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Google’s Website Privacy Policy Requirements

Does your website have a public privacy policy? If it doesn’t, make this a top priority as Google and other major digital companies are increasingly enforcing websites and apps to post a privacy policy.

Privacy policy requirements have been steadily evolving and increasingly enforced. In the past, privacy policies were always recommended, but only required in certain cases where the website collected personal data such as contact information.

The rollout of privacy policy requirements has been similar to SSL (HTTPS) requirements only a couple years ago.

Who needs a posted privacy policy?

Every website, essentially. There are specific requirements, but nearly all websites fall into at least one of these requirements if they collect any kind of data, including traffic data using services such as Google Analytics.

Chances are good that any website created in the past year or so already have a privacy policy posted, as it’s become an industry standard in developing new websites.

What happens if I don’t have a posted privacy policy?

The primary concern here is that ad networks, including Google – the world’s largest, may block your digital advertising from serving.

Relatedly, Google and other search engines may demote your organic search ranking, or remove it entirely from its index. This will dramatically reduce the number of clicks to your website from search engines.

Lastly, popular web browsers, including Google’s Chrome – the world’s most-used browser, may cease loading websites that don’t have a posted privacy policy. This isn’t something that is currently being acted upon, but likely will at some point just as happened to websites without a properly installed SSL certificate.

What does the privacy policy have to include?

Google breaks out the requirements into three categories:

  1. What information do you collect?
  2. How do you use the information?
  3. What information do you share?

You can read more here.

How do I publish a privacy policy to my website?

Privacy policies can be simple and written yourself. There are also many free online tools that will create a copy-and-paste policy for you. WordPress and other website editors offer free tools and plugins for creating these policies.

Once created, all you have to do is login into your website editor (ie. WordPress) and create a new page called “Privacy Policy.” Paste the policy here and publish the page.

Lastly, add a link to the new page to your website’s navigation. It can be in the primary navigation, the footer, the header… anywhere, as long as it’s public.

If we built your website, reach out to your marketing executive to confirm that you are compliant with this policy.