Want to know the real reason no one reads privacy policies? And why is this important?
Table Of Contents−
- What’s your website’s trust score?
- From a legal perspective
- The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
- Don’t put your apps at risk
- In conclusion
You will see updates from big tech giants and how they are changing their privacy policies.
Evernote Did What?
The Big Techs
Facebook is probably the more formal policy here, though it does feel like they’ve tried.
You can go through their complete Data Policy or for a more user-friendly approach to their policy explanation. They provide a Facebook Privacy Page where you can “Like this Page to learn how to exercise your choice to share what you want with those you want, keep up with changes, and talk with others about the importance of privacy in our digital age.”
You understand the CAN-SPAM Act and comply by signing up with email marketing software to do most of the work for you. You have the unsubscribe button and follow the instructions provided by this email marketing software.
In the age of technology and innovation, the key to running a successful online business lies in attracting visitors and nurturing them into your customers over time. To achieve this, business owners and marketers are constantly looking for ways to build strong email lists, streamline landing pages, and optimize website presence. They also need to conduct various tests to find the ideal opt-in experience.
1. Say “no” to the word “spam.”
Users are concerned about their privacy. You’ve probably seen the variation of the statement “We won’t spam you” in many opt-in forms. While it’s a popular statement, this is simply lazy work. Using the word “spam” can be detrimental to your conversations.
As people are becoming more skeptical about online privacy, the word “spam” instills fear and distrust in the minds of visitors but also keeps their attention away from your offer. As the negative feeling is too overwhelming to shake off, your privacy statement has become a distraction rather than a persuasion. The below test conducted by ContentVerve suggests that including the word “spam” can result in an 18.70% signup decrease over the control version.
2. Use positive wording
Instead of saying things you won’t do, go for an affirmative statement. For instance, statements like “We guarantee 100% privacy.” or “We respect your privacy. Your information will not be shared.” are powerful ways to create transparency as you connect with your audience. They are positive, and they make sense. In fact, according to the findings ContentVerve made, they can lead to 19.47% more signups than the control version.
It’s all about being transparent. If you’re running an eCommerce business, showing your privacy, return/refund, and guarantee policies are important. Your customers would not be happy if they learned about your policies after their purchases. What’s worse, they must go through a complicated process to get their refunds (if they ever get them at all!).
Always clearly state your company’s policies before you require visitors to take action. It shows that you have nothing to hide. It also makes it much easier for both parties to communicate and understand each other. Bonus point if you can include your contact number, an email address, and a real address. Remember, transparency fuels trust.
4. Never stop testing
User testing is a critical part of understanding your audience. Knowing what works and what doesn’t and going through trials and errors are why some businesses succeed while others fail.
Avoid copying other people. It might be tempting to copy successful online retailers. After all, they must be doing something right to get where they are now. The reality is not that simple. Some established brands can avoid putting their privacy statements near the opt-in forms as they have gained the recognition and reputation needed over the years. However, for new businesses still trying to establish their presence, it’s a bad idea to imitate bigger brands.
Overall, know your business and where it stands in the market. This will help you make informed, conscious decisions about your privacy statement and differentiate yourself from the rest. Keep experimenting, and remember that small things can make a big difference.
I’ve been working and learning S.E.O. for about 4 years now. It’s been quite a journey, and I thank my tools for helping me with my SEO. Tools help me identify quick and easy fixes. Some are harder than others, but in the end, tools can provide you with a nice checklist. I’ve used tools such as WooRank, SEO Powersuite, and SEMRush. I have nothing else to say other than that all three tools have their place.
If you are an SEO expert, you might consider using all three instead of picking just one. If you are a starter, I would suggest WooRank, since it is the most affordable. SEO Powersuite has great tools like LinkAssistant to help you with backlinks. SEMRush
But there is just one thing that these tools do not mention. This may or may not be a direct Google ranking factor, but it might be soon.
We live in a digital age, where data is collected, shared, and stored. It’s to the point where people can identify where you live, your favorite hobbies, what time you get up in the morning and what you do with your life. It can be good, and it can also be a bad thing.
What’s your website’s trust score?
Much has been said about the role of SEO in helping search engine robots understand your website and drive traffic to your business.
Competing with others for that one spot on the first page of Google is an important aspect of your growth strategy. So you painstakingly pay close attention to creating anchor text, keyword density, “quality” content, and building relevant links.
Yet something is still a little off…
No matter how much time and effort you’ve spent working on your SEO, Google doesn’t seem to like your website.
Sometimes when you overly focus on meeting the mechanism of search engine robots, you neglect the real conversations you should be having with your customers. This is reflected in your website’s Trust Score.
What is a trust score?
A Trust Score represents customer satisfaction, measured based on many trust rank factors. Here are some common parameters:
- The age of your website – the older, the better.
- Unique content. Who needs another copycat?
- Site updating. Fresh pages and “evergreen” content attract more users.
- A number of pages indexed.
- Website traffic.
- Backlinks. Keep in mind that only quality links matter.
- User engagement (i.e., time on site, long clicks, shares, likes, comments, and reviews).
Why does your trust score matter?
While other SEO metrics are essential for ranking, in most cases, they exist in the background, hidden from your customers. This lack of transparency makes building trust rather difficult, if not impossible.
Remember, your customers can only see what’s visible on the website and visibility constructs the basic framework for trust. Without trust, sooner or later, your business is doomed to failure.
Only a few people understand just what it takes to build trust. Studies show that less than a third of CMOs and marketing executives fully understand where trust is being eroded in the experience lifecycle. Only half can address negative experiences at the customer touch point. While many recognize the value of analytics in building trust with their customers, most are not using analytics at their disposal.
Trust takes time to build and is quick to lose.
In an ever-competitive, cutthroat world, zero trust equals zero business. If customers don’t trust your website, Google will find a way to penalize it. But if they love it? Congrats, your Google Trust Rank and Website Trust Score are on great terms.
How to make your customers and Google trust your site.
Whether you’re an established business or a brand-new startup, you have to go through an inevitable process of building and nurturing trust with your customers. According to research, 91% of CMOs feel that building trusted customer relationships is a critical focus of their department’s strategic and competitive vision. What’s more, 67% agree that customer experience cannot be controlled by marketing alone.
Simply put: people buy from people they trust, and it takes various factors to assemble, strengthen and sustain an empire of trust.
So let’s dive deeper and get a better picture of your website’s Trust Score. Grade yourself with one point for each “yes” and a negative for a “no.” Elaborate on each “yes” answer.
- Do you have customer support? If so, how long can your customers expect a response?
- Is it easy for your customers to contact you? What is your current satisfaction rate?
- Do you currently have Terms of Service? Can your customer understand your return policy?
- Do you have web security in place to protect your customer info?
- Are you happy with your current customer review ratings?
So what’s your website’s Trust Score? Think you can improve?
From a legal perspective
Once you collect personal data from visitors like their email, you need to inform them of various things (and this is a constant across most legislation and systems. More information about the international regulatory framework can be found here):
- Personal data must be processed fairly and lawfully. This includes, in particular, telling the individuals concerned about who you are and that they plan to use these details for marketing purposes;
- You need to tell people if you plan to pass those details on to third parties, including selling or sharing the data for marketing purposes, for which you are likely to need their consent to do so;
- You collect personal data for specified purposes and cannot later decide to use it for other purposes unrelated to your email marketing purposes; keep time in mind: a marketing list that is out of date or which does not accurately record people’s marketing preferences could breach privacy regulations.
- 2016 TRUSTe/NCSA Consumer Privacy Infographic – US Edition
While CalOppa is a California law, you still need to comply with them. What is the probability of a Californian going to your site? Whether you live in California, your online business has the potential to reach them.
The California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
Europe has a well developed privacy law sector. The relevant legal framework in the European Union is the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) and the ePrivacy directive (2002/58/EC, as revised by 2009/136/EC). Those regulations need to be transformed into Member States law, making sure that minimum privacy requirements are met across the European states.
