How Can a VPN Help with SEO?
As SEO professionals, we constantly need to expand our reach by finding new and creative ways of content marketing. Thanks to new tools and technologies coming out every day, we have a plethora of options helping us come up with intelligent strategies that we can use to grow our SEO ventures.
Apart from the standard SEO tools (Ahrefs, Google Analytics or AdWords), a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is an essential component in any online professional’s toolbox. A VPN encrypts and reroutes your computer’s network connection to an offsite server. This will mask your IP address from anyone hoping to find it. VPNs have been growing in popularity as more people acknowledge the benefits of a VPN regarding security, privacy and practicality.
The following are some of the ways a VPN will help your SEO strategies:
Safety While Using Public Networks
Given that most of your work involves working using many different accounts, data security is of critical importance. You need to protect yourself, considering just one breach could result in a major setback that could destroy your reputation and months of work.
Since SEO is an ongoing process, you may need to work from locations that host public networks which could potentially expose your accounts and data to cybercriminals. Hackers are now so sophisticated that a simple “sniffer” device will intercept all the data you are sending and receiving on the network. This data could be private communications, search patterns, account information and even private client information.
A VPN offers the best protection against such types of attacks, given that it encrypts your connection. This makes it impossible for any hacker to intercept. With a VPN, no one can see any of your online activity except for the fact that you are using a VPN. Most hackers will usually give up upon seeing the VPN and look for a more vulnerable victim.
Accessing Industry Forums and Geo Blocked Tools and Services
You need to be up to date on industry news and trends from forums and discussion boards in order to stay ahead. You also need to access tools and services that offer you valuable data with which you compose your SEO strategies. Unfortunately, you may find yourself unfairly banned or geo-blocked from these tools, which would place you at a disadvantage. With a VPN, you could easily regain access to your favorite tools and services that you otherwise would find beyond your reach.
While you can access most forums, tools and services from anywhere on the globe without any restrictions, having a VPN is essential for hiding yourself and gaining access to the few services that may have such restrictions. Just make sure that you get one of the best VPNs on the market with plenty of server options if you are to get the best value for your SEO efforts.
Gauge Effectiveness of Local SEO Campaigns
As an SEO specialist, you will inevitably have campaigns in different locales. With a VPN server, you can comfortably browse the results pages with a server in the region that you have selected. Search engines will usually customize results according to the IP of your server, which will usually skew the data that you receive. That is where the VPN comes in handy for your SEO efforts. You can change your IP to multiple locations to determine the effectiveness (or potential effectiveness) of a campaign in each of those places.
Moreover, having access to servers in multiple locations eases the work of consultants that work for clients who live in different regions. A significant component of income for many professionals comes from consulting, and hence, having this capability is essential for your business. While other tools may offer such information at a cost, nothing beats the VPN. The VPN allows you to look at results as your client would from nearly any region in the world.
Gather Research Data Safely
Many of your competitors would not be above taking advantage of an opportunity to copy or steal your research data. Apart from the risk of competitors stealing your data, hackers are all too willing to steal your identity and research data, which they will be all too happy to sell to interested parties.
If you visit competitor websites and the same forums, it could be easy for someone to track you through your IP address. Also, they could potentially use your IP address to find your website and launch an attack on it. If you use a VPN, the most that a competitor or hacker will be able to determine is the server region rather than your location.
The VPN’s role as a tool for protecting online anonymity and freedom is one of its most common and lauded uses. You need it to access tools, services and websites blocked by governments and internet service providers. Furthermore, with a VPN, these organizations cannot track your online activities.
If you live in a country that restricts internetaccess or travel frequently, you need a VPN to avoid interference with your work. You cannot afford to have your access to the entire web restricted. You also need to note that a VPN is always preferable to a proxy server (often used for similar reason), as a VPN will not slow down your connection.
Most readers will find only one or two reasons mentioned in this article will factor greatly into their decision about whether to purchase a VPN. However, there are other benefits from having a VPN such as management of social media accounts and improved link building that may require a VPN. Experimenting and using tools is one of the best ways to learn about their benefits.
As an SEO professional, do you believe there are any uses of the VPN that have been left out? Do you use a VPN? If you have any thoughts, please contribute to the conversation by leaving your comment or suggestions below.