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Virginia Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPA)

December 31, 2022 is When Virginia's Privacy Law Takes Effect.

Second in the nation behind California to enact online privacy regulation, Virginia’s new law takes effect on January 1, 2023.

Similar to the law in California that is again similar in itself to the more stringent privacy regulations in the European Union, Virginia has new privacy rules now too.

What does this mean for US and Virginia-based businesses and those selling in Virginia?

First and foremost, if you do not have cookie notifications on your website, now is the time to implement this scripting. There are many online services that provide the scripts to meet the European Unions’ strict rules and can be used to meet both California and Virginia’s regulations. We use cookie-script.com for our privacy adherence needs.

For Virginia businesses and those that do business in Virginia, here’s what you need to know about this recently passed act.

First you must be in compliance by January 1, 2023.

“Virginia’s legislation has a carve-out for information collected in the employment context, whereas California’s law applies to some employment data.” Read the full article.

The CDPA applies to the following business types:

• Those that control or process the personal data of at least 100,000 consumers.

• Those that process the personal data of at least 25,000 consumers and derive more than 50 percent of their gross revenue from selling personal data.

Make sure to check this article for a number of exemptions. Virginia has made its law less stringent than California’s privacy law, but make sure you know what is covered and not covered.

What Are Your Rights in this New Law?

“Virginia’s law was modeled after California’s laws and the European Union General Data Protection Regulation. Virginia’s law provides expansive consumer privacy rights, such as the right to access, right of rectification, right to delete, right to opt out, right of portability and right against automatic decision-making. The act includes a broad definition of “personal information,” a “sensitive data” category, and data-protection assessment requirements for businesses that control the data.”

“Consumers don’t have the right to bring a private lawsuit for violations of the act. Instead, the Virginia attorney general’s office will enforce the law. Entities will have the opportunity to cure violations or face a fine of $7,500 per violation.” Read more.

Most people expect other states to follow with restrictions similar to Virginia’s or California’s.

Our Recommendation

With privacy being in the forefront of everyone’s mind right now, it is time to look at adding a privacy statement and cookie setting acknowledgement script on your website.

When the EU rolled out it’s privacy regulation several years ago, many businesses opted to not update their site for cookie approval as they felt they were exempt (erroneously) by not selling services or products in the European Union. Now with expansion of similar regulations to California and Virginia, it is time to implement technology to be in compliance this year and at the minimum by December 31, 2022.

 

 

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Important News We Are Watching From This Week

Be in the Know

Be in the know! This week we have found a few nuggets that you may want to review or do a deeper dive into from our blog post.

Is It Worth Writing Website Meta Descriptions?

“Many SEOs debate the importance of creating unique meta descriptions. It can definitely help with click-through-rate from SERPs, but, for most, it’s often a low priority SEO task. Will the news that Google overwrites our work make us less likely to spend time on it?” Read the full article.

From our point of view, we do still recommend writing these to assist in click through rates from the search results. We have seen Google write there own before and then later roll back their action.  It makes sense to write them and if Google does or does not use them is a non-issue at this point.


Google is Tweaking the Layout of Google Local or Google Maps Listings

We are seeing the removal of addresses in Google Maps listing tests by Google. See pic.

Google also appears to be listing the years in business in some Google Maps listings. Read the article and see the pic.


Google Ads Does Away with Broad Match Modifiers

Google has announced that it will no longer honor broad match modifier keywords and will instead merge the broad match modifier into phrase match. For now if there are broad match modifier keywords in the account, Google will simply deliver them as phrase match.

How do we feel about this? Well, we expect to spend more time on negative keywords list creation to sculpt ad results. We are not terribly worried about this due to the extensive use of machine learning used in ad delivery. We do expect broad match modifier keywords in the account to start to receive fewer and fewer impressions over time. We will no longer add broad match modifier  to ad accounts. Read the full article for more details.

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Your Privacy – What Are You Doing About It?

Your Privacy - It is a Commodity

Read any newspaper like the Wall Street Journal and you’ll see conversations about privacy and the changes that are happening soon with Apple, Facebook, and now with Google Chrome. You have a right to be concerned about how big business is working to continue to make money off of serving you ads with persistent tracking cookies.