From a PIPEDA self-assessment guide:
* Take appropriate measures to notify Website users of all your organization’s online information practices, notably using “cookies” or other non-visible tracking tools, and explain such practices
Whether you are certain about who will be going to your site, you would want to comply with all regulation so that you are not at risk of being fined. By understanding what regulations you need to comply, helps protect your business. Just like any brick and mortar stores, you won’t start a business not knowing exactly what you need.
- 2016 TRUSTe/NCSA Consumer Privacy Infographic – US Edition
Also, there is a good way to go about it, versus the bad way. Let’s start with copying and pasting a policy from other people. If you are selling someone else’s product, you might think that by copying their policy would protect you and your business. What most people do not realize, you are adding on services that might not be mentioned in their policy. Also, you might be infringing by copying and pasting.
While most people click your policy and think that everything is covered, there will be those who actually read them and point out the difference between the policy you paste and what you do with them. If you are using a landing page builder with analytic, you will need to disclose that information. You also need to disclose that you are tracking them with cookies as well as disclose that you are using an email marketing software to track their open/click rates and behavior triggers.
Hiring a lawyer can be costly.
Web sites or services directed to children under 13
Note how Facebook tells you to be consistent with California’s privacy laws concerning children: They tell you to comply with the U.S. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act which introduces more stringent rules for your apps when you target children under the age of 13.
You should explain the information that you are gathering and why you are collecting the data. Emails and cookies are very common information to track, so there are a lot of great examples out there. If you are gathering information for any sketchy reasons, you should stop these practices instead of trying to explain it to your visitors.
The important information that you should include is if you are sharing information with anyone.
This is a huge part because you need to inform the users where their information is going. In most areas, you do not need to list the exact company, but you do have state clearly that the information gathered is being shared or sold.
You should also have information about the laws and initiatives that you are complying with. Having this information is legally required in some areas, and you can face fines if this information is missing.
Depending on the information that you are collecting and what it is being used for, you should include information about how the users can opt out. Most email collections will have this information at the bottom of every e-mail, and somewhere on the host website.
- Who is the site/app owner?
- What data is being collected? How is that data being collected?
- For which purposes is the data collected? Analytics? Email Marketing?
- What third parties will have access to the information? Will any third party collect data through widgets (e.g. social buttons) and integrations (e.g. Facebook connect)?
- What rights do users have? Can they request to see the data you have on them, can they request to rectify, erase or block their data (under European regulations most of this is mandatory)?
Don’t put your apps at risk
The need for transparency has become a pressing issue for developers around the world. In fact, many have been receiving notices from Google Play for violating the User Data policy regarding personal and sensitive information.
Google’s effort to penalize and eradicate half-baked, ill-considered apps reflects the company’s goal for a better, more transparent community – one that doesn’t put users’ data and privacy at risk.
We’ve heard all sort of stories about Android apps that steal your valuable data and cost you money. Think about every time you install a new app, you need to accept some kind of permissions. Very often you don’t get many choices as permissions are bundled up – it’s either all or nothing.
According to research, requesting fewer permissions leads to more downloads. Since Android has a history of poorly permissions handling, users pay closer attention and are more careful about their permission usage. A study about two unbranded apps with similar functionality and ratings but different sets of permission requests shows that on average, users were 3 times more likely to install the app with fewer permission requests.
You can learn more about how these permissions work here. Alternatively, you can also check out Google Play Developer Console Help Center.
Failure to comply with Google guidelines and specifications will limit your application visibility in the App Store or lead to removal altogether.
- Information about the site/app owner.
- The kind of data being collected and how it is collected.
- The purpose of the data collection (i.e. analytics, email marketing).
- Any third parties that have access to the information and through which means (widgets and integrations).
- The rights of users regarding their data (i.e. the ability to request to see the data, to rectify, erase, or block).
- Go to your Google Play Developer Console.
- Select an app.
- Select Store Listing.
- Select Save draft (new apps) or Submit update (existing apps).
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