It has slipped the attention of many Google Adwords users that Google have updated their guidelines on landing pages that capture visitor information. Typically this would include registering for downloads, extra content or seminars, webinars or site access.
For most users trading in an honest and upfront way this change should have zero direct impact, however it’s worth being aware of the change and making sure your pages are clearly following the guidelines.
One of the driving forces behind this is to ensure transparency, as Google puts it, “In order to build trust with users, your site should be explicit in three primary areas: the nature of your business; how your site interacts with a visitor’s computer; and how you intend to use a visitor’s personal information, if you request it.”
In order to ensure your website page provides transparency, Google offers advice including
• Openly share info about your business and clearly define what your business is or does.
• Honour the deals and offers that you promote in your ad.
• Deliver products and services as promised.
• Only charge users for the products and services that they order and successfully receive.
• Distinguish sponsored links from the rest of your site content.
• Ensure prices or billing methods are easily located on the website and are obvious to users.*
• In cases of recurrent billing or subscription situation, the price and billing interval must be present in a clear and obvious location on the page where the user provides their information, and a mandatory opt-in box must be present.*
*Providing prices and billing information in very small print on the webpage is not considered “obvious” to the user.
Most of us would consider these guidelines as pretty fundamental to running a legitimate business but the fact Google feels required to provide them is a sign that may be not all websites follow those basic principles.
They also are tightening up on abuses of personal information and insisting websites give greater control to users on how their information is gathered and used. Again most of this is common sense and largely already covered by existing legislation, certainly this side of the Atlantic.
• Unless necessary for the product or service that you’re offering, don’t request personal information.
• Give options to limit the use of a user’s personal information, such as the ability to opt out of receiving newsletters.
• Allow users to access your site’s content without requiring them to register. Or, provide a preview of what users will get by registering.
To read the guidelines in full visit http://adwords.google.com/support/aw/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=46675
About The Author: Nigel Wilkinson is the Managing Director of WNW Design Ltd. In addition to his business interests, Nigel is married to Movement teacher Michelle, the father of teenage twins, an avid Networker, a Social Media commentator, a keen golfer and football supporter. He is also an active member of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, being Chairman from 2009 – 2011.You can follow him on Twitter @nigelwnw, or telephone on 01395 542569. You can also find WNW Design on Facebook here.