Apple and Facebook are in a finger pointing game with Apple rolling our new privacy updates in a new iOS roll out and Facebook putting up a wall to garner your tracking approval for ads. Add to this Google’s change to the Chrome browser which will block third party tracking cookies and now group your data in audiences for proprietary ad targeting and you will see that big business considers your online activity a goldmine for their own purposes – to make money by serving you ads.

These internet behemoths do not have your best interest at heart – protecting your privacy. Their interest is in making money off of the information you share or share unwittingly. Case in point, have you looked at something online and then in minutes seen the product appear in your Facebook feed? Of concern to me is voice conversations had near an Alexa, and then ads appearing for that item in Facebook shortly there after. Could it possibly be that Alexa is now involved in ad targeting or was this just  a fluke?

Google knows everything that I do and I am starting to get uneasy with that knowledge. As my firm work for a cancer treatment firm, for criminal lawyers, and for bed bug exterminators, and we do a wealth of research for them, Google now thinks that I have cancer, am embroiled in criminal enterprises, and have bed bugs at my home.

I personally have started to take action to minimize my online data footprint out of exhaustion with targeted advertising and the inherent loss of control and incessant “watching”.

Here’s what I am doing right now to try to get back in control of my data.

• I have minimized all activity on Facebook. I am testing out MeWe.com as they voice that they do not collect data or (at this time) use my data from the platform for advertising. But, no friends or family members are using this platform except my husband. I may simply abandon Facebook.

• I use only the Microsoft Edge browser and do not use Google Chrome except for a narrow work purpose. Edge has better privacy control and on top of that is super fast. A win-win in my eyes. Google knows too much about me and I am not willing to supply more information at this point. I may even start using secure private browsing just to stop tracking.

• DuckDuckGo – is the search engine that powers my own website searches and I have recently downloaded their mobile browsing app and am considering using the desktop version as my search engine of choice. They now show ads, but still claim to protect a user’s privacy.

I have previously felt that the more Google knew about me the better it was for me, as search results and ads were always tailored to things I thought I wanted. But now, I am more wary.

My privacy is starting to be a commodity that I am unwilling to share freely. I am now wanting more control over who knows what about me and who uses my information for ad targeting and how.

 

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1-29-21 What We Are Watching This Week

McCord Web Services is a Google Partner and a Certified Google Ads Professional

There are just a few new things in the world of Google that we are watching this week.

Rich Snippet Changes

Google has a new validation tool for Rich Snippets you may be using on your website. You’ll want to click in and check your code in the new validation tool as Google is stating that they will drop your snippets indexing in search if you do not make updates to have the code be valid. Read the full detailed article here.

Local Service Ads and the Impact on Standard Google Ads Campaigns

In 2020 Google started testing Local Service Ads for lawyers. A number of firms have done research on how using both Google Ads and Local Service Ads impacts Google Ads performance negatively.

After review of the data, it appears that Local Service Ads will be shown preferentially by Google and are typically clicked on more by users due to the richness of the interface and ad appearance. CTR and CPA are negatively impacted in Google Ads when the client is using both programs.

If you are using Local Service Ads AND Google Ads (standard professional version), you will want to dive in and read the full article.

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What to Know About Google Indexing and Ranking

Nancy McCord and Bandit

I recently ready a very interesting article and wanted to share some of the important nuggets with you in Google indexing in this January 1, 2021 post.

First, Happy New Year! 2021 simply has to be better than 2020.

Second, there are the nuggets that I find of particular interest for our clients from this article.

• Google has now verified that it can take two months or more to impact search results when you make a change to your website.

• Google does validate that when you regularly add new content to your website, that the Google Bot spider will focus on the new content and not the old content for its time to index your website.

• If you have poor quality sections on your website, these poor sections can drag down the rating/ranking of your entire website.

• Rankings are determined not by page, but by weighing the entire website.

• However, now the Google team has stated that regularly updated new sections of your website that are of good quality may keep the poor sections of your site from making a strong impact that drags down your website in the rankings. Hmm, kind of conflicting from what has previously said and Google couches this with “it depends on your website.” So, not a conclusive nugget.

• What I find of particular importance in all this is that ranking and changes to your site have far reaching long term impacts that in some cases not seen even in two months from the changes. Keepng your content fresh is crucial to attracting and keeping the attention of the Google Bot spider.

If you are mystified by this, it may be time to visit our website to check our services. When you need a team that is trustworthy on your side to help you understand and then act to improve your website visibility, McCord Web Services is your top choice.

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