What Is Web Scraping and Are There Benefits?

Have you heard of web scraping before? What about data parsing? Have you been wondering what benefits it could have for you or your business? By implementing web scraping or harvesting techniques, you can gather a lot of information and data about numerous topics and markets. This information can then benefit certain companies and help you see business opportunities in the market. It can be especially useful if you want to start an aggregator business.

There are a few things you will need to know before you can start web scraping. In this article, we will be examining how web scraping can work and the benefits it has for your business.

What Is Web Scraping?

Source: import.io

Do not confuse web scraping with web crawling or data parsing as these are slightly different. Web scraping is the process of collecting information across the web. This means scouring web pages and extracting the data into a different format, such as Excel, to then be analyzed and acted upon. Now, web crawling is the practice of indexing data on web pages by means of a software or programmed script. Data parsing is a part of the web scraping process, it turns raw data and information into a format that can be read and understood. For now, we’ll focus on web scraping, but if you’re curious to know more about data parsing, visit Smartproxy.

Although it is possible to manually scrape the web, this is not always very effective and is time-consuming. Most web scrapers use a combination of software to scrape the web. It is recommended to use a web harvesting tool such as Parsehub, Octoparse, or similar tools along with a residential proxy from your preferred proxy provider if you intend to start web harvesting.

Using a web scraping tool makes it possible to automatically scrape a lot of data in a short amount of time. At the same time, the residential proxy helps to protect you by concealing your IP address, among other things.

Why Would a Company Use Web Scraping?

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Web harvesting is very useful for marketing and financial analysis, as well as for a few other sectors. When it comes to marketing, it is sometimes hard to outrank your competitors. You can use web scraping to gather data on the top search results for your industry, as well as topics and even meta details. This can help you identify how to improve your content to rank first in your industry.

You can also use web scraping to monitor your brand. It can become very exhausting searching the web for any mention of your business, good or bad, but with web scraping, you can have this information quickly so that you can respond fast.

Web harvesting can also help you with your price intelligence as you can scrape the information of what similar products cost across many different websites to ensure that your price is fair and competitive.

Web harvesting identifies the best-selling products on the web. By scraping product lists and categories, you can easily see which products are selling the best so that you can more actively market that product while it’s in demand. This can also be useful to help make product acquisition decisions.

These are just a few of the ways that web scraping can be useful for any business. However, web harvesting can be used to collect any data that you could use to improve your business offerings, sales, and marketing. This can be especially useful to those starting an aggregator business where you have to make sales on behalf of a third party, such as Airbnb or Uber Eats.

How Does Web Scraping Work?

Source: learnworthy.net

We will not be covering manual web scraping as it just isn’t worth your time and energy. However, if you use the software and tools recommended, web scraping (or web harvesting as it is sometimes called) can become easy to do and doesn’t take a lot of time. You will first need to have a residential proxy set up.

Next, choose which web harvesting tool you would like to use. There are a few free and paid-for options that you can look at depending on your needs and the scale you will be scraping at. Free ones can work very well if you’re only scraping a bit of data every now and again. However, if you have to scrape a lot of data from different sources and use it often, we recommend looking at a paid solution.

Open your web scraping tool and set up the scraper by putting in the type of data you want, and if necessary, the websites to be searched. Also, remember to connect your scraping tool to your proxy so that it hides your IP address and keeps you safe from any prying eyes or malicious intent.

Once everything has been set up and connected to the proxy, you can let the tool run. The software will do all the work, and you just wait for the data.

Final Thoughts

Web scraping may seem like a complex process. But if you use a few simple tools and understand the basics of what data you need, it can be a valuable asset to your business. It can provide insights into pricing, marketing, trends, and much more.