Online security and privacy have been growing in importance, especially in the era of remote working. Hence, more and more people are using VPNs. Did you know that this solution can also help SEO professionals? In this article, we will dispel the myths about VPN and discuss how it affects SEO.
If potential recipients of your content prevent you from collecting relevant data about their online behavior, location, and interests (to protect their privacy), it can affect the effectiveness of SEO.
It’s worth taking a closer look at the topic to find out what data marketers are actually missing. Since VPNs are getting more and more attention, marketers, SEO, and e-commerce specialists can use them in everyday tasks. How can this tool streamline your daily work? How exactlydoes VPN affect SEO?
Let's start with the basics!
What is VPN?
VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, which is a technology that helps users stay safe when browsing the net. It enhances security by changing the public network to a private one. It encrypts connections. A VPN hides the users’ IP, allows them to set a location of their choice, and reduces the risk of data security breaches.
Why Do People Willingly Use VPN?
Why do people appreciate VPNs? Some of the most important reasons for using a VPN include:
wanting to protect work-related data during home office;
changing or hiding your IP address;
accessing locally blocked sites and resources, such as streaming platforms (Hulu, Netflix);
encrypting data when using the network in a coffee shop, library, or other public places;
staying in touch with family, friends, or business partners in other parts of the world.
In 2020, the number of people using VPNs worldwide increased by 27.1% (BusinessWire). Currently, it's estimated that 31% of the 4.5 billion internet users already use VPNs regularly. VPN Atlas, which collects data from 85 selected countries, reports that VPN downloads have already surpassed 785 million in the locations surveyed.
Remote working has increased interest in VPNs as people want to protect data when they are outside the office.
Google Trends shows an increase in the popularity of VPNs.
VPN and SEO - Does It Affect the Process?
What does it mean SEO-wise? As you can see above, the data is promising when thinking about the future of VPNs. The solution is popular among younger people (generations Z, Y). If you are worried about the effectiveness of your SEO efforts, consider two things:
Is it possible that a significant percentage of your potential customers use VPNs every day?
How does a VPN affect SEO? What data do your tools stop collecting?
What now? We’ll discuss both aspects in today’s article so keep reading. Let’s start with the positives and debunk the myth that VPNs are dangerous.
This technology can help you increase your effectiveness. We know that a VPN is mostly about cybersecurity and user convenience. However, it doesn't mean that a skilled professional won't be able to use a VPN to their advantage in many other ways.
Can the use of a VPN affect SEO and the work of professionals?
The answer is yes. Keep reading to see our 4 favorite arguments. 2 of them are actually mandatory if you are conducting SEO activities abroad.
Local SERPs From First-Hand Experience
Have you ever experienced a situation, when tools gathered too little data about the searches you were interested in? You wanted to check the Google Business Profile listing of the hotel you do SEO for, but you couldn't find any phrases because of the location?
Google adjusts the displayed results to what it knows about you. Therefore, it'll be difficult for you to see the results consumers see if you don't fit into the actual target audience.
Want to know more about local SEO? Check out how to use it to attract more clients to your business!
What should you do? Of course, you can use tools but they don’t always gather enough data to show you true and complete information. That’s why it’s important to manually check the SERPs once in a while.
What are the benefits of VPN technology?
Location - thanks to VPN you can easily adjust your location. Remember that SERPs differ depending on the user's location (you'll see different results if you type a phrase in Chicago and Boston. This happens even if it's not a strictly local phrase, e.g. "supplements for athletes". After all, they can be purchased both online and in traditional stores).
Real-world competition and performance data - not sure how your competitors are seen by potential customers? What makes you stand out in the SERPs? Maybe an original meta description or being shown in zero position? Why does your target audience never reach your website? By viewing search results from a user's perspective, you'll notice all these details that tools won't show you.
Ability to explore SERPs in other languages - Google allows you to change the search language to one of the available ones. However, this option is quite inaccurate and doesn't take into account your location. A properly implemented VPN can easily solve this problem.
