Business promotion is getting harder and harder each year. As competition increases, customer acquisition costs rise due to the bidding model implemented by search engines and social networks for purchasing contextual ads.
As a result, only big companies have enough money to compete using these marketing channels. Smaller businesses have to find more affordable ways of getting new online customers. One of the best ways of approaching this task is search engine optimization (SEO). This tool can be very effective: if you manage to get your website to the top of Google search pages for relevant keywords, this will give you a traffic boost.
SEO is a whole industry nowadays, with lots of useful life hacks and mistakes to avoid to be found all over the internet, but today we are not going to talk about these things. Instead, we'll focus on any technical problems you might encounter and offer possible solutions.
Why do you need automation for business promotion?
Search engine optimization helps in multiple tasks:
- competitive intelligence – getting insights into your competitor's activities is often handy;
- website auditing – what keywords to use, and which type of content to publish on your site in order to get higher up the search rankings;
- link building – where to post links to your website and what competitors do in this area;
- geo-based analysis – if you run an international project, it is crucial to understand what your search results are in different regions and countries;
- and lots more.
To achieve success in these activities, you need automation. Often, this automation is achieved using a scraping technique. This is a process when you parse the target website's content automatically. Usually, the amount of data is so significant that collection is almost impossible to perform manually. Writing a simple script is much easier and more effective.
It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Not so fast.
What can go wrong
Let's suppose that you've decided to analyze the SEO of your competitor's website. For example, you collect information about keywords your competitor uses for promotion, as well as information about what pages are actively optimized for higher performance.
To do this, you need a scraping script. This scraper connects to the target website, goes through its pages, and downloads information about tags, keywords and headers used. This software can also analyze search engine results pages for these target keywords (including what positions this website has, what the meta description looks like, and so on.)
At this stage, you might find that the target website's owners, as well as the search engine, are not impressed with your activities. They do not want somebody parsing their website and content to find out how to beat them (the business) or use the data uncovered to get better results (the search engine). Both the website's owners and the search engine will try to block your bot.
Usually, this kind of software works using data center IP addresses without a big rotation (i.e., they are not regularly changed). Therefore, it is not that hard to detect and block a bot in such situations.
And mere blocking is a good result. It would be much worse if the competitor decides to trick you and feed the bot fake data. If you use the wrong information to fuel your business decisions, this could lead to mistakes and losses. Speaking specifically of SEO, if you implement a promotion strategy which is based on fake data, you will spend your marketing budget with no positive results.
How residential proxies are useful
Residential proxies can be a perfect solution for scraping-related problems. These proxies use IP addresses assigned to regular users (homeowners) by their ISP. These addresses are marked in regional internet registries (RIR). So, if you use a residential proxy, all requests sent from that particular IP will be indistinguishable from the ones submitted by regular users.
For websites and search engines, requests sent using these kinds of proxies look like legitimate connections made by potential customers and users. Thus, nobody blocks such connections.
Infatica’s rotating proxy service is used by companies who want to do the following:
- Obtain large amounts of data for tests and experiments – scraping bots can gather information on the specific website's SEO in different regions for different keywords.
- Perform competitive intelligence – analysis of the competitor's activities is one of the most popular use cases for residential proxies.
- Perform a geo-based SEO audit – international companies often use residential proxies to scrape data about SEO performance in different regions without the risk of being banned by search engines. The Infatica platform provides IP addresses from more than 100 countries and territories.