An SEOs Guide to Proxies – FAQ

(Special thanks to Insomniac of Digital Cyber Soft for posting most of the following in our forum):

What is a proxy?

In it’s simplest form a proxy is a relay for data between two computers. A proxy can be anonymous, or not anonymous (transparent). As with most things one proxy does not fit all situations, so you will have to find the most appropriate proxy to the task you wish to complete.

What does that have to do with SEO?

This completely depends on what you wish to accomplish. The two most common purposes for proxies in the SEO industry are firstly to spoof (or fake) your country of origin, and secondly to get around various filters imposed on you by various websites.

Why would I want to fake my country?

There are many reasons, not all of which are Black Hat. In the past I have had a Right Media rep tell me to use a proxy to test geotargetting (serving diferent ad or content to diferent regions). From a Black Hat perspective, you might wish to artificially make it appear you receive a higher percentage of U.S. traffic (or any other region for that matter).

Why do websites filter by IP usage? Don’t they wan’t the traffic?

Alot of websites offer some great services which are useful to everyone. However if their server load is too high their costs increase. Or they could be in a situation where the data they provide is valuable, so they only provide small ammounts of it at a time. Most sites which filter traffic do so on a per IP basis, and only rarely filter by C block’s (the last digits of an IP 192.68.0.XXX).

I get it, proxies give me more IP’s to abuse, but why would I care about being anonymous?

Apart from the obvious situation where the service you are accessing is copyright, there are plenty more reasons. For example, if you are creating multiple accounts on a service such as Digg, your IP you use makes it very easy for moderators to locate your fake accounts and remove them. However if each account has diferent details and no logical link between them then you are far less likely to lose your accounts all at once.

Sounds dodgy, are proxies legal?

This is a rather touchy subject, most free countries have no laws against using proxies aslong as you don’t have to bypass any security to use it. This means, if the proxy requires a username and password to access it then unless the proxy owner has given it to you, you are not legally allowed to use it. Thankfully, Black Hat SEO techniques do not include illegal activities, but if one were to step over that border then a proxy is a must.

Is it ok to transfer sensitive information over proxies?

Unless you own and run it, absolutely not. People have been known to setup Honeypot (system activity monitor) proxies to do jut that, steal information.

Wow, proxies are great, but where do they come from?

A large ammount of the time proxies are setup by accident. System administrators intend to set one up for their network and accidentally forget to deny external traffic. Certain types of proxies such as Socks (not made for the feet) are more commonly spread by viruses for email spam purposes.

Ok, I got myself some proxies, but they none of them seem to do anything, whats the deal?

Quite simply, most people who provide proxies do not test them properly first. Due to the nature of proxies they regularly go down, and run under some odd parameters.

Your average proxy list goes through one stage checking against what is called a “proxy judge”. However, due to the nature of checks in the average standalone software — it’s not always possible to detect whether a proxy is truly active or not. This leads to many false positives about whether the proxy is active and even about its’ anontmity.

The system we use to build the proxy list for goes through a considerable ammount of tests and frequent rechecks. The entire list of public proxies is rechecked roughly once every two hours. Access to the proxy list is a new benefit availabe to forum members.

A script to fetch the proxies has already been created and posted on the boards.

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3 Responses to “An SEOs Guide to Proxies – FAQ”

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  3. Burton says:

    I’ve been wondering about this. I have a client in NYC, and want to examine the competition. However, Google serves different content depending on Geolocation. Is there a good way to find proxies for specific geolocations?