What are the pros and cons of using a privacy-based search engine? Will it keep me safer? Save me time? Etc. Or should I not worry about it and forge ahead? There are a lot of questions and even some misconceptions about this subject, and the fact is that it can affect the overall internet if you use them.
Here are a few of the misconceptions of using a privacy search engine:
• It will keep you safer. False.
There are always internet risks, and it's important to remember that these search engines only cover up your search history. They do not nullify any malware that's alread out there.
• There's no other way to keep my info private. False.
By using Virtual Private Networks, or "VPN's", your IP address cannot be pinpointed.
• The search results are better: False.
Since these search engines do not track your search history, they cannot compile data on your internet use or even determine the best location for your results. In addition to that, these search engines did not reinvent the wheel. A search engine has to find results somehow to serve to people, and a lot of times, they are using data that is aggregated from other search engines online.
It's important to remember that the current internet is in place because of the way Google created a system that studies your search habits and history and serves YOU the best results it can for your query. Bing and Yahoo are the next two big players in the game but, the majority of searches online are through Google. Additionally, while these privacy search engines can keep you incognito at all times, they also block valuable user information for companies trying to best target potential customers. The coding used to track online visitors is commonly blocked with these kinds of search engines, and then prohibits honest, viable businesses from being able to reach their main audiences. In all my years of using this system, there has never been a time that I was able to obtain private information like names or addresses of people that visited the websites that we manage. It does not go to that level of depth but, rather keeps it more generalized with info like, age, gender, interests, and general area. There are deeper drill downs like what kind of device is being used to view a website but, never personal information attached to it.
The fact of the matter is, that once a person has ANY kind of digital footprint, you're on the grid. Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and many others all gather data on users. Yes, it's for the purpose of advertising but, the only true way to have no online identity whatsoever is to not be online. If you have a Facebook profile but, think that using duckduckgo will keep you hidden, that's not true.
Inception Designs has been using Search Engine Optimization for years in order to appeal to search engines in the serving of organic queries to those who are seeking products or services that they need. By trying to completely limit that will only limit the quality of search data. By all means, from time to time, if you are doing a sensitive search, these may be options for you and can be used on an as-needed basis but, we do not recommend using them exclusively. In order to keep yourself safe online, we recommend the following:
• Limit the amount of personal information you share online, mainly through social media.
• Make sure your settings for accounts are set to "private" so that your family pictures, etc. are not searchable.
• Do not download or click on any links that are unknown to you or have not been vetted by a reliable source.
• When transferring sensitive informaiton, do so under an encrypted connection.
If you need more help with your website's search engine optimization, please contact us
to set up a consultation. Thanks, for reading.