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Cookies and privacy – is SEO ready for them?

8 minutes of reading
Cookies and privacy – is SEO ready for them?
Category SEO

Do you have cookies on your website? A privacy policy? Probably not, or at least not one that’s linked to from the footer or homepage yet. You probably don’t even think about it, and we can’t blame you, but maybe you should – especially if you’re in the process of setting up an off-site SEO campaign. This is because privacy and cookies are becoming something of an important thing in the world of search engine optimization. Why is that?


Growing awareness of the importance of privacy protection

Have you ever wondered how safe you are online? Or maybe better – how many dangers can you be there? After a few high-profile things that got a lot of publicity, people began to take a closer look at it. Just mention Equifax breach in 2017. In that case, personal information including social security numbers was stolen from 143 million customers. As well as the release of Cambridge Analytica’s Facebook data on 87 million users – which led to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifying in front of US Congress.

Many websites, especially business ones, whose profits revolve around the collected data, use tracking codes. There are no secrets here, the most famous codes are the Google Analytics tag and the Facebook pixel. It is thanks to them that we have the impression that the network “offers us something”, which often corresponds to our past search history.

Some people find it convenient, because the network is more convenient for them to use – others feel like the heroes of Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck’s film “The Lives of Others” (2006). Whichever way you look at it, data acquisition on the web should be fully conscious. For this reason, in 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union issued a judgment (which was generalized in 2020 in accordance with the guidelines of the European Data Protection Board) that the “cookies” bar should be replaced with information about the actual processing of data, even before the codes are triggered. trackers. If the user does not consent, they will be blocked. A penalty will be applied to parties that fail to comply with the regulations.

Important: If you have a small website, it is not that difficult yet, but in the case of a movie or a corporation, such decisions should be consulted with a lawyer. What is being forgotten about self-optimization SEO is that it is not enough to just paste in the widget codes.

How is our digital data processed?

Data processing is the process of taking data from one form to another. Data processing often occurs when data is being transferred from one system to another, such as when a credit card number changes hands between two businesses. The purpose of this transfer may be to update a customer’s account information or complete a purchase. Data processing also occurs when personal information is collected, analyzed, and stored in databases in order to make decisions.

For this reason, we have written so much in previous articles about HTTPS and SSL certificate. HTTPS is a protocol for secure communication over a computer network. It prevents eavesdropping, tampering, and message forgery. Its use is highly recommended by Google, which gives preference to sites that support it in its search engine results. HTTPS also helps avoid man-in-the-middle attacks (MITM). An SSL certificate provides the secure connection between your server and the browser of your visitors.

Is this the end of tracking codes?

So let’s clear up any doubts. Cookies are small text files stored on your computer by the websites you visit. They contain information about you, such as which browser you are using, which website referred you to a particular page, whether or not you have visited that page before, and any customizations you have made to the site.

Cross-site tracking and third-party cookies

Cross-site tracking is enabled by default in Google Analytics, which means that a user who visits your site may also be tracked on other sites. This type of tracking allows you to collect data on how users interact with your website across different domains. Third-party cookies are used to store information about a user’s visit to your site that can be accessed by other sites, such as Google.

The threat related to third-party cookies is understandable to many IT specialists and programmers. The problem with these cookies is they don’t have opt-in consent to use them, so many users are unaware of how these third-party cookies work or what they do. For this reason, users of Apple tools have a lot of comfort, because the use of these cookies is completely blocked in the Safari browser. Google also announced changes at home.

Privacy Sandbox

This is how Google named its proprietary solution for third-party cookies. It was supposed to be implemented this year, but unfortunately it is postponed to 2023. What is the reason for this problem? Google, as many of you know very well, has a highly developed advertising system. It is their facilities that marketers benefit from, and for this reason, turning them off would be associated with a loss of billions. Therefore, an alternative, safe solution is sought. It is supposed to be a compromise between users and the world of e-commerce.

Consent management

Many people feel that they’re being tracked online without their knowledge. The recent General Data Protection Regulation requires companies to get explicit consent before collecting information, making it possible for individuals to give and remove consent as they see fit.

This is supposed to make it easier for users to maintain control over their data, but what does this mean for the future of search engine optimization? Companies are feeling pressure from customers who want more transparency about how their personal information is being used. In order to comply with GDPR, brands have been ramping up their privacy policies on sites and apps in order to tell consumers exactly what kind of information they’re looking at.

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How to prepare your website for the changes?

How to fight limitations, but at the same time create an effective marketing strategy?

Step 1: Consent mode

To help protect their privacy, users need to be given the choice of whether they want to share their data with a site or not. There are two ways that this can be done: an opt-in mode where users have to actively consent before data is shared or an opt-in mode where users must actively consent before any data is shared. It’s important to note that if you use an opt-in mode it’s vital that you offer a viable option for those who don’t want to consent at all. If your goal is only to collect specific types of data like e-mail addresses or contact information then provide a means by which people can enter these details manually instead of asking them about other personal details.

Step 2: Google Enhanced Conversions

Google’s Enhanced Conversions tool will make it easier for Google to identify the conversion events that are related to your ad clicks. It’ll also make it easier for you to track these conversions because the data will be integrated with your Google Analytics account. The Enhanced Conversions API provides a unified interface, allowing you to report on all conversion events in a single place. This can help you understand how different channels contribute to your overall conversion numbers.

Step 3: Advanced Matching for Meta Pixel

The Advanced Matching for Meta Pixel add-on is an easy way to set up dynamic tagging for any page or post on your site. The plugin will generate a unique pixel ID for the current URL, which can then be matched with the pixels in your ad account. This makes dynamic retargeting more efficient and accurate, as it will know exactly where someone was when they saw your ad.

Step 4: Server-server tracking

Server-server tracking is a way to track user behavior on websites by following the patterns between server logs. It can be used to track individual user activity, including what pages they visit, how often they visit them, how long they stay there, etc. The data is collected in aggregate form (e.g., this person visited this page 50 times), but that doesn’t mean it’s anonymized: with enough data points collected over time, it becomes possible to map individual user profiles to the tracked data.

Step 5: Google Analytics

You can make adjustments to Google Analytics’s privacy settings to control the data it collects about visitors. For example, you can modify Google Analytics’s consent mode to be either implied or explicit. Implied consent means that users don’t need to take any action before opting in to allow Google Analytics to collect data, while explicit consent requires users to give their consent before they’re tracked.


The more people are aware of the privacy implications and what their data is used for, the better. The EU already has GDPR in place to protect their citizens, but it’s about time that other countries follow suit. This could have a huge impact on the future of our digital landscape. Privacy and cookies are a hot topic at the moment because we have yet to find out just how much this will affect search engine optimization or our day-to-day browsing experience.

Aleksandra Pietrzak
Curator at the National Museum in Poznań, graduate of Art History at the Jagiellonian University and Contemporary Art at the Pedagogical University of Krakow, curator of exhibitions and author of scientific and popular texts. A lover of contemporary art, literature and travel.
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