If you have been paying attention to the news lately, you will have heard that online privacy is a greater concern for customers than ever before. The European Union passed a new set of regulations called the Global Data Protection Requirement to compel companies to prioritize customer privacy better. The United States and other countries are likely to have their own set of privacy regulations in the near future. Although the discussion usually focuses on consumer privacy concerns, privacy is something that bloggers should be aware of as well.
Are you paying enough attention to your online privacy? Here are some things that you might need to consider as a blogger.
Failing to protect your privacy could hurt your SEO rankings
It is important to be a little paranoid when you are trying to get your blog ranking in Google. Most bloggers understand the importance of being careful with their linkbuilding strategies and other SEO practices. However, few bloggers understand that failing to protect their online privacy could hurt their rankings as well.
How could online privacy be connected with SEO? One example is that if you have multiple websites that link to each other. Google might invalidate those links, because it believes your network of websites is part of a link building scheme. Google only wants to credit bloggers that earned links, so if you leave a large digital footprint then you could get penalized.
If you have multiple websites that link to each other, it’s a good idea to make sure that it is not obvious that you own all of them. This means that you might need to use a service like WhoIS Protect. It is also a good idea not connect all of your sites in Google Webmaster Tools.
Being lax with your online privacy could expose you to frivolous lawsuits
Alex Jones, the editor of InfoWars is facing a potentially devastating lawsuit for defamation. That comes with the territory when you are running a conspiracy theorist site.
However, even bloggers in less controversial niches run the risk of stepping on the wrong person‘s toes. The Digital Media Law Protect has a list of many of the lawsuits that were filed against bloggers. You might be trying to be as cautious as possible with the things you say online, but that does not mean that somebody won’t get offended and file a baseless lawsuit against you anyways. Even if you know that they don’t have a case, you would still need to pay for legal representation to get it dismissed in court.
This might be the most important reason that it is a good idea to protect your privacy as a blogger. It will always be possible for somebody to discover your true name if they are willing to put in enough effort and resources. However, most people will not go through all that trouble to learn your true identity to file a baseless lawsuit just out of spite.
You can probably avoid 90% of the pointless lawsuits people would have filed by simply protecting your real identity online.
You can avoid having to be the center of public attention when you go out in the world
Many bloggers enjoy the fact that their content can be seen by millions of people around the world. However, their lust for attention often dissipates when they go out into public. Few people enjoy having random people come up to them on the street to ask questions about their blog or express distaste for their content. Of course, this is generally a bigger concern with bloggers that have a massive online following. However, even smaller bloggers may have a wider following than they think.
If you try to protect your online privacy, you can avoid getting hassled the next time you go out to the grocery store. You also don’t have to worry about the things that you posted online being held against you during a job interview or other inopportune situation.
One of the best ways to protect your privacy as both a blogger, and as a site visitor, is to invest in a quality VPN service. You can learn more about how a VPN works, through the diagram below.
How Can You Protect Your Online Privacy?
There are a number of ways that you can protect your privacy online. Here are some ideas.
Use a VPN
Using a VPN is one of the most effective ways to protect your online privacy. Finding the best VPN for home use is not easy, Lucas Johnson of Privacy Australia admitted. “There are all kinds of bad actors offering the service these days,” he said. “More than a few don’t mind selling your data to the Dark Web or coughing it up to the first government agency that asks for it. Your best advice is to check a good review site and maybe a few forums. If a particular VPN plays loose with your data, run the other way.”
Use a Service Like WHOIsGuard
When you register a website domain, you are required to share your contact information. This is all publicly available. Fortunately, there are tools that you can use to protect it from prying eyes. WhoisGuard is one worth looking into.
Watch What You Post On Your Blog!
This sounds obvious, but you need to be careful about the things that you post on your blog. You need to be careful not to share too much identifying information that could leave you exposed.
Your Online Privacy Starts and Ends with You
As much as everyone would like to talk about privacy and how easy it is to start and track data online, your data ultimately starts and ends with you.
We all need to be aware of the sites we are visiting online, and how our information is getting shared with others.