In the modern world, where competition is the order of the day, everyone is seeking ways to innovate and embrace the use of the newest technologies. Web scraping, also referred to as data scraping or web data extraction, offers a remedy to those looking to gain access to structured web data in an automated manner. This web data extraction technique is helpful if the public website you intend to obtain data from lacks API, or if it has, it provides only restricted access to the web content.
What Is Web Scraping?
Simply put, web scraping is the technique of extracting structured web data in an automated manner. Web scraping is mainly applied in cases such as lead generation, price monitoring, market research, news monitoring, price intelligence, and many more.
Generally, data scraping is extensively used by persons and enterprises seeking to use immense amounts of publicly available web information to make informed decisions.
Web scraping is often performed by a web scraper. Still, anyone who copies and pastes information from a website performs the same function, only that it is on a microscopic, manual scale. Unlike the monotonous, dull process of manually collecting data, web data extraction uses intelligent automation to fetch numerous data points from the internet’s seemingly infinite frontier.
Is Web Scraping Permitted?
Brief, the process of web scraping isn’t outlawed. However, various protocols need to be observed. Web data extraction becomes outlawed when data that is unavailable for the public gets extracted.
Lately, these cases have been on the rise due to the rapid growth of web scraping. This is evident by the significant increase in legal cases touching on web scraping being filled today.
How Does Web Scraping Work?
Virtually all web scrapers on the web today use intelligent bots to extract data from the target websites. These intelligent bots typically extract the HTML code of a website and then convert it into an easy format to use. That said, let’s look at how it works:
- First, send a GET request via an HTTP protocol to the website the scrapper is aiming at.
- The web server scrutinizes the request, and if not malicious, the scraper is then granted permission to read and retrieve the HTML code of the page.
- A web scrape finds the aimed elements and records these in the set variables.
That’s how it works in short, but you have to envision this basic process when coupled with thousands or millions of data points. It’s worth noting that the sophistication of data scrapers increases the prospects of massive data in addition to machine learning. Furthermore, with the trends of web pages becoming unpredictable, scrapers are compelled to stay put on the ever-changing times.
Key reasons on why you should use web scraping
Web scraping or data scraping can serve a wide array of purposes.
Both startups and growing businesses can significantly benefit from web scraping through access to a vast amount of web data.
That said, here are key reasons why you should web scraping for your immediate undertaking.
Technology Makes Extraction Of Data Pretty Easy
Technology makes it pretty more accessible for anyone to perform web scraping at a large scale without a hassle.
If you’re new to web scraping, there is a vast amount of content on the web to help you learn and master the concept of web data extraction.
Nowadays, websites are increasingly becoming complex to scrape, but with the help of advanced tools, you can scrape nearly anything.
Moreover, the application of bots is increasingly becoming a norm. It helps businesses to extract data at all scales.
Innovation at the Speed of Light
The beauty of crawling and scraping is that it enables companies to develop new products and innovate faster.
Data extraction enables the business to extract content from the competitors and compare various things, such as price.
The use cases are endless. And it really sets the bar far much higher in regards to innovation by making access to web data much easier for everyone. Web data extraction prompts you to boost your value proposition.
It makes innovation and execution of fresh ideas much faster.
Brand Monitoring for Everyone
Today, the rate of the brand monitoring market is growing at a rapid pace. We can all attest that checking customer reviews is increasingly becoming a norm when it comes to shopping online.
Customers are now more clever than before as they only purchase recommended products with the assurance that they are of the right quality.
Unfortunately, many companies don’t bother to check reviews and ratings. This is owed to the complexity involved in obtaining such information. There are several platforms collecting reviews and ratings that you need to fetch reviews from every website and, after that, aggregate them.
This can also help you monitor social platforms and integrate it with sentiment analysis to rapidly take on haters or give passionate users.
SEO Loves Data Extraction
If you’re passionate about SEO, you usually use tools like keywords finder or SEMrush. Without data extraction, this would not be possible. With such tools, you can swiftly get to learn of your SEO competitors for a specific search term.
You can quickly establish the keywords and title tags they are aiming at to hint at what is channeling traffic to their site.
If your website is crowded with content, you can think of executing a technical SEO analysis to detect broken links and confirm how your content is fairing across the whole website.
Machine Learning and Large Datasets
Suppose you have been required to come up with a model that will classify houses. In that case, the product owner expects you to apply deep learning since they assume that it’s an ideal option for such a use case.
Since this is not possible to do manually, you will need a considerable volume of datasets.
If you intend to predict the stock market, you will have to use web scraping.
Web data extraction is simply the easiest way to obtain data. By extracting a vast amount of data, you can assess and build predictive models that will be of considerable importance to your project.
As you can see, web scraping is very crucial in the modern world. All the benefits discussed above can be reaped by embracing this data extraction technique.