As a digital marketing professional, the majority of your work will be done online. From launching new digital marketing and social media campaigns to monitoring PPC adverts and assessing the search rankings of your business, the internet is vital to everything you do. You would be wise to include VPN in digital marketing toolkit before launching any campaigns.
There’s a vast array of different tools to help you work. From SEO tools that harness big data to site auditing software, you’ll likely use several different tools to help you succeed. However, in the process, security issues are often overlooked.
Given the importance and sensitive nature of the information that you access on a daily basis, digital marketing professionals are often targeted by hackers and cybercriminals. As a Hiscox Business report showed, 45% of all media, marketing and technology-based companies suffered two or more cyber attacks in the past 12 months.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a piece of software that encrypts your internet data, allowing you to surf the internet safely and anonymously. It also allows you to unblock restricted content and appear as if you’re in another country.
Given the importance of the internet for digital marketing, it’s essential that you know how to retain your digital privacy and security online. Not only does a VPN keep your important files and documents safe from hackers, but it also means that you can monitor your competitors anonymously and view genuine search engine results in any country.
However, that’s not to say that all VPNs offer the same level of protection and it’s important to remember that they can’t protect you from all of the dangers online. This article will outline the benefits of using a VPN for digital marketing and identify some of their potential limitations.
Working in the field of digital marketing often relies on handling sensitive information about your company, customers and competitors. For this reason, it’s imperative that you keep it secure.
It’s also worth noting that cyber attacks and data leaks can have a negative impact on your overall marketing strategy and company valuation, a point epitomised by the recent drop in Facebook’s share prices following the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Arguably, the most important reason to use a VPN is to enhance your cybersecurity. Through using complex encryption methods which protect your data in transit, a VPN allows you to browse the internet safely.
This also means that you can carry out your work without fear that your Internet Service Provider (ISP), competitors or hackers are monitoring on your activity.
While a VPN undoubtedly adds an extra layer of protection, it’s not the only tool that you need to stay protected online. From using multi-factor authentication processes and maintaining up-to-date software on all your devices, there are lots of different ways to say safe online.
Geo-Spoofing & SERP Rankings
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is now an integral part of almost all digital marketing roles. However, with the rise of cookies, geo-restricted content and page crawlers, it’s harder than ever to access untainted search engine results pages (SERPs).
You may have used Google Chrome’s Incognito feature to help keep SERPs uninfluenced by your previous browsing history. However, even while using this feature you may not be able to access all the information that you need.
Using a VPN allows you to geo-spoof – that is, adopt a different IP address linked to a different location – and see SERPs from anywhere in the world. So, if you need to know what a Google search of your keyword looks like abroad, a VPN is vital.
As businesses now often rely on traffic from abroad, gathering reliable information about those markets is important. A VPN allows you to see how your site compares with others internationally and lets you see which keywords you rank for in which country
Another key aspect of geo-spoofing is that it allows you to effectively monitor the wider market and view SERPs exactly as your international consumers will. With access to genuine SERPs at home and abroad, you can plan your PPC strategies more effectively.
One of the most important aspects of any digital marketing project is keeping an eye on your competitor’s activity. Doing so helps you stay ahead and ensures that you keep tabs on your competitors’ marketing campaigns.
However, you may not want your competitors to know that you’re looking at their website. If you don’t have a VPN enabled, they’ll be able to see when you go on their site and which pages you access.
While you may not be doing so to steal their ideas, it’s important that your competitor research goes unnoticed. Using a VPN means that you can geo-spoof and appear to be linked to an IP address located anywhere in the world and therefore go unnoticed.
Digital marketing can be carried out from anywhere in the world and many freelancers now work from home. With the rise of remote work, however, there has been a significant growth in the associated risks.
Often you’ll find yourself working while connected to an unsecured public WiFi network. These networks are found in cafes, hotel lobbies and on public transport. However, despite the convenience of being able to stay connected wherever you go, there are some important drawbacks.
Public WiFi connections open you up to a whole host of cybersecurity issues. From Man-in-the-Middle (MITM) attacks to phishing scams, you’re never truly safe while using a public network.
Using a trusted and well-reviewed VPN service means that you can access all of your important documents without fear of intrusive hackers and malware as your data is encrypted and hidden.
Despite offering numerous advantages to those working in digital marketing, a VPN does not solve all of your problems. In fact, as a recent study showed, certain VPNs have poor privacy policies and are actually based in China, despite the official ban of VPNs there.
In particular, free VPN services may log your traffic. This essentially means that all of your internet traffic will be accessible to the VPN provider. In other words, you’re passing your data from your ISP to a VPN service whose intentions may not always be clear.
For that reason, it’s worth spending some time reviewing the different VPN services that are available to ensure that you choose a service that does not log your traffic. NordVPN and Private Internet Access are two VPN providers that consistently receive good feedback and have explicit zero log policies.
Conclusion – Include VPN in the digital marketing toolkit
A VPN can be a great addition to your traditional digital marketing toolkit. It helps improve your cyber security, allows you to see SERPs from around the world and enables you to monitor your competitors without being watched.
However, not all VPN services offer the same level of quality and security. In fact, some have been to found to have hidden ownership and provide poor privacy policies, so it’s essential that you spend time researching which provider will be right for you.
Sam Woodhams is a researcher at Top10VPN.