Why Your Site Needs to Have a Privacy Policy

Why Your Site Needs to Have a Privacy Policy

Data is the backbone of search engine marketing. Everything SEO and PPC analysts do is driven towards gathering data to help you better understand how your clients/customers are using your website. Through Google Analytics and other tools, we collect tons of information, but there’s something that often gets overlooked in the process: the privacy policy.

Any time you’re collecting data from someone, they have a right to know how – and why – you’re using it. In some cases, not having a privacy policy is against the law. But even if it’s not, anyone using Google Analytics is required to have a visible privacy policy on their website (as well as a variety of other Google products, including AdWordsand AdSense).

Now, you might be thinking “no one reads privacy policies anyway.” And you’re right, for the most part. Very few people actually read the terms and conditions for anything they use, but that’s not an excuse to not have them. People are becoming increasingly aware of their digital footprint, and safeguarding their personal data is quickly becoming a priority. Your privacy policy is an agreement with your users – they’ll let you use their data to improve your website and you won’t abuse the privilege.

Writing a privacy policy can be intimidating, but they don’t have to be incredibly complex. For the most part, Google is looking for three things:

  • Compliance with any relevant privacy laws
  • A statement that says you use cookies to track anonymized data from users
  • A statement that says data tracking is handled by a third party (i.e. Google)

It can also be helpful to mention that you will not collect any personally identifiable information, and that users have the opportunity to opt out of tracking at any time. You can NOT attempt to circumvent their opt-out, either.

So why is having a privacy policy so important? On the extreme end, not having one could lead to legal issues, either with Google or with a user of your website. More likely, you could find your account suspended, which means all the data you’ve invested time and money in to collect is inaccessible (and you’ll be missing out on even more).

Please note: This post is not intended to act as legal advice. If you have legal questions about privacy policies and the usage of users’ data, please contact a lawyer.

Joshua DeGrasse-Baumann

Josh has worked as an SEO since 2014, when he started as a copywriting intern at Rocket Clicks. Now a manager of the RC SEO department, Josh considers himself an expert on technical SEO matters and complex analytics tracking/configuration. When he's not messing with websites or code, Josh likes to walk his dog, Bailey.