Google: how the GDPR notices on your website affect your rankings

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect on May, 25th. Some websites now show small banners or big popup windows to inform website visitors about their new privacy policies.

How do these popups affect your Google rankings? Google’s John Mueller answered that question in a webmaster hangout.

GDPR interstitials and search engine rankings

Make sure that your popups aren’t intrusive

“They are sometimes quite annoying, these pop-ups but they are how they are.

So in general, if the the pop-up is on top of the content itself, so if the content loads within HTML and you’re using Javascript to show a pop-up on top of that, then we’ll still have that normal content behind the pop-up to to index normally. So that part usually works fairly well.

What doesn’t work on our side is if you replace all of the content with just an interstitial or if you redirect to an interstitial and Googlebot has to click a button to actually get to the content itself then that’s not going to happen.

Then what will happen there is [that we] will index the interstitial content because that’s [the] only thing we have on this page and we won’t know that you can actually click a button and get a little bit more information there.

Googlebot also doesn’t keep a cookie. So it wouldn’t be able to say ‘Well, I’ll click accept now and the next time I crawl your website you just show me your content normally.’

Googlebot wouldn’t be able to to return that cookie to you and say ‘I agree with your your Terms of Service’. So those are kind of the two extremes that we’ve seen.”

Make sure that your GDPR interstitial does not replace the actual content of your website. It should also be possible to access your web pages without setting a cookie. If possible, put the content of your GDPR notice at the bottom of the HTML code. You can view the video here:

How to find out if Google can index more than your interstitial

If you want to find out if web crawlers such as Googlebot can look behind your GDPR interstitial, check your web pages with the website audit tool in SEOprofiler. The website audit tool will show you the contents that search engine crawlers can find on your web pages. You can create your SEOprofiler account here:

Check your website

Johannes Selbach

Johannes Selbach is the CEO of SEOprofiler. He blogs about search engine optimization and website marketing topics at "http://blog.seoprofiler.com".