The SEO Proxy: What is it and Why Do You Need it?

An SEO proxy provides anonymity, speed, and reliability when doing large-scale SEO campaigns.

Also known as search engine proxies, SEO proxies are those intermediary servers that help you put on a mask when doing keyword research, competition research, web scraping, rank tracking, etc. 

In this post, we’ll go tell you everything you need to know about SEO proxies. How can you benefit from an SEO proxy? How can you use it? And how can you start?

What is a SEO proxy and why do you need one?

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Table of Contents. 

  1. The Proxy in the SEO world.
  2. SEO: Extraction and Automation.
  3. SEO White, Gray, and Black Hats
  4. Six Ways To Use A Proxy SEO
  5. SEO Proxies. Free or Paid?
  6. Final Words.

1. The Proxy in the SEO World.

Search engines provide online exposure, visibility, reputation, and traffic to any website. They give business owners a tremendous opportunity to improve customer acquisition. But search engines also bring new challenges to the market.

For example, Google, the largest search engine, with a staggering 92% search-engine market share globally, sets the “online marketing” game rules. When it comes to “Search,” no other company in the world will match what Google provides.

If marketers want to be on the map, they can’t ignore SEO— they need to feed search engines, especially Google. 

Anonymity is your best weapon and shield, to still play by the rules but move more freely.

What is the SEO Proxy?

When you are doing intensive SEO campaigns, with keyword research, competition research, rank tracking, etc., you will likely need to do a series of web scraping. Sending large, fast, and too many requests to a website or search engine to extract its data will likely result in getting your IP blacklisted.

SEO proxies are the intermediary servers between you and the target. An SEO proxy helps you anonymize your SEO research. With an SEO proxy, search engines and websites will not see your unique public IP; they will instead see several sources that look like regular visitors. 

Generally, proxies will improve the following in your SEO activities. 

  • Anonymity. 
  • Speed. 
  • Lower error rate. 
  • Reliability. 
The SEO proxy, network architecture.
Creative Commons Photo – By SEObility Wiki

2. SEO: Extraction and Automation. 

SEO is an essential component of today’s online marketing efforts. It ensures that your website is easily found through search engines and that your traffic improves organically (without using ads). Seeing the value in SEO, companies are putting more resources into their SEO monitoring and campaigns. 

Successful SEO campaigns require long term efforts on tasks like: 

  • Keyword Research
  • Website Audits and Optimization. 
  • Competition Research
  • SEO analysis
  • Link Building.
  • Track Rankings. 

The SEO Tools. 

Many intelligent services like Ahrefs, Moz, or Semrush provide unique SEO toolsets, including all (or most of) the services listed above. These services use a method called web crawling, which is also used by Google to index websites. Web crawling uses bots (or spiders) to crawl the web, extract copies of data, and index it. 

Web crawlers like GoogleBot and AhrefsBot crawl larger data sets; they go to the web’s deepest places and index what is relevant and safe. These bots (spiders) check the ROBOTS.txt file on each site and perform a “polite” crawling of data. 

Crawling data. Source:
Creative Commons Photo – By SEObility Wiki

Other SEO tools like ScrapeBox, XRumer, or Marketing Miner, have the same goal but use different automation and extraction techniques. These tools also parse the search engine’s results but include automation tasks that can give you more freedom. These tools can scrape data, structure it, and even automate things like opening accounts, comment posting, social media management, etc.

Scrapebox, for example, can harvest search engine data (URL harvester), scrape keywords, automatically post comments, check links, and even harvest proxies. Although Scrapebox could be used without proxies, its real power comes when you use multiple proxies. 

Proxy list in Scrapebox.
Photo by Scrapebox

3. SEO White, Gray, and Black Hats. 

As mentioned before, these tools could be used without a proxy SEO, but the real power comes when you use a pool of SEO proxy servers to scale your efforts and avoid any blacklists.

Some people consider SEO tools like ScrapeBox and XRumer, white-hat, others say they are black-hat, and another group calls them gray-hat SEO. That fact is that SEO tools, like these ones, are not illegal. XRumer, for example, simply posts messages created by users. If you stay within the search engine’s terms of service and only use these tools to improve your search engine ranking, you are a white hat SEO. 

