If your website is using Google Analytics, AdSense or certain features in AdWords, make sure you have read and understand the terms of service for each specific product.
The popular SEO information website, SearchEngineLand, performed a review of about two hundred random websites and revealed that:
- More than 90% were breaking at least one of Google’s policies
- More than 65% were breaking at least two of Google’s policies
- More than 40% were breaking at least three of Google’s policies
They also found that some sites in Google’s Top 1000 List were breaking at least two policies. The bottom line is that it never hurts to increase your awareness of Google website policies, especially knowing when and how policies have changed.
What happens if you violate Google’s terms of service?
Although technically, Google could sue you for not following its policies when using its products, a more effective weapon for Google is the loss of access to the program you are using. You may get off with a warning the first time, and if you do get a warning, pay attention and make changes. If not you could lose your method of driving traffic (AdWords), lose your ability to monetize your website (AdSense) or completely lose the ability to access your Google Analytics data.
Google doesn’t mess around and violations that go unresolved can have a significant impact on your ability to do business on the internet.
Must Read: Why did your AdSense account get banned?
Breaking Google’s policies
According to Google Analytics Terms of Service:
Lack of Transparency in Tracking Methods
Additionally, the Terms of Service for Google Analytics states that:
You can meet this requirement simply by displaying a prominent link to the site “How Google uses data when you use our partners’ sites or apps”, which is located at www.google.com/policies/privacy/partners/. Google may provide a new or replacement URL from time to time.
Remarketing With Sensitive Information or Without an Opt-Out Option
Google supports retargeting campaigns in which you can reach consumers across the content network who have visited your site previously. This powerful remarketing approach lets you serve an ad to someone who has already interacted with your website. This is a group that has a higher chance of converting than the average user. With remarketing you have multiple opportunities to reach consumers who:
- Converted, in order to deepen the relationship
- Did not convert, in order to try again
- Abandoned their shopping cart, in order to remind them
- Signed up for a newsletter or subscription
This is great for marketers, but Google understands this approach can feel creepy to consumers.
Generally, Google does not allow the use of sensitive information in ads, the implication that you know more about someone than you do in ads or the illegal use of ads, such as marketing to children under the age of 13. However, there are also industry specific remarketing rules to follow covering areas such as financial services. Be sure to review the specifics of your industry.
Not sure about Google’s policies? Here are some links for you to review and update yourself.
- Google Analytics Terms of Service
- Google AdSense Terms and Conditions
Most policies vary according to the country where your billing address is located, so be sure to read the appropriate requirements for your area.
Learn about website laws in the UK here.
Protect yourself. Don’t take a hit from Google
Must Read: 20 Ways to make your website trustworthy
Stay Away From Free Privacy Policies
You put a lot of time and effort into content that converts. So, be sure your efforts are not wasted because of a simple mistake like violating Google’s policies.