SEO Without Cookies – Let’s Go!
We’ve all heard the wailing and gnashing of teeth as Google’s latest algorithmic update—the one affecting mobile-friendliness, site speed, and other factors related to how your site appears to search engine crawlers—has taken hold. If you’re a diligent SEO pro, though, you’ve probably been wondering: What happens to organic search when cookies are gone?
The Collection of Data is Changing
This information is incredibly valuable in terms of helping websites understand their visitors better (and thus improve user experience). However, some users want more control over how their private information is used online. This can be especially important for people who consider themselves politically active or concerned about privacy rights. For this reason, most major browsers now offer an option that disables third-party cookie tracking by default—meaning users will need to manually enable each site’s cookies if they want them enabled at all.
Google Is Already Phasing Out Third-Party Cookies
Google is already phasing out third-party cookies in Chrome and on mobile devices, which means that if you were to visit a site without using the same browser or device as before, your old cookie would be gone. And that’s where Google’s new feature comes into play: it will enable users to choose whether they want to accept third-party cookies or not.
Google says this move is all about giving users more control over their privacy. The search giant points out that there are many different types of third-party cookies and some might be used for better experiences while others could lead to poor ones (such as tracking). But regardless of what kind of cookie you encounter, Google wants you to have more control over where your data goes so that you don’t see ads for products that aren’t relevant for what you’re looking for or find yourself being served an ad from someone who knows nothing about your interests other than your IP address.
How Will SEO Adapt?
When the cookies disappear and search engines can’t track your online activity, what will happen to SEO?
One of the most common questions we hear is “how will this affect my SEO?” Though Google has yet to officially release any statements about how their algorithms will be affected by Chrome’s change, we do know that the impact on SEO overall won’t be as dramatic as some might think.
SEO (search engine optimization) is still an incredibly important tool for businesses looking to rank in search results and drive traffic to their website. It’s not going away anytime soon! But it does mean that certain aspects of SEO will need to change so that brands can continue using it effectively.
There will be an increased focus on organic traffic. Google has already announced that they’ll be focusing more heavily on organic search results and less on paid advertisements in the future. This means that companies who rely solely on paid ads for their SEO are going to have a hard time adapting to this change. Companies will need to put more effort into creating content people actually want to read—content that’s relevant, interesting, educational, or entertaining.
As a result, many brands will likely shift their focus from paid ads to organic traffic. Organic traffic is when users find your company because they Googled something relevant or interesting. It’s much more reliable than paid advertisements.
Lack of Deep Customer Insights
If you thought cookies are the only way to track customer behavior, think again. There are many other sources of customer data available that can be leveraged for SEO purposes:
- Server logs and web analytics tools
- Email newsletters and email marketing campaigns (if you’re using them)
- Your website’s comment section (if it has one)
When it comes to optimization, the best approach is to start with the end result in mind: what do you want customers’ experiences on your site or app to look like? This will help determine which type of data will be most useful for optimizing your content strategy. For example, if you’re trying to optimize a form that collects leads or orders, then form completion rate would be an ideal metric for measuring success. If all else fails, just ask yourself what would make visitors happy with their visit—and then optimize based on that!
The right SEO practices can still help you both in the short- and long-term
The good news is that there are many ways to get traffic and leads without cookies, and these will continue to work even if the cookies disappear.
For example, you can still use search engine optimization (SEO) to get traffic, leads and customers. Just because Google won’t be able to track your website visitors doesn’t mean they won’t be able to find it. In fact, this could be a huge opportunity for small businesses who are able to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to SEO efforts.
Whatever happens with Google’s changes in the future, SEO is not going anywhere. The best SEO practices still work, and they will continue to be useful for everyone who wants their site to rank well in search results. The only difference is that you now need to balance the short-term gains of things like keyword stuffing with long-term strategies such as building an audience on social media or creating truly valuable content that people want to share.