Wouldn’t it be great if you could gather large amounts of data that correlate with your business goals? Then you could analyze the data in order to optimize your business to improve its performance. Well, with web scraping, you can do exactly that – and more, even things like compiling databases of images, videos, or just text that’s related to your organization’s subject of interest.
One of the most common methods of this procedure is python web scraping, which we’ll be touching upon below. We’ll also explain how it works, why it can be beneficial to your overall business performance, and how using proxies can improve the entire process.
Web Scraping Technique Explained
There are a few different approaches to web scraping, and we are going to go through them and explain what makes them unique. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but which one you choose wholly depends on your available resources and what you want to achieve.
Manual scraping is the simplest of the techniques listed here as all you need is a spreadsheet and some people that can literally copy and paste information from the web into it. The pros here are that you won’t be getting any rogue data that a program picked up by accident, as it will all be filtered by the humans that are capable of deducing if the data is useful or not. It’s also not likely that they will be picked up by any websites’ security measures that try to block scraping.
It seems like a great solution, but the only reason why they won’t be noticed is simply that the process is too slow to be registered by security measures. Because it’s compiled this way, the process of getting a reliable database can be very lengthy and uses up a significant part of your workforce.
On the other hand, there are programs and applications which automate and simplify this process. Techniques like python web scraping can speed up the process by quite a margin, allowing more data to be compiled in a shorter amount of time.
The only downside is that you would need to get somebody trained to set the search and data compilation parameters. However, modern applications and programs have friendly user interfaces and offer training, making your crew’s specialization a much easier process than preparing them to do it manually. If you want to build a web scraper, then learn more about Python web scraping in this step-by-step tutorial.
How Scraping Works
You were probably able to gather the general concept of web scraping from the entries above, but to make sure, we’ll go over it again. The essence of it is that data from the web is collected in a clear and easy to use manner, whether manually or automatically. The goal is to ultimately create a database that the organization can use to improve business performance and create an edge over the competition.
Proxies Can Improve Scraping
This entire process can be greatly enhanced by using proxies, which are essentially 3rd party servers through which you can send the requests to the websites you are targeting and do your web scraping without getting caught by their security measures. Not only is doing this with a proxy more reliable, but it also lets you make more requests to the website without being banned from it.
There is also one more important feature when it comes to proxies; it allows you to choose the geographical region from which you connect when extracting data. This can be an amazing advantage if you are scraping data from online retailers that use geo-location to display localized content.
Benefits of Scraping
So, why would you go through all this just to get some data in some spreadsheets? By analyzing the information, you can gain insight into the online market for your business or your competition and find out what kinds of marketing approaches are currently efficient and many other things depending on what data you are targeting.
The main areas where web scraping can be beneficial for businesses are these:
- Market research
- Sales intelligence
- SEO monitoring
- Price monitoring
- Email protection
- Ad verification
That’s pretty much everything you need to know to understand the basics of what web scraping is. It’s slowly becoming a new standard in data compilation and analysis, and it can be used for a variety of end-goals that you want to set your company on the road to achieving.
Combined with proxies, it’s one of the most reliable ways to compile huge amounts of data on a chosen subject. It should also be mentioned that although there are plenty of free proxies available out there, they are far from the reliability of a premium proxy.