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Are Proxies Worth The Investment? Proxies take some time to master, but once you do, you will improve several key business operations.

By Under30CEO Edited by Mark Klekas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

E-commerce is quickly expanding, with 20% of global sales predicted to happen online in 2023. Each new technological advancement opens new opportunities to improve marketing strategies and reach more consumers, often without the need to invest heavily.

The downturn is that online markets are very competitive, and 80-90% of new e-commerce businesses fail, according to a 2019 Startup Genome report. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't utilize Internet technologies to drive more revenue. It's essential to come well-prepared, and proxy technology is one way of doing so.

What are proxies?

A proxy is a device that stands as an intermediary between the user and the Internet (or between a server and client in technical terms). All online traffic is rerouted through an additional proxy, which takes over online communication.

Related: Concerned About Privacy on the Internet? Here's How to Avoid a Digital Trail

Although the concept is straightforward enough, the scope of possibilities is much greater than expected. That's because proxies obfuscate the user's original IP address — imagine it as a 'home address' for computers.

It protects users' online privacy by neutralizing various IP tracking methods. The proxy IP address is used to communicate with servers, so online activities cannot be traced back to the users. Relating to business operations, it provides much-needed privacy for sensitive operations like competition monitoring. However, it's crucial to pick secure proxies because leaking IP addresses could expose data you wouldn't want your competitors to know.

But proxies offer much more than just security. Here's how you can use them for business growth.

Data scraping

One of the most significant changes the internet introduced is the vast amount of accessible information. What had to be done manually back in the day and often required lengthy business trips now can be done within a few hours without leaving the office, if you know how.

Related: The Technologies Consumers Can Use to Combat Fraud

Accessing online information sounds easy, however, not as easy in practice, especially when you require lots of it, like big data analysis. Businesses don't willingly share their information.

One way or another, businesses try to limit access to information, whether private or public. They deny access to data if they notice multiple requests coming from the same IP address, and soon you can't browse their websites from the company's network. Instead of using your unique IP address, you can use multiple proxies to target websites without revealing your identity.

Residential proxies are the best for data scraping because they come from genuine users with physical devices instead of IP farms. They are nearly undetectable and have the highest success rate. However, if your scraping operations do not require secrecy, you can use data center proxies that are much more affordable.

Grounding business decisions on factual and verifiable data is called Data Driven Decision making, and numerous pieces of research outline its benefits.

SEO

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the best channels to drive organic traffic to your website.

To rank well, you need to optimize your content with relevant keywords, which is what SEO specialists do. Furthermore, using keywords relevant to particular geographical locations is crucial because they have significantly different volumes. That's where proxies come in.

Related: 7 Compelling Reasons Why You Need to Hire An SEO Expert for Your Business

You can connect to a proxy server in a chosen country to browse the internet as if you were there. You can inspect what people are Googling and what phrases they use and include them on your website. Google will notice that your page answers specific queries and will suggest it to Internet users.

Lastly, you can combine web scraping and SEO. You can target your competitors to extract their keywords and modify the SEO strategy accordingly via proxies. In the current e-commerce state, nearly all businesses monitor competitors' keywords, making proxies an extremely popular technology.

Worldwide data access

The internet is divided into regions with different access privileges. For example, some US websites are unavailable for European users due to GDPR laws. Sometimes it restricts access to essential information like prices, product release dates, user reviews, etc.

You can bypass geographical restrictions by connecting to a proxy in a different country. For SEO keyword gathering, you will receive a local IP address, and websites will think you're in proximity. People also widely use proxies to unlock more streaming content, like worldwide Netflix or HBO libraries, if you require some quality downtime after a hard work day.

There are more proxy use cases, like corporate network security, website access control, data caching, and such. However, we outlined the three most important practices for business growth. Proxies take some time to master, but once you do, you will improve several key business operations.

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