Note: Remember that location or IP address is one thing, but cookies play an equally important role. To display the SERPs as neutrally as possible and to prevent data distortion, use a VPN, and a browser in the incognito mode. Remember to log out of your Google account.
Cross Borders (Literally)
SEO is often global in nature. This point is important for all SEO professionals who do SEO abroad.
Opening up to new markets requires commitment, knowledge, and tools. You have to bear in mind that not all data will be easily accessible. Moreover, it may be necessary to reach content that isn't available to people from other parts of the world. In this case, a VPN turns out to be an indispensable element of work.
Certain tools don't work in all regions - if you want to unblock them, a VPN comes to the rescue. This will allow you to overcome such challenges. Thanks to it, you'll be able to explore the network resources of a selected country. It's useful, isn't it?
When working on a client's site, you need to make sure that both yourself and the other party are cyber secure. Sensitive data needs to be protected, whether you're working from home or the office.
Network security is an absolute must. Remember that if you use VPN-unprotected Wi-Fi in public places, the data you use is exposed.
Track Ads More Accurately Than With Google Ad Preview
SEO is often combined with other methods of search marketing, such as Google Ads. If you want to see your ads the way your target audience sees them, a VPN will help you.
Thanks to it, you'll see the search results in the actual order (unaltered by your data), exactly the way consumers see them. Again, we remind you to use the incognito mode and log out of your Google account.
What to Pay Attention to When Choosing VPN?
You already know that a VPN can affect SEO. You also know how to use it for your business. Remember that not all VPNs are the same. If you decide to test this solution - do it wisely.
What should you pay special attention to?
Not every VPN offers a rich selection of locations you can use. It can range from a few - or a dozen - to even hundreds. If this is important to you, make sure that a VPN allows you to choose a country or a specific region.
The more options to choose from, the more helpful it is to use a VPN to evaluate and plan your activities.
Check the data encryption methods that a specific VPN offers. The most common ones include AES-256, but some free VPNs may not be so secure.
How Many Devices?
Depending on whether you're subscribing to a VPN just for yourself or for your entire company, it's important to check the number of devices that can be used in one package.
Free or Paid?
If you're concerned about data security and anonymity, check what will happen to your data once you install a VPN. Note that free VPNs often state that they share data with third parties. This somewhat misses the point of using a VPN for better security.
There are good free VPNs, but you should definitely be careful when choosing them.
Does Using VPNs by Users Affect Your Activities?
We promised that we would answer the question and resolve the doubts concerning the impact of a VPN on SEO.
Is the relationship betweenVPNs and SEO really that strong?
Although a VPN ensures high security of transmitted data, it doesn't give you full anonymity. Therefore, it doesn't significantly influence the data Google Analytics or Google Search Console sees about your online activity.
Additionally, websites visited by users still collect cookies. The location is the only significant difference. However, the difference usually isn't big enough to affect the data analytics.
If you focus on local SEO, a VPN can cause some problems. However, this will only happen if a significant percentage of your potential customers are using it.
On the other hand, note that if a user really needs to find a local business, they will complement their query with a city name. After all, the results provided based on a random location won't satisfy their needs.
VPN and encryption slow down the website loading.
If you want to ensure that those who use this method can conveniently browse your page, improve its loading speed. By doing so, you'll minimize the risk that users will exit the website due to slow loading.
VPNs are becoming increasingly popular. Their use varies from region to region. It's a good idea to be prepared for potential changes if the trend continues to grow. Take care of your site speed (which is an important ranking factor).
VPNs don't really affect the SEO process and the data you collect. The main difference relates to the location.
You can use a VPN in your daily work for:
a better understanding of local results;
exploration of the SERPs abroad;
secure connections while working remotely;
the highest security while working on the client's site;
Google Ads tracking;
creation and evaluation of SEO strategy, also for international SEO.
If you need help with your SEO process contact us and we will help you maximize your efforts!
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.