Jul 062017
 
 July 6, 2017  Posted by

Privacy is an important topic for most people and it can get very confusing when you transact a lot of your communication and business online. At SEO Rocket, we respect our clients’ privacy as well as the privacy of those individuals that visit our website. However, we do use tools that collect information about a visitor’s computer or browsing pattern and/or write information to that user’s computer for future use (cookies.)

The most common of these tools is the suite of Google products that let us measure web traffic, create ad campaigns in the Google network and place pay per click ads in the search engine results. Even if you aren’t doing search marketing (pay-per-click) every site should use a tool like Google analytics to measure traffic and behavior of visitors to the site.

Because they collect data behind the scenes without interrupting the user’s browsing, many of these tools create a more streamlined and pleasant experience for the user. However, the user has a right to know what information is being tracked and what may be written to their computer. Many of the tools we use require that the website utilizing their tools place a prominent privacy policy on the site to let visitors know about the site’s use of cookies, how data that is being collected is kept anonymous and how it is being utilized.

“Can You Write One for Me?”

Usually not. Every site is different and the most effective privacy policies come about after you have a thorough understanding of how your tools collect data and what cookies you write to the visitors device. It can get technical and confusing but we encourage you to follow this best practice and ensure that you have a privacy policy statement or page somewhere on your website. If you already have a privacy policy statement or page, you should make sure that it is current and that any tools that you are utilizing are covered by your existing statement.

A 2010 survey of 200 sites found that 90% violated at least one of Google’s policies, 65% were breaking two of Google’s policies and more than 40% were violating the three main policies!

When Google Analytics is utilized to help track and trend a website’s usage then Google requires that a privacy policy be included on the site. Other tools such as Dynamic Call Tracking may write cookies to the website and so you should let visitors know that.

Here is Google’s statement regarding what should be included:

You must disclose the use of Google Analytics, and how it collects and processes data. This can be done by displaying a prominent link to the site “How Google uses data when you use our partners’ sites or apps”, (located at www.google.com/policies/privacy/partners/, or any other URL Google may provide from time to time).

You will use commercially reasonable efforts to ensure that a Visitor is provided with clear and comprehensive information about, and consents to, the storing and accessing of cookies or other information on the Visitor’s device where such activity occurs in connection with the Service and where providing such information and obtaining such consent is required by law.

As with all of the content on your site, it is your responsibility that it remains current and accurate and that you aren’t misleading your visitors. What happens if you violate Google’s terms of service? Technically, you could be sued; but more likely you’ll get warned or lose access to the Google program with the violation.

Losing access to your Google analytics data, the ability to drive traffic with AdWords, or your website’s monetization efforts with AdSense can have a significant impact on a business.

At SEO Rocket we look for a privacy policy statement/page on the sites of potential and existing clients to ensure that they are present. We feel that the existence of these pages provides a more truthful and pleasant experience for the end-user. A better user experience leads to more time on the site, more clicks and, ultimately, a better impression left with the search engines. If you have interest in tapping into our great resources on this and other topics such as organic search results, local search marketing, search engine marketing or reviews and reputation management then contact us at sales@seorocket.com.

Note: This is not intended to be legal advice. We are not lawyers nor do we pretend to be. The purpose of this post is to increase your awareness of Google’s policies and privacy policies in general. You should check your policy often and make sure it accurately reflects the way you track users and write to their machines.

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