What Is Data Scraping?

What Is Data Scraping

If you were looking for viable ways to extract data from other websites, you’ve probably run into terms such as data scraping, web crawler, and web scraping. Many people use these terms interchangeably. However, it is a common mistake as these terms refer to similar yet completely different things.

Since data scraping can help you achieve a competitive advantage and propel your business to success, it is worth exploring. Here are a few facts about data crawling and scraping to help you better understand these processes and see how they can benefit your company.

The Concept Of Data Scraping

Data scraping is a concept as old as the IT sector. It encompasses a variety of practices but with the same goal – extract data from a target location. The location can be local such as a hard drive, database, USB thumb drive, or remote, such as a remote machine, server, and website.

Data scraping operations vary in scale and targeted data. For instance, one can scrap all the data found in a location. The more common use case is scraping only a pre-set type of data such as contact information, prices, and user comments and reviews. Now, since you understand the concept of data scraping, let us see how it fits into web crawling.

How Does It Fit Into The Concept Of Web Crawling?

Web crawling is a process of indexing information on the world wide web. A program responsible for carrying out this task is called a bot, spider, cawl agent, or web crawler. It takes the name after a spider able to crawl through each string in its carefully placed web.

A web crawler starts with a seed URL or several URLs. It can go from there and hit every link on its own while indexing the information found on these links. Every link leads to a different web page, and each page hosts a unique set of data. A web crawler retrieves this information down to the last letter.

This is where data scraping fits in the concept. Web crawling is data scraping at its largest possible scale – extract all available data at all the possible locations.

This process is the cornerstone of every popular search engine, including Google. It is the only way for a search engine to index everything online and know what to return to users when they type in the query and hit search. Data scraping performed online is called web scraping, and it usually targets a very specific data set found on specific online locations.

What Types Of Businesses And Organizations Can Benefit From Using It?

Data scraping comes with no limits in terms of the type of data, amount of data, and location. It can basically extract data from millions of online sources, making it a versatile tool for every B2B or B2C business of any scale and in any industry. It has dozens of use cases.

Let’s just go through a few for the sake of argument. For instance, data scraping can help you optimize prices to get a competitive advantage. You can instantly gauge your competitors’ prices for all listed products and services and monitor changes daily. You can also track promotions and discounts to discover what bears the most optimal results profit-wise.

Data scraping can help you better understand your target customers. It can extract thousands of customer reviews, complaints, pain points, needs, and expectations. You can use this information to deliver better products, optimize your marketing strategy, generate more leads, and capture more sales.

If you are looking for a new business partner, data scraping can help you identify the best possible one. Thanks to the most recent data, you can see the potential partners’ reputation and recommendations.

If you are interested in starting to use a web crawler for your business, we suggest you visit the Oxylabs website for more information.

Why Does It Pay Off To Invest In Them?

Data scraping or web scraping is an automated process that you can scale up or down and turn off or on whenever you want. You can use it to extract virtually any data found online. It doesn’t require investments in IT infrastructure or workforce on your part. These are critical factors to consider when investing in a tech-based process.

Now to the real benefits. Data scraping can help you identify and pursue many opportunities that would otherwise remain hidden in plain sight. You can gauge customer sentiment to fine-tune your offer and maximize sales.

Data scraping can help you extract data from consumer forums and social media platforms to complete your contact list and get in touch with highly-qualified leads. You can also use it to monitor prices or collect mass data to build reliable prediction models for market trends.

Conclusion

Web crawlers and data scraping are similar concepts. But, as you can see, data scraping refers to a more structured data extraction process. It provides insight into actionable data extracted from relevant online sources to help you increase profits, generate new leads, become more competitive, and enable your business to grow and expand.