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GDPR & You

(The following is adapted from a recent newsletter that I sent out via the ‘Milani Five-0.’)

I wish this was a fun, post. Lot’s has been happening and according to the farmers almanac, Sunday was the time to plant and our garden is booming. I wish I was using this email to talk about the big changes in our yard after getting inspired from our trip to Mendocino (where I taught a workshop). But alas, this is all about the big EU data protection regulation and what you need to know about it, and what actions you may need to take. Let’s ‘dig’ in.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) — What is it & what does it mean for you?

If you’ve heard or seen the emails, you might be concerned or likely confused. The European Union’s new data regulations go into effect May 25th, 2018. Even though this new regulation is EU based it has worldwide impact because your website(s) are likely global.

In short, GDPR’s purpose is to give people more power to protect their personal data, and it requires businesses who collect that data — whether it be names, addresses, email addresses, phone, IP, etc — more transparency on when and how it’s used.

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Tell them who you are when you collect any data,
  2. Get clear consent to process their data,
  3. Allow people to access their data,
  4. Inform people of data breaches,
  5. Give people the right to be forgotten, 
  6. Give people the option to opt out of direct marketing that uses their data,
  7. If you use “Profiling” to process applications there’s a bunch of new rules,
  8. Use extra safeguards for sensitive info like health, race and more.

There are a few more nuances to these new regulations, like transferring data between compliant and non-compliant countries. Overall, I think this is a positive thing to protect people’s data and it was inevitable.

What should you do?

Well, that part depends on your situation. You may need to bring it to your legal team if you operate internationally, or have a lot of moving parts. You should probably review this wonderful infographic/website to get familiar on how it might effect your business (http://ec.europa.eu/justice/smedataprotect/index_en.htm). If you use WordPress, there is team of core developer that are working together to help plugin developers quickly get up to code. You can read more over there as well (https://www.gdprwp.com/). Whatever your system uses to collect information will likely have a blog or page on their website dedicated to helping you in the transition — like this WordPress Plugin’s Gravity Forms page (https://docs.gravityforms.com/wordpress-gravity-forms-and-gdpr-compliance/). Your websites/clients will need to evaluate the process for data collection, how you make it accessible on-demand, and update your Terms of Use.

Case Study: ryanmilani.com

Again every situation is going to be different, but I’ll share what I did for my website which took less than one hour. First, I updated my privacy policy to be more explicit regarding the statements above. I then added a checkbox to all my contact forms letting visitors ‘opt into’ having their information stored and that I can contact them; I also link to my privacy policy. Now, I don’t do any remarketing for my website, so I’m not implementing a opt-in for cookies. Just to be safe, I also went ahead and just turned off all Advertising features in Google Analytics (I don’t use them, but if I did then I would make sure my privacy policy is up to date in accordance to which advertising features I use, data I collect, and I would use a cookie opt-in). Finally, I went in to Google Analytics>>Admin>>Tracking Info>>Data Retention and clicked Save (In accordance with the new Google Analytics policy).

Conclusion

Ultimately, you should audit your own data collection process, and look for ways to comply asap. Note that many plugins and third party platforms have released statements on how they are complying. A simple search “(company/platform) + GDPR” will give you information on what you need to be aware of.

Good luck and let me know if I can support!

why-ssl-why-important-seoSSL (Secure Sockets Layer) (aka. HTTPS) is all about making the Internet a safer place to browse, but the benefits of implementing a SSL certificate go beyond security.

The https in your browser address bar shows when a website contains a SSL certificate; meaning the browser has an encrypted connection to the server hosting the files of the website. Therefore, information passed over that website is more secure from people spying. It’s not totally secure, but it provides a solid industry approved level of security. Google and others are pushing hard for it’s adoption, and when happens good thins come to those who take advantage.

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2018 nonprofit google adgrant updateGoogle just updated their policy regarding Google AdWords Ad Grants for Nonprofits. It’s a significant change that ultimately will increase the quality of impressions and clicks (overall relevancy in their SERPs). If you manage Ad Grant accounts like I do, this update is important to pay attention to.

Bid Above $2.00

In short, you can now bid above the maximum Cost-Per-Click (CPC) of $2.00. In order to do so, you need to enable “Maximize Conversions” bidding strategy which means you need to make sure you setup conversion tracking — this is just a best practice anyway.

Better Performance Standards, an End to Broad Targeting

The other change to the policy is a big one for your strategy. The policy also states that for performance you must maintain an account Click Through Rate of at least 5%, which means going after those low quality, broad, keywords will likely drop your account into the danger zone.

These are good changes, mostly. It does reduce the ability to run branding campaigns using broad keywords, but it makes up for it with more relevance, and ultimately higher conversion. Like I tell so many clients, and now my high school students (more on that later): Google is in the business of relevancy!

Here’s the official message from Google:

google ad grant policy update

Links from the email:

 

Chain Redirects Break The ChainDamn your love, Damn your lies.

Oh chain redirects, they’re nearly inevitable when running large scale websites (small too). At some point you redirected a link, then you redesigned your site and redirected that link again. Maybe you didn’t even realize the link got redirected. Next thing you know, you click A, it redirects to B, and well B redirects you to C, and if you’re lucky you eventually make it to your destination D. Well, if you have a large, long running website you probably have some chain redirects that could use some cleanup.

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Google My Business recently launched a new feature called “Posts.” With the new feature you can engage viewers with a business update, announce a new product or service offering, share a promotion, lead them to a Call-to-Action (CTA), or share your next event. Posts appear on your Google business listing (“Google My Business”) and on valuable search engine results pages. Prime real estate!

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change-google-business-descriptionGoogle has taken control of your business description in search results. Specifically, the description that is on the right of search results in your Google My Business (GMB) description, above address and below your business name, and on Google Maps. Google makes the distinction this is an “editorial summary.” So what are your options to change the editorial summary if it is inaccurate or undesirable?

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About the New Character Limits for Expanded Text Ads

Google announced the launch, and eventual changeover, to an Expanded Text Ad format in mid-2016. The Expanded Text Ads gave a boost to the clickable real-estate of the ad, and a longer description for more detail. If you haven’t updated your older ads, you’re missing an opportunity to increase your position and Click Through Rate. Here’s a little more information:

(See below for the character limits list)

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Keyword Monitoring - Google Alerts - Alarm Clocks on a shelfGoogle Alerts is almost an afterthought to most seasoned webmasters and digital marketers, but let’s retract a minute and zoom back out to ten-thousand feet. What if you, Jane Business, could track/monitor every time a keyword was mentioned in a Google search result? How would you harvest that power?

Here’s how I would take advantage of that – I’d monitor my name, for one, but I’d also monitor topics of interest for me, my industry, or areas where I’m trying to build links back to my website or a client’s website.

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Click-through rate (CTR) adwords pitfalls

Click-Through Rate (CTR) is a simple metric that shows that rate at which an ad impression receives a click. It’s a core measurement in Search Engine Marketing and yet, slightly misunderstood on the surface. Let’s look at this major ad performance metric.

What is Click-Through Rate?

Whenever and however you generate traffic to your app or website — be it through any channel (social, organic, referral, paid, display, email) — your links, banners, or ads will have impressions (views) and clicks. Impressions are the number of times a link or ad was seen, or rather available on the screen to be seen. Clicks are, well, people who clicked the link or ad. Click-Through Rate is the percentage of people who saw the impression and clicked it.

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