Introduction on web scraping
Web scraping or data extraction is a very common term nowadays simply because of it’s importance that led to a great attraction.
Large, medium and small companies around the world use it to acquire data that would help them make better business decisions and develop better simulation models. Not only that, individuals use it too. To get a set of data, a list of addresses, information from maps… you name it, if it is visible on a website on the internet, that information or file can be scraped one way or the other. So, what is web scraping? and why is it so important.
Understanding web scraping
Web scraping is the process of acquiring data from websites, web applications or APIs using specialized programming languages and software. In other words, automating the process of getting data from websites.
If you want to get data from a website but that specific website doesn’t provide an API that let’s you use the data, or if the API gives you limited access to the data, you simply scrape it.
Basically, web scraping allows you to turn any website into an API.
The importance of web scraping
Now that we understood what web scraping is, why is it that importance ?
To answer this question, let’s have a look on how we would get data otherwise.
Let’s say you want to get some data from an e-commerce website, and that the category you want have 1000 products and that you want to get all theirs images, titles, prices, comments… etc. Downloading each images and copy past each text would take forever, or you can make a script or hire a web scraper, that would scrape all desired information in minutes without failing.
Examples of web scraping
Now that we have a basic understanding on web scraping, let’s have a look at how it can be useful.
Extracting email address and lead generation
Emails are still an important asset to have even in the age of social media and content marketing. That’s why lead generation keeps growing and expanding.
Having a list of emails of clients or business of your niche would place you ahead of your competitors who don’t, simply because emails are regarded as a direct link between you and your clients that if exploited properly, would translate to more sales, conversion rate… you name it.
Extracting data from large e-commerce websites
Needless to say, e-commerce websites hold a lot of useful that one can benefit from in many ways.
Maybe you want a set of data of the same product from different sellers to compare the prices, or maybe you want a bot that monitors a specific product’s price for you. Or even extract a large set of data for a data analytics project. web scraping will provide that for you.
Scrape News websites
let’s say there are few News website that you check every morning, and you want to have maybe a file of the top 5 news of each website in your local computer, web scraping would do that for you.
Used by search engines
Search engines use it to crawl websites in order to index them and later show them to clients when searching for specific keywords.
Used by Price comparison websites
There are a lot of price comparison websites on the internet that have a lot of data about products and services that are up to date. How can they have so much data from different sources? The answer is simple, they are scraping each source in most cases, and using APIs in other, if found.
As one can immediately see, there are a lot of use case of web scraping.
Extracting data from websites is vital nowadays, whether to have an email list, to monitor prices, to get a quality list of data, web scraping is the answer for you.
Extracting data from the web is so important that entire businesses rely on it and even use t directly as a business.
Thank you for reading my post!