Businesses rely on relevant data, user information, and statistics to deliver custom-tailored services to clients. Gathering all this information is, however, not a walk in the park.
It’s not only time consuming but can also be costly. Here’s is where web scraping also comes in.
What Is Web Scraping?
This is a method of extracting data from select websites. Here, you will use a web data extractor tool, to extract all the data you may need.
During data scraping, the tool will first submit ‘GET’ query to the target website. After that, it will parse an HTML document from the results it has ‘scraped’ online.
From here, it will search for the data you’re looking for in the HTML document then convert it into a format which you can easily understand.
Is Web Scraping Illegal?
Now, web scraping is a rather common activity. Whenever scraping on a public domain, such scraping activities are fine, as the information is already available publicly on the internet.
It is, however, a resourceful activity which most companies have been using to develop content for their audiences.
Why Are Companies Performing Web Scraping?
Depending on the company’s preferences, there are plenty of reasons why a company may resort to this activity. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top use cases for web scraping in companies.
For easier and speedy innovations
Web Scraping makes it easy for companies to gather data for building databases. This makes it easy for management to make worthwhile decisions.
This is critical for businesses which are looking to introduce new products and also innovate quickly.
Ease of building automated sales machines
Long gone are the days when companies relied on billboards to advertise their products. Today, they rely on laser targeted approaches where they focus on specific audiences with their products.
Data scraping makes this process easy because it helps the companies gather relevant information e.g., email addresses for campaigns, etc.
It helps the companies with SEO
Search Engine Optimization is the fuel for any marketing campaign engines. With data scraping, it becomes easy for companies to find the keyword phrases and long-tail keywords which competitors rank for, and use them to rank themselves as well.
Also known as price scraping this activity also helps businesses to find the prices of competitors, so it’s easy for them to price their products, and services competitively to outsmart them.
Web scraping increases your accuracy in data extraction. It’s also fast and cost-effective.
Which Places Do Companies Scrape Data From?
There are a lot of real business example applications of web scraping. Some of the places where companies do web scraping include;
- Social media sites. To get user information for customizing products and services for them.
- Search engines. To find high-value keywords for their web contents
- Email addresses. For a lead generation.
- Competitor websites. To help with market analysis.
- E-Commerce websites. For monitoring competitor prices and to enhance the features of their products.
There are sites like Facebook, which uses robot files to block access to any crawlers. In such cases, the best way is to avoid web scraping the website or get written permission first.