Today, advanced web scraping solutions offer an unmatched level of utility that may not have been possible a few years back. For instance, using a web scraper API allows you to exploit the in-built power of artificial intelligence (AI) to facilitate successful data extraction. As the sophistication of such tools has increased, so too have their applications become more pronounced. This is especially so both within and without the business setup. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common applications of web scraping.
What Is Web Scraping?
Before detailing the applications/use cases, though, let’s discuss what web scraping is. Also referred to as web harvesting or web data extraction, web scraping is the process of automatically retrieving data from websites using pre-built tools such as the web scraper API or in-house applications/scripts. If you are interested in the practicalities, check out a company that helps with all things web scraping.
Though the term also refers to manual data extraction methods such as copying and pasting, that is not what this article shall focus its attention on. Instead, our use of the term web scraping shall solely relate to the automated approach, which is a multi-step process.
First, a user who is looking to extract data from a website keys in this site’s URL on the web scraper. Next, the web scraping solution sends requests to the website and subsequently parses the HTML code file sent by the server. Parsing is a data optimization process that organizes unstructured data for analysis. Finally, the web scraper saves the now organized data as a downloadable file.
Notably, web scraping offers numerous benefits. These include:
- High data accuracy
- Data optimization and management (organization)
- Fast and automated data extraction,
- Low maintenance costs
- Easy deployment and implementation
With these many advantages, it comes as no surprise that many people have found web scraping useful in various applications.
Most Common Use Cases Of Web Scraping
The most widespread applications of web scraping include:
- Lead generation for marketing
- Price comparison and monitoring
- Competitor monitoring
- Review and reputation tracking
- Market research
- Product research
- Academic research and journalism
- Search engine optimization (SERP scraping)
- Targeted advertising
Business owners can use A web scraper API or any other web scraping solution to extract contact information such as names, email addresses, postal addresses, and phone numbers from social media platforms and directory pages. With this data, you can commence marketing efforts.
However, it is always essential to avoid spamming users – ensure you have read anti-spam laws, if in the US or Canada, or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) if your business operates within the European Union.
Price Comparison & Monitoring
In the age of e-commerce, you can easily establish how much your competitors have priced your products. By scraping such sites, however, you can simplify this process. In fact, advanced tools such as the web scraper API are packed with features and capabilities to get around restrictions that would otherwise slow down or stop the data extraction altogether.
More and more companies establish and grow their online footprint. Thus, you can easily monitor your competitors in any sector by scraping websites. You can begin your data extraction by undertaking SERP scraping. SERP scraping, the process of retrieving data from search engine results pages, will help you identify all your competitors. You can then narrow down the scope of your data harvesting by targeting specific sites.
Review & Reputation Monitoring
Companies scrape news websites and social media platforms to establish what customers and news outlets have written about them as well as their products or services.
Web scraping offers an automated, cost-effective, and convenient route to gathering insightful data that can help a business maintain a competitive edge over competitors or enter a new market. For instance, companies can use web scrapers to collect insights on market trends, the number of competitors and their respective performance, and more.
Academic Research & Journalism
Scraping data from SERPs, where indexed publications such as books and research papers can be found, is a gateway to high-quality data for research projects.
Similarly, journalists can use a web scraper API or other reliable web scraping solution to scrape social media platforms to discover emerging news. As well, they can extract numerical data to generate info-graphics.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SERP scraping offers insight into the search engine optimization (SEO) strategies and keywords used by websites that rank high on search engines. Equipped with this data, businesses can develop better SEO strategies that will improve their sites’ ranking on SERPs.
The web scraper API also uses a proxy server to prevent IP blocking. The use of proxies also acts as a gateway to geo-restricted content. By collecting geo-blocked content, businesses can understand such markets more intimately. Accordingly, they can come up with marketing campaigns specifically meant for consumers within these locations.
Web scraping offers numerous benefits that influence its usage in various settings. Indeed, these use cases signal and represent the importance of web scraping.