The SEO climate is more competitive than ever, as both startups and established names make their mark on what has become a surprisingly heated space in a comparatively short period of time. With ever more SEO specialists looking to get an edge on the crowd, many are looking to new technology to assist them.
Be it for security, the promise of an extended reach across the globe, or the capability of having a local perspective on your target audience, a VPN has plenty to offer SEO experts today. Using a VPN is becoming ever more popular among the web-savvy but few of those working digital marketing are aware of their potentials.
That’s not to say that all VPNs offer the same level of protection, though. Before you purchase your next piece of cybersecurity software, it’s worth doing some research about individual providers so you know what to look out for.
Let's first summarise what a VPN is before identifying the advantages one could offer you.
What is a VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a piece of software designed to enhance the security of your computer. Not only does it alter the country your computer is perceived to be in, but it also encrypts your connection and masks your original IP address.
With fears of outright data and identity theft on the rise, a VPN is an essential piece of tech to keep your customer and company data secure. With headlines appearing almost every day that highlight how companies’ have lost customer data, it’s never been more important to keep your device secure.
As the recent story of Facebook data leakage shows, even the biggest of companies are not immune from bugs.
A VPN also allows you to access content otherwise restricted in your home country, meaning you can expand your business opportunities too. Similarly, the added layer of security can ease online transactions and protect identities.
But how can VPNs benefit your overall SEO strategy?
A VPN enhances your security.
It's part and parcel of any SEO strategy to spend enormous amounts of time on the web, identifying opportunities and capitalising on solid keyword trends. Yet with cyber criminals growing ever more intelligent, and hackers using ever more sophisticated techniques, you can never have too much security.
When using a VPN, all your internet traffic is rerouted via the VPN provider's remote servers, encrypting it along the way. As all of our online activities - whether they're business or personal - leave a kind of footprint, it’s important to not leave these open to hackers. Thankfully, if you use a VPN alongside other top cybersecurity practices you'll likely remain safe
That gives your SEO strategy a competitive edge too. We all keep an eye on the competition to see which way they're going and which trends they're looking to capitalise on. However, you don’t really want your competitors to see you checking in on their activity.
By using a VPN, you won’t have to worry as your IP address is hidden. This means that your competitors can't see what you're up to, and you have the element of surprise on your side as you step ahead of them.
A VPN for SEO enhances your capacity to work remotely
Sometimes in the SEO game, you need to act fast as possible and that means working even when you’re not in the office. Nobody could blame you for wanting to jump on your local coffee shop's open, public WiFi network if you're out and need to sort something fast.
However, using public WiFi networks poses a number of significant risks. The only way of truly bypassing these risks is by using a VPN with strong encryption methods enabled.
That means that you can create content, research your organic rankings and PPC performance without fearing that your data could be intercepted as you work.
It also benefits more administrative tasks you might need to take care of on the go, like payroll, financing and accessing other sensitive data. The idea of accessing your bank and highly sensitive personal information on public WiFi access point would arch the eyebrows of anyone experienced in working with the web – but using a VPN means that you can do just that. That flexibility is a great competitive edge to have.
A VPN lets you engage with foreign SEO markets as though you're there
Often, while you’re working on your SEO strategy, you’re enclosed by your own national borders – even with the internet as free and unrestricted as it promises to be. Often this can restrict and limit you SEO without you even realising. For example, search engine results are always delivered with your geographic location in mind and filtered to prioritise content of the same language and nationality as you.
A VPN allows you to engage with search engines and websites as though you were a citizen of whatever country you happen to have toggled yours to. That can be invaluable in gaining knowledge about what trends, keywords and marketing ideals are the real opportunities in a given country and territory.
Different VPN providers offer a different number of servers in various countries, so it’s worth researching which VPNs offer connections in the countries that you want to target. Some, including NordVPN have over 100 servers, meaning that you can be truly global.
This plays into research too. A VPN that allows you to research which keywords and types of content rank in different countries mean that you can begin to achieve a properly global reach.
By seeing organic SERP ranking from around the world, you’ll be able to see the same ads as your potential new clients and plan your PPC strategy accordingly.
Likewise, you have the opportunity to see search engine results directly as though you lived in that country – an extra step up on understanding which search terms and keywords are going to unlock the most potential going forward.
With the ability to see organic SERP ranking from around the world, coupled with added security and the ability to work, it’s a great piece of tech for all those working in SEO.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.