The hat’s color really depends on how responsibly or how spammy you are using these tools. Search engines are the ones not happy when users abuse these tools. For example, if you are using shady or loud SEO practices that are against Google rules, you’ll end up (unintentionally) with penalties. 

White hat SEO vs Black Hat SEO. Source:
Creative Commons Photo – By SEObility Wiki

According to Neil Patel: “A black hat SEO strategy is just a good strategy gone wrong.” A black hat takes a white hat SEO strategy and extends it to dangerous levels. 

But still, there is another level— negative SEO attacks are the practice of (intentionally) hurting the online presence of others. These black-hat cheaters use spammy links, copy/paste attacks, hidden links, cloaking, adult-anchored links, or spammy content to point towards a target, intending to make Google think they bought fake backlinks and to lower their ranking. 

4. Six Ways To Use A Proxy SEO.

As mentioned earlier, web scraping is at the heart of any SEO investigation in large campaigns. With web scraping, you could automatically extract data from your competition’s website (or search engine). But using your public IP will likely end up with an IP ban. Your IP will be blocked by the target AND included in blacklists shared across anti-spam intelligence companies.  

With an SEO proxy, you can scale your SEO campaigns and remain completely anonymous. Proxies for SEO, like IPv6 proxies, keep your scraping activities hidden from search engines or competitor’s websites. 

How can you benefit from a Proxy SEO? 

a. Be Ahead of The SEO Game.

Be ahead of the SEO Game with the SEO proxy.

Knowing your competition’s SEO strategy and your position against that strategy will allow you to stay one step ahead of the game. It will help you get a better place in the SERP. 

A proxy SEO allows you to gather intelligence without disclosing your original IP. Take a pool of proxies and add them to your web scraping software, and you’ll be able to:

  • Harvest search engines and websites. Discover the keywords your competition uses to attract their audience and their backlinks. 
  • Rank trackings. You can also keep track of their (and your) rankings. Tracking rankings requires periodic data scraping from search engines, which is very risky if done from a single source IP.
  • Scrape meta description. Extract all relevant meta descriptions from a search engine scrape. 

The SEO proxies ensure that all this is conducted with full anonymity, speed, reliability, and without errors. 

b. Search In Other Markets. 

Search in other markets with the SEO proxy.

Search engine results are tailored based on IP geolocation. In other words, your search results are not the same as someone else’s results in a different country. The purpose of geo-tailoring Internet content to source traffic is often associated with language restrictions, market niches, copyrights, and even censorship. 

Search engines, websites, web apps, and cloud services use CDN (Content Delivery Networks), networks of servers deployed geographically closer to the end-user. Besides providing different results based on geography, CDNs also make things faster and more secure. 

An SEO proxy can be used to target a location. If placed after the CDN, it will bypass that geographic restriction. It grants you access to country-based specific markets. SEO-wise, it lets you test your website from that target location. It will get an idea of the results that someone in another region/country would get after looking for your specific brand or similar keywords.

SEO proxies will help you: 

  • Create localized content.
  • Optimize for specific markets.
  • Target SEO for each country.

c. How to Improve Website’s Load Time with an SEO Proxy?.

Improve website's load time with the SEO proxy.

CDNs improve the speed or website’s load time using the caching technique. This technique optimizes the page’s speed load time, which is a significant ranking factor for SEO. The SEO Proxy caching creates a copy of frequently accessed sites and stores them for faster access. 

Some proxies can be optimized as “cache proxies” and be strategically deployed closer to the end-user (or specific market). Your website files are stored “cached” on the proxies. Bringing your content closer to the end-user with a proxy’s help will ultimately increase the page’s load time. The content is cached on proxy at the first visit. After the first visit, the content is no longer downloaded from the end server but from the proxy cache.

Proxy caching: 

  • Reduces network traffic
  • Improves end-user responsiveness. 
  • Reduces network latency due to geography. 

d. Search for Backlink Opportunities (White and Gray Version).

Search for backlink opportunities with the SEO proxy.

Use a scraping tool to search for backlink opportunities. The SEO automation tool, Scrapebox, with a private proxies list, can help you find backlink opportunities, including other information like contact and social media profiles.

The gray hat SEO-version of these white-hat strategies? Building “shady” backlinks. 

Remember, gray hat (black) techniques are not recommended but are worth mentioning because your competition might be using it to gain rankings. Warning: using these techniques might get your site penalized. 

Web scraping bots are set to scan and collect data from sites with relevant niches. For example, ScrapeBox can help build backlinks by harvesting backlink opportunities (as the white-hat version). Once it finds them, you can use a commenter poster with embedded links to drop comments on websites. Again, rotating proxies will ensure IPs don’t get blacklisted or blocked when web scraping. 

e. Simulate Traffic (Gray-Hat Version).

Simulate traffic SEO proxy

Usually, a human visitor would find your site via organic search or through a guest blog post, click-through it, and spend some time at the website. The more this process repeats with different visitors, the higher search engines would rank your website.

This entire process could be simulated and anonymized to gain better ranking positions. The idea of using simulated traffic is an attempt to improve the dwell-time and click-through rate— which is key to SEO. 

  1. Build backlinks from authoritative sites. White-hat SEO technique that works but takes a longer time. 
  2. Send rotating proxies with web scripts (bots) to click-the-link and go to your site. 
  3. Clear the browsing cache and signatures of each proxy to avoid being identified. 
  4. Use rotating SEO proxies with new IP addresses for every request. Use these proxies to bypass geo-restrictions and get views from different global locations.

This technique is also considered a gray hat SEO practice. Learn from it, as your competition might also be using it to boost their ranking. But use it at your own risk. 

f. Improve Social Media Exposure with an SEO Proxy.

Improve social media exposure with an SEO proxy

Some marketing companies need to have access to and management of different social media accounts simultaneously. But social media sites log the identity (IP) and geo-location of each account to make sure the activity is coming from humans—not from bots. 

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter proxies help create, access, unblock, and manage multiple accounts. With a list of proxies for SEO, you can access an account for every single rotating IP. Bypassing these restrictions also allows you to monitor numerous ads from different accounts. If you want to take it to another level, a social media automation tool can do bulk posts, comments, shares, likes, etc. 

SEO proxies can help you improve social media exposure and ultimately drive more traffic to your site. 

Check our newest guide to learn how to scrape data from Twitter and Facebook in a legal, ethical, and efficient manner.

5. SEO Proxy. Free or Paid? 

As said before, if you use your own IP to scrape the web with tools like Scrapebox, your IP will eventually get into trouble. Whether you use your IP to scrape data from your website’s competition or search engines you’ll eventually get your IP blocked or blacklisted. — Proxies are the solution. 

But which one should you go for?

A free or paid proxy? 

a. Free Proxy.

Scrapebox comes with a Proxy Harvester, which allows you to find public proxies and use them for free. Obviously, free” proxies have a big benefit of being “on the house”; you pay nothing.  

These free proxies make money by showing you and the massive amount of other users, advertisements, AND even altering popular websites. Clearly, these free proxies will be crowded with users, making things a lot slower and more insecure. It is not uncommon to see public proxies exposing your private information. 

If you are really on a tight budget, then go for a free proxy.

b. Private Paid Proxy. 

Paid proxies on the other hand are much faster, reliable, and safer. When you need to send sensitive information across the SEO proxy, the service guarantees its safety. Additionally, these proxies come with support. The support team can help you set up and troubleshoot your SEO proxy. 

SEO optimization with SEO proxy

Final Words. 

An SEO proxy protects your IP from getting blocked or cloaked when doing large-scale SEO campaigns. An SEO proxy also provides the right speed and scalability. Without a proxy, scraping data would be too slow and risky. 

Pairing your SEO software, web scraping, and automation tool with your pool of proxies will ensure full anonymity, speed, and reliability when running your SEO campaigns.

About author Diego Asturias

Avatar for Diego Asturias

Diego Asturias is a tech journalist who translates complex tech jargon into engaging content. He has a degree in Internetworking Tech from Washington DC, US, and tech certifications from Cisco, McAfee, and Wireshark. He has hands-on experience working in Latin America, South Korea, and West Africa. He has been featured in SiliconANGLE Media, Cloudbric, Pcwdld, Hackernoon, ITT Systems, SecurityGladiators, Rapidseedbox, and more.

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