No matter what industry you’re working in, we can all agree that research takes hours. It’s time consuming, tedious, and leaves us with less time to do the things we need to get done.
What if there was an easier way to conduct research?
With web scraping, you just need to tell a bot what to do and where to find the information from. The bot will proceed to do all the leg work for you while you can get to work on your next deadline. Did we mention that the research would get done faster? The days of you spending hours on research are long gone. This article will explain exactly what web scraping is and how it can benefit your business.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping is a means of automating data extraction from the internet. It’s the use of software that has been programmed to mine data that can be helpful for your business. For example, you could get an accurate evaluation of the market price of a product since the bot will be able to traverse more sites than you would in a shorter period of time.
How a residential proxy will help you in web scraping.
When you use a bot for web scraping, servers on the other end of your connection will receive numerous requests from your bot since it’s trying to access various sites. This can lead to your IP address getting blocked or blacklisted.
This is why you’ll need a residential proxy to help you.
A residential proxy provides you with a virtually unlimited number of IP’s you can use. This means your bot can connect to as many sites as it wants to without fear of being blacklisted since it’ll be provided with a new IP address in each request. With Smartproxy, you get over 40 million IP’s with access to over 195 countries, so no one will even know your general location.
Another major issue that happens when bots are used is Captcha. When severs discover you’re visiting many sites at once, they might put up Captcha as a defence against bots. With Smartproxy’s residential proxy, you won’t face this issue.
What approach of web scraping should you use?
Static Web Scraping is ideal for web pages that don’t require much interaction. As soon as the homepage requires more information to be provided, static web scraping won’t cut it anymore.
Like static web scraping, Automated Browsing is also based on a programming language. In this case, the language used must support Selenium. You just need to automate everything you would do as a user browsing the web. The program will then mimic all of your actions to a T. For example, let’s say you’re collecting information on your competitors’ prices. You enter their URL into the search bar, search for the first product on your excel sheet, enter in the prices and proceed to the following product. The program will be able to execute all of these steps flawlessly in less time than it would have taken you to do it.
Application Programming Interface (API) is another popular web scraping method. This is when websites provide their own API’s for you to access their data. It requires little coding, making it easier to scrape their data. However, the range of data you can access might be limited since you’ll only be allowed to scrape the amount the homepage owner lets you.
How web scraping can benefit your business.
Firstly, web scraping is far more reliable than manual work. When something is done manually, there’s bound to be errors and it’s quite unlikely you would spot the issue right away. Automating the process provides you with peace of mind that it’ll collect the data as you instructed. If there are any errors, you can spot the mistake, fix the program and watch it churn out the correct data within minutes.
Secondly, web scraping is much more organised than manual work. The bot can be scheduled to mine the data regularly at a specific time and date, providing you with the most up to date data available. This would be much harder to do this manually since it would be an extra hassle to take care of.
Web scraping can be an incredible research tool for your business, regardless of what industry you’re in.
If you’re in the real estate business, web scraping could help you obtain property listings from different sites, helping you get a better picture of a house’s value. You can also use it to source more information on surrounding properties to understand the market better.
If you’re in the marketing and sales department, web scraping can help you gather more leads, analyse what people are interested in and mine customer ratings from different platforms. This will let you know precisely what your customers like and don’t like about your product, so you can pivot and make the necessary changes.
If you’re in the PR or Brand management sector of your workplace, web scraping can help you sieve out any negative press about your company on the internet. This will save you countless hours you would’ve otherwise spent combing through pages on Google. It’ll also help you spot any adverse developments early on, so you can deal with it before it worsens.
If you need to analyse your competitors, web scraping can help you determine the prices your competition is charging. It can even help you track any news on your competition, like when they’re planning to put their items on discount so that you can stay one step ahead.
Web scraping has the potential to improve your business activities drastically. When used correctly, it can replace a regular office worker in the realm of research. However, another party might still be necessary to ensure that the data collected is accurate and relevant.