Clever Technology

Google changes privacy policy & search result rankings

Recently, Google has been very busy implementing various changes to its privacy policy and to its search engine. Let’s look at these changes and how they may impact you.

You may have noticed the banner “We’re changing our privacy policy. This stuff matters.” on some of the Google sites you’ve been visiting. Now that Google is much more than just a search engine, it is consolidating more than 60 individual privacy policies across its products into a single one that promises to be “a lot shorter and easier to read”. Some products (like Wallet and Chrome) will retain their own policy for regulatory purposes and/or to help spell out that product in greater detail. Google believes this will allow them to consolidate your usage across their products, to bring you better integration and more relevant content.

Imagine a scenario where Google notifies you that you may be late for your meeting, because it combines your location, your calendar entry and the local traffic conditions. Sounds helpful, doesn’t it? And if your status on Google+ is often about horse riding, you may start seeing more horse riding videos in the Featured section of YouTube. The other side to this coin is that Google will have a much more detailed picture of you, enabling it to target you with specific advertising, which is a much more valuable commodity to pitch to advertisers. While Google still won’t sell your personal information, access to a tightly defined market will see advertisers running to Google to promote their products, as a targeted audience is much more cost-effective for them than a mass marketing approach

To see your presence across the Google products and to access your personal settings, you can log into the Google Dashboard. To learn more about this topic, view Google’s official policy page, please click here. The change goes into effect on March 1, and if you don’t agree with the change, your only option is to stop using Google’s products (with an account).

The other major changes impact website owners. Google will now lower your search result ranking if your site is packed with advertising ‘above the fold’ (in the top space before a reader needs to scroll down). It will also focus on how relevant your content is to your keywords – do you deliver a helpful website and a great user experience, or are you delivering some slick, copied sales pitch to promote an e-book on a different topic? More than ever, your website needs to focus on being relevant and recently updated. Webmasters also need to be aware the Google search results can now include content from other Google products, so items like your company’s Google+ page updates may also appear. This is good news for businesses who have embraced social media as it will add to their search results presence.

Talk to your local Computer Troubleshooters about your Google presence or any of your technology needs.