Web Scraping deals with the extraction of specific data from a website. Though web scraping can be done manually, it is usually carried out using a bot or web crawler to fetch the information, export it and present it to the user in a format that is easier to digest and manage, whether it’s in a spreadsheet or an API.
There are two parts to this process, fetching and extracting. Fetching refers to the downloading of a page (this is what a browser does when a user visits a page). Once the specific page is fetched, extraction can begin and may involve the parsing, reformatting and copying of data into a database. The extraction is typically done based on the structure of the webpage.
Web scrapers usually keep certain data in order for it to be used for another purpose. For example: extracting emails, phone numbers, names and URLs into a contact’s list for marketing initiatives.
Nowadays, there are a few methods people use to prevent their websites from being scraped by disallowing chatbots from viewing their pages. How do people get around this? By using advanced web scraping systems that use natural language processing and parsing to mimic human browsing in order not be associated with an automated process.
There are many reasons as to why people use web scraping, such as:
Price intelligence is one of the most used cases for web scraping. Organizations employ this system in order to extract product and pricing information and using it to make better pricing decisions based on this data.
People use web scraping systems in order to gather accurate information on which to base their market research off of. Web scrapers are particularly handy when wanting to track the latest trends within your field and fuel business intelligence and market analysis initiatives.
The real estate arena has transformed itself over the past twenty years, with new players threatening the existence of traditional firms. Now, with techniques such as web scraping, real estate agents and brokers are able to protect themselves against competition by making more informed decisions based on up-to-date data.
Generating leads is a crucial aspect of every marketing and sales team, and sometimes, also one of the most challenging activities to execute. Nevertheless, with web scraping techniques, data can easily be extracted and compiled in an easily digestible database to be analysed and used for lead generation initiatives.