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Does not having a posted privacy policy effect your SERPs

7:02 pm on May 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Title pretty much says it all...
"Does not having a posted privacy policy effect your SERPs."

We all know that bad content can effect your SERPs as well as internal and external links if not orchestrated correctly... but if you have an e-commerce website, can search engines detect if the privacy policy page doesn't have a policy posted and in turn have a negative effect on it's SERPs.

Anyone encounter this before? ideas...

The site I am working on is already live... I am just trying to help my client discover why here SERPs aren't what they should be. Alot of her interior pages aren't ranking at all and they should, at the very least, be ranking for the long-tailed keyword phrase of each of her <H1> tags for those pages.

I did discover that her privacy policy page had nothing on it and I was curious if this might possibly be a contributor?

Thanks for the help! - Saxman

[edited by: tedster at 7:06 pm (utc) on May 22, 2009]
[edit reason] used the description as the title [/edit]

10:26 pm on May 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I know G specifically looks for a privacy policy on Adwords landing pages. As for SEO, I'm not sure - but I highly doubt that it would hold back an entire site from ranking. Big sites like yelp nofollow their privacy policy links so it can't be that crucial (G says it completely ignores nofollowed links but that's still up for debate I think). Either way you might as well add some content to the policy page because it obviously can't hurt, but I wouldn't expect your rankings to suddenly shoot through the roof.
5:02 am on May 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I don't believe having a Privacy Policy affects the SERPs. A few of my AdSense sites went greybar for almost a month, but <wild speculation>after adding a privacy page the PR displayed</wild speculation>. Ranking and indexing was unchanged.
2:28 pm on May 23, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I don't see how a privacy policy should affect one's rankings, whether adversely or beneficially. After all, they come in many shapes and sizes. Some sites do not even need a policy, get by with a single sentence, or use their own lingo, to name just a few things that will make it difficult to create a reliable algorithm. Additionally, how are they going to read the policies themselves? You can't give a page or site bonus points for having a privacy policy if you don't know what it says. One might say "we don't care about your privacy on this site, so we give away your e-mail address to anyone who asks for it," and still be a policy. Overall, I doubt it would be worth the effort, since they can't possibly put much weight on such a relatively insignificant signal anyway (and I think they have plenty of collective brainpower to come up with better, more reliable ones).

Having said that, an empty privacy policy page is a little awkward, if not suspicious, and any empty page is a wasted click for a visitor, so your client should get that fixed anyway.

12:56 pm on May 26, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks everyone... your comments back up my theory.

I'll make sure she gets her privacy policy up!

L8r - Saxman