03 Mar What is web scraping?
Web scraping means, from a conceptual point of view, that you drive your business with data. A part of that is to extract data you find online, and this is where you apply web scraping.
This article aims to let you understand how web scraping works how you can use it, and presents use cases of how the technology has been used in different industries.
How do web scrapers work?
Let’s say that you run a Shopify site where you sell sneakers. Such products are highly competitive, and you need to set the right price and have the right product to succeed in your business.
So, You need marked intelligence. You need to know how your competitors are pricing their product, and you need to know the kind of product they stock.
One way of getting such information is to revisit competitor sites and note their prices and product range. Such tasks take time, can have an error, and the information will get outdated fast. So you would like to automate such tasks.
This is where web scraping becomes handy. You can set up automation can monitors your competitor’s site and collect price and product information on your behalf.
You would be able to extract the website content and import it into a data management format such as Excel and CSV. From there, your options are endless. This data can be imported into any business system, so you can work with it in a professional manner.
How did Web scraping all start?
Although many people consider it a completely new idea, web scraping is a history dating back to the beginnings of the Web.
Internet searches were even unaccessible. The Internet was merely an online database of files accessed by users through a centralized server that could be searched by users to access specific files.
Web crawlers and bots today have the task of analyzing and indexing all the data in an internet-based database; this is based on the Web crawler.
Web data extraction
From a more technical point of view, what you are doing when you perform web scraping is to extract data from websites.
You do this by looking at it systematically selecting the content on a site that you would like to use. Such content would normally be names, addresses, product names, descriptions. I all depend on what you are looking for.
How does web scraping work?
Web scraping usually involves three steps: web scraping seems good on paper and is actually complicated in practical use: Our code needs coding to acquire the information we want, and this privilege belongs to those who master the software.
Alternatively, web scrapers automate web data extraction. The Web scraper will read user input URLs and display all the web pages.
You can also download downloadable websites from your computer without having to code a single click. Alternatively, you can extract a post from Twitter.
Tell me the purpose of data scraping?
Often referred to as data scraping, web data can have many uses. A data scraping software tool allows users to quickly extract data from a website.
It also helps to ensure the extracted information has a logical structure and makes it easier and more efficient to analyze and use. Web data scrapers are often used to analyze competitor price data.
This allows brands to see what their competitors are selling and to, improve on their pricing and keep an eye on the market.
Is Web scraping legal?
The process of collecting data from a third-party website is not illegal, but how you manage the data you collect can be illegal. The rule of thumb is that you will not have the right to use personal information that is collected from social media sites without the person’s permission. It might also be illegal to sell data collected from websites. If this is the case, it depends on the type of data and the website you are looking at.
The basics of web scraping
It is very simple, in fact, and operates using a web searcher and a scraper. Web crawlers are horses, while scrapers are cars. The crawler guides the scrapers through a web-based database and collects the requested data. Learn how to use a web crawler & web scraper.
What kind of scraping tools are there?
Web scrapers vary significantly from one to another. This aspect is broken down into three categories in a simple fashion to simplify this. Of course, the comparison of websites has some complicated aspects involved.
- No-code: Many web scrapes are no-code or plugin basted. This makes it possible for non-developers to configure their own web scraping routines.
- Out of the box: This is the most user-friendly web scraper. They work as templates and are designed to extract data from specific websites. This makes it possible to get data just by clicking a button.
- Bespoke build: There are web scrapes that are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Most often, they are targeted at large e-commerce sites, where they are used to collect and monitor competitor information.
What are the tech used for?
You could probably imagine the various different uses for Web Scrapers at that time. Listed here is a list of common ones as well as several unique ones.
- Extract data
- Competitor Price Monitoring
- Monitoring MAP Compliance
- Fetching Images and Product Descriptions
- Monitoring Consumer Sentiment
We will now detail the most interesting usages of web scraping.
Industry statistics and insights
Several companies use Web scraping as part of their database-building efforts and gaining industry-specific insights from this. These companies can also give companies in that privileged industry information on the subject. Alternatively, an individual could gather and analyze tons of information regarding oil prices exported and imports to sell the information to oil companies around the world.
Real Estate Listing Scraping
Most real estate agencies use the Internet to build a database that includes available homes for sale or rent. In the example above a property agency scrapes MLS listings in order for a web application to display this data directly to the site. They can then serve as a property agent when they find it online. Most real estate websites generate listings automatically using the API.
Comparison Shopping Sites
Many websites and applications provide you with easy comparisons between different retail stores and similar products. This website uses websites scraper software that collects daily product information from all retail stores. They are able to provide the user with comparison information.
Aggregated News Articles
Many sites use web scraping to collect a new overview from a range of news websites. They ofter work as a portal that links to the news stories. So they use web scraping to get the headlines and news snippets from the articles.
Web scrapes are one of the oldest internet technologies, and they serve the universal purpose of collecting online data that needs to be managed by a business. As with other technologies, web scraping too has become more acceptable and is no longer just a tool for tech developers. Everyone can design and configure their own web scraper if they need one. So, there is no excuse for not getting started in this existing data collection field.