Information is the most valuable thing in today's world and we need big data to get the information. Unfortunately, the data available for download on the web is not always sufficient for us. We obtain this data through the "data scraping" process. After the said data is extracted from the source, it becomes more analyzable to obtain much valuable information.
Data scraping is an extremely valuable tool for obtaining various important information about your competition in the market. In this article, we talked about what data scraping is, the stages of data scraping, the differences between these stages, the scraping process, data scraping methods, what can be done with data scraping, some pros and cons of data scraping.
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What is Data Scraping?
Another name for data scraping is web data scraping. In short, it is the name given to the process of extracting or "scraping" data from a website. Unlike the ordinary method of manually extracting data, data scraping uses intelligent automation to extract hundreds, thousands, millions, and even billions of data points from the seemingly endless edge of the internet world. Data scraping works for us in many different areas. Among the things we can do with data, scraping is price monitoring, outsourcing data for finance, sentiment analysis, and news and content tracking, which we'll cover in this article. Now, let's examine what is data scraping, which consists of two stages.
What are the Data Scraping Stages?
The data scraping process consists of a total of two stages. These stages are:
- Web Crawling: A web crawler, commonly referred to as a "spider", is a system that scans the internet and collects extensions to search for the content we are looking for. It can be artificial intelligence or a human being mentioned here.
- Web Scraping: Special tools designed to extract data accurately and quickly from any web page. Web scrapers vary widely in design and complexity, depending on the project.
See more about the differences between web scraping and web crawling!
Differences Between Web Scraping and Web Crawling
The concepts called web browsing and web scraping express different processes from each other. Basically, web browsing is a process performed by search engines such as Google, Yandex, Yahoo, and Bing that we use frequently in our daily life, or by tools that imitate the behavior of these search engines. Transactions are carried out through a browser called a "spider". Spiders can only act for a certain behavior, such as only audio files or only visuals. All links are found and fetched by scanning through a source extension. From the start extension, the scanning process navigates the domain frame and monitors the status of connections. Web scraping, on the other hand, can also accommodate crawling. The target extension is scanned for a specific purpose and is removed from the scanned page after the specified information is found. For example, we can think of price information, phone number, address, content, or part of the content. The mentioned process can be done through a mark such as location, tag, class, or id. On the other hand, scraping can only be performed based on the specified extensions, even without scanning. For this purpose, resources such as sitemap files, product XML, and RSS feeds can be used.
What are the Data Scraping Process and Data Scraping Methods?
We have seen the data scraping stages in two articles under the previous title. Now we will talk about the methods of data scraping and the data scraping process.
First of all, we need to determine which data we will get from which source, that is, we need to clarify. Then the experienced scraping team develops a scraper that is specific to your project to specifically target and extract the data you want from the websites you want. This first stage of the process is of great importance for the continuity of the process.
The targeted data is received in HTML format and then carefully parsed to extract the desired raw data from the surrounding noise. Depending on the project in question, the data can be as simple as a name and address in some cases, or it can be more complex data.
The data cleaned as a result of all these processes can optionally be stored in databases or CSV, JSON, or TSV files.
What Can Be Done With Data Scraping?
Through data scraping, many projects like these can be done and even added value to individuals and companies.
- Price Monitoring: It can be used in projects such as dynamic pricing, competitor analysis, and investment decision-making for your product or products by collecting data from different electronic commerce sites.
- Outsourcing Data for Finance: Social media data and outsourcing data that can be used in addition to financial risk reports of customers in the finance sector are also of great importance. It is very difficult to calculate credit risk, especially for an individual who has not been registered with banks before. Banks can try to predict whether the individual will be able to pay the loan by looking at the movements of the individual on social media, or they can do a psychology test from an external source.
- Sentiment Analysis: It is of great importance for your company to know how perception is formed about your company on social media platforms. You can actively increase your potential customer expectation and experience by constantly scraping and analyzing social media data by establishing a sentiment analysis model to learn how perception is formed.
- News and Content Monitoring: You can instantly follow what is said about your company, what kind of news is made about your company, not only on social media, but also on all existing media platforms, and you can take actions accordingly. You can clarify your decisions about what to do.
Some Pros of Web Scraping for Your Business
Here how web scraping can benefit your business:
- Competition Analysis: In today's world, almost everything goes on the internet, and today, countless products are sold on e-commerce platforms. In addition, the e-commerce industry has made a huge leap in the market over the past decade, making it much more difficult for entrepreneurs to stay in the market due to fierce competition between retailers. This is exactly where web scraping services can give your business a method of survival. Web scraping can serve your current business with the latest market and competitor data, and you can find out how your competitors are doing in the market.
- Price Optimization and Monitoring: Pricing policy is probably one of the most important strategies of the business. Estimating the price at which a product should be sold in the market is indeed a difficult task. The price of the product should be kept at a level that customers can buy at the same time and enable the organization to make a profit. Whether you buy a different product or a similar one, it can be quite difficult to find an affordable price. Using a web scraping organization will help you see the prices that competitors have set for the same product, and after analyzing the price tracking database, you can determine the optimal price for the product or service. In addition to all this, web scraping allows you to keep track of new product launches and promotional events promptly.
- Lead Generation: Lead generation helps an organization capitalize on leads, which can result in conversions to leads. Web scraping is generally used to attract leads and find marketing and sales solutions for the sales rep. It can scrape information from all sources and central points with high potential customer activity. Web scraping makes the whole process faster. And not only that, but it also provides high sales data accuracy.
- Equity and Financial Research: Web scraping is creating an explosion in today's investment world. Since important financial decisions can be made over time, it can automatically extract and present numerous financial data in a usable format. Talking more about data, web scraping can extract historical data even more effectively. Companies can use this data to feed machines for training modules.
- Product Optimization: While we socialize, we want to know other people's opinions about the product in question before purchasing. Because the review of a different customer than us can significantly affect our decision whether to buy that product or not. This is exactly why web browsing helps us collect customer feedback data for cross-review and make product improvements to meet your customer's expectations. Web scraping can automate the extraction process faster, and it saves a lot of effort and time for this type of work.
Some Cons of Web Scraping for Your Business
Websites regularly change their structure and browsers require maintenance. Your browsers can sometimes break as websites regularly change their HTML structure. Whether you're writing web scraping code or using web scraping software, there are regular maintenance requirements to keep your data collection lines clean and operational.
IP detection. Investing in proxies is a very smart move if you intend to crawl or data mining for a website. This is because if you want to crawl a large website, you have limited the possibility of your IP being banned to send enough daily HTTP requests using a Proxy.
Data is of particular importance to every business, and the points mentioned above are only a fraction of what web scraping can do for you. If you're keen to unleash the potential power of web scraping for your existing business, don't forget to visit scrape.do!