect of GDPR?

GDPR affects all companies that store or handle the personal data of citizens in the EU, regardless of their location.

if your company collects and processes personal information from EU citizens, you have to comply with this law.

Remember that personal data is any information that identifies a person; this can include name or email address, IP address, or cookie information.

[RELATED TOPIC: What is Personal Data According to the GDPR]

The data controller must also implement measures to guarantee the security of this data, and in some cases, a privacy impact assessment can also be mandatory due to the use of new technologies.

Another of the most important aspects is the explicit consent that might be needed for the processing of individuals’ personal information and the right to be forgotten or delete all their personal data in the databases of companies, among other GDPR rights.

[RELATED TOPIC: GDPR requirements for compliant consent]

What is the impact of GDPR on Digital Marketing?

If you work with digital marketing and collect personal data, you will have to make changes to avoid incurring violations.

Within the realm of digital marketing, GDPR mandates that users should have the choice to determine whether they want to be contacted or tracked.

Whether you can track the online activity of users or not is now dependent on their acceptance of the terms of privacy and cookie policies. In addition, the following are some specific considerations you should have.

GDPR and Direct Marketing

Information in the cloud

Today, a good part of personal data is processed with this type of service and is vulnerable to being attacked, stolen, or leaked from anywhere in the world. Companies have to take measures to ensure the protection of customer data and even employees.

Email Marketing

Regarding GDPR, you can’t continue buying email lists or scraping them from any website. This is strictly prohibited, users need to opt-in to your email marketing system, giving consent to using their personal data.

[RELATED TOPIC: GDPR & Email Marketing]

Automated marketing

Automation is powerful. However, it’s crucial to devise a mechanism that prevents your automated system from sending emails to users who have opted out.

In other words, you will have to ensure that each email address in your client database has given you permission to market to them.

What about the impact of GDPR on SEO?

GDPR has also impacted SEO, but not as deeply as you might think. Here are some points to consider.

SEO is more convenient now

Due to the limitations imposed by the GDPR, companies now prefer to create valuable content to reach users. This means that SEO is GDPR compliant.

GDPR has provided a new balance between paid and organic search because it minimized retargeting.

In addition to this, you need to put a greater emphasis on creating relevant content that adds value to users and invites them to return to your site again and again. 

The hardest part is that modern users expect highly personalized content, so it’s a challenge to find the perfect balance between giving users what they ask for and using their data in a GDPR-compliant way.

For this, the best solution is to ask for consent when needed and educate users on how you are going to use their data, explaining how this can help you give them a richer and more personalized user experience.

Use of Analytics Tools

Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is a feature that many web analysis tools use. 

If you want to analyze the behavior of users using these types of tools, you must choose very well which ones you use.

In this sense, you should choose those that provide you with options to protect the data and anonymity of users, giving them several points to accept or reject your website’s data processing and policies.

A good option for this is Google Analytics since it allows you to set up its features to avoid sending personal data.

However, Google Analytics is not GDPR compliant by default. You will also have to disclose and describe all personal data processing in your website’s privacy policy and ask for consent.

Traffic blocking and redirection

It’s no longer convenient to block and redirect EU traffic that is GDPR compliant, as this can affect your B2B SEO strategy, leading to negative consequences for your website, including loss of backlinks, decrease in your EU rankings and loss of customers.

The best way to avoid this is to adapt all your website and content to be compatible with GDPR policies.

Additional tips for balancing GDPR with marketing and SEO

As you have seen, GDPR improves the privacy rights of users, which means increased obligations for companies. To ensure that everything is correct, follow these tips:

Organize your database

Verify that you have all personal data under control. Take the opportunity to eliminate the data that you don’t need.

In addition to that, use automatic privacy management tools to collect, track, and manage personal data. 

Ask for clear and express consent

It is necessary for the client to give their consent to the use of their data, but it’s also very important that you explain clearly and simply how you are going to use that data.

You need to keep track of who has given consent, when, how, and for what reason. This also means that if, in the future, you want to use that data for a different purpose, you’ll have to obtain the client’s consent again.

In this case, consent management platforms can help you consolidate your data and align your marketing communication with data privacy regulations.

Reshaping the Landscape of Digital Marketing

In summary, the advent of GDPR has significantly reshaped the digital marketing landscape. From stringent regulations on email marketing practices to the preference for content-driven SEO, companies must navigate a new paradigm where user consent, data protection, and personalized experiences intersect.

Balancing the demands of GDPR with effective digital marketing strategies requires meticulous database organization, transparent consent practices, and a proactive approach to aligning marketing communication with evolving data privacy regulations.

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