4 Ways to Use a VPN for SEO
The SEO industry has been making massive gains over the past years. More individuals and businesses rely on SEO to improve their branding, social reach, and online traffic – and the money spent on SEO backs that up. Back in 2016, the US alone accounted for $65 billion being spent on SEO, with the numbers being expected to rise to around $79 billion by 2020.
And while there are many ways to get an edge on the market with SEO, one often overlooked method involves using a VPN for SEO strategies.
In case you’re not familiar with what a VPN is, just think of it as software that can help you connect to the web through a private, encrypted network which secures your online traffic and data. Besides that, a VPN also masks the origin of your online traffic by replacing your IP address with a different one.
“How would something like that actually help me with my SEO goals?”
Well, there are actually 4 ways you can use a VPN for SEO to improve the efficiency of your strategies:
1. You Can Use a VPN for Local SEO in Other Countries
Search engine results are location-based, so if you live in the UK, you can’t really see what kind of results an online user from the US would get – which would be a problem if you’re trying to rank an online store in US-based search engine results, and want to see what people are searching for, as well as how the competition is doing.
Sure, you can use online ads and other tools to achieve the desired results, but wouldn’t it be easier if you could just trick Google into believing you are based in the US, so that you’d be presented with relevant results in seconds?
Well, if you were to be using VPNs for SEO results, that’s exactly what you’d be able to do! You’d just need to connect to a VPN server in a specific country (like the US, for example), and start performing search queries to find all the localized ranking info you need.
Oh, and don’t forget – besides localized SEO results, you’d also be able to see location-specific ads. So, you’d get to easily check up on how your own ads are being displayed for a specific location, or get a glimpse at what kind of competition you are facing ad-wise.
2. You Can Better Protect Your Privacy When Working
SEO and marketing research often involves your visiting your competitors’ websites to get an idea of what kind of copy, marketing tactics, and keywords they are using.
As efficient that can be, there’s just one problem with it – your competitors can actually notice your IP address if you visit their website too often, and track it if they want to. If they do that, they might find your own website, and start “getting inspired” from your own copy and marketing ideas – which can be quite problematic if you’re just starting out and they weren’t that aware of you yet.
What’s more, you should know that you might be subjected to more than just IP tracking by your competitors. For example, Google could track your digital footprints – especially when you’re buying multiple backlinks with the same IP.
Fortunately, with a VPN, SEO becomes more privacy-focused, making it near impossible for someone to monitor you and your marketing strategies on the Internet. Why? Because a decent VPN normally uses powerful encryption to protect your online traffic, personal data, and Internet activities from prying eyes.
3. You Can Outsmart Google’s Search Query reCAPTCHAs
While this isn’t a particularly concerning problem SEO-wise, it can get annoying if you use Google search queries quite often to find new keywords, or check how well your current keywords are doing.
Essentially, once you conduct too many search queries at one time, you might be told that Google has detected “unusual traffic from your computer network.” When that happens, you will be redirected to an error page containing a reCAPTCHA you have to solve.
It’s not hard to see how this can get tiring quite fast. Fortunately, since a VPN allows you to change your IP address on the spot, you’ll no longer have to deal with reCAPTCHAs. Just switch between VPN servers once Google starts to redirect you to the error page, and you’re good to go.
4. You Can Use a VPN for SEO When Working Remotely
Remote work is on the rise, with nearly 43% of US workers engaging in remote work quite often. It seems that previous claims of half of people working remotely in 2020 weren’t just wild speculation.
While some SEO-related job positions might still require employees to come in at the office, it’s easy to see how the majority of SEO researchers can do their job from anywhere in the world.
Yes, the dream of doing your job while relaxing on an exotic beach is now a reality if your work involves SEO.
The only problem with doing that is that you might end up having to deal with geo-restrictions when trying to access certain websites or online tools. For example, you might not be able to access Google or some of Google’s services if you’re connecting from a country like Cuba, China, or Iran.
Something like that can put an end to the remote-job dream, but worry not – a VPN can easily help you overcome this obstacle! Simply connect to a VPN server in a country that has access to the online content you need, and you’re all set.
“Can’t I Use a Proxy Instead?”
In theory, you could. However, you should know that you will have to put up with certain drawbacks if you choose a proxy over a VPN for SEO goals:
- Proxies are usually slower when it comes to switching between servers. If you need to change your IP address multiple times (like when you’re dealing with reCAPTCHAs, for instance), it’s going to take longer if you’re using a proxy.
- Proxies don’t generally offer cross-platform compatibility like VPNs do, which can be an issue if you’re working remotely and rely on multiple devices to get your job done. Also, many proxies don’t offer a lot of server variety, effectively limiting your search query options.
- Online security can be a problem with proxies because your connection remains unencrypted and exposed. If you value your online privacy and the security of the SEO data/files you work with, a VPN will offer you more peace of mind than a proxy since it can secure your online connection on top of your data.
- Proxies barely protect your privacy on the Internet, meaning your SEO tactics can be tracked. On the other hand, with a VPN, you get to enjoy a certain degree of anonymity.
All in all, it’s quite clear that, when it comes to SEO, VPNs are the better option. Just make sure you choose the right one!
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