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If you try to search for information online, say, “What are the cheapest hotels in London?” You would get over 1 billion results for this exact search query. Well, undoubtedly, it is impossible to process all of the information manually; you might end up with a brain aneurysm if you try to do it. Besides, the impossibility of compiling a large pool of data, you’re also at risk of making lots of errors, let alone the cost demands to execute such a task.
So the question is, “how do you collect, organize and manage data in large amounts to develop the best strategy and make informed decisions?” Web scraping has made it possible!
One popular automated web-scraping tool used widely today by individuals, businesses, and organizations is web automation – This software has many pre-built extractors that help you turn any website into a spreadsheet in minutes.
It is unarguably true that most businesses in today’s world cannot thrive without access to data. In fact, access to data is crucial to the success of most businesses in the modern world.
Unfortunately, most websites do not give permission to save their data to your local storage or your own website. This is where web scraping plays a huge role.
Web scraping finds application in several aspects of life, from eCommerce, marketing, real estate, travel and tourism, social media, sports analytics, to machine learning and research, amongst others.
What does web scraping mean?
Web scraping is an innovative technology that automates the process of collecting useful data from the internet, in any form. A web scraping software like web automation can crawl multiple pages within a website, automating the tedious process of copying and pasting researched data.
At the macro level, this technique collects data in large volumes using bots called spiders or crawlers. These bots parse through the source code of a website page and collect data according to preset parameters.
The scraper or data extractor extracts the data into a spreadsheet file where you can easily analyze to make the best decisions.
Applications of web scraping you probably didn’t know
You’re probably wondering, “In what areas can we apply web scraping?” Well, web scraping has a plethora of applications, and we shall discuss a few below:
Web scraping is a useful technique that can be used for generating leads for marketing. You can scrap and build a list of emails and phone numbers from relevant websites and use it for cold outreach.
For example, you can use web scrapers to get phone numbers and email addresses of contacts from Google Maps business listings or yellow pages websites.
You can use web scraping to periodically extract product data from various e-commerce websites. Web scraping software like WebAutomation.io has prebuilt extractors for over 400 websites, including Amazon, Ebay, Alibaba and other e-commerce sites.
You can use these web scrapers to get product details like price, images, description, ratings, reviews, etc.
If you’re a business owner dealing in products or services, you can use web scrapers to get comprehensive data of competitor products and services that are gaining popularity in the market daily.
Web scraping helps you keep a constant eye on the data of your competitors. This makes it easy for you to make informed decisions to stay ahead of the game.
You may be interested in analyzing information on a particular category; let’s assume automobiles, real estate, industrial equipment, clothing, business contacts, electronic gadgets, etc. Web scraping allows you to collect data from different websites, including the unstructured data forms.
The data may span across multiple pages under various sections of a website. Web scrapers help you extract all this data to a single spreadsheet or database to make it easy for you to analyze and make the best decision. You’d end up frustrated if you try to do this manually.
You can extract property details displayed on real estate websites like Zillow, Property24, Zoopla, etc. using web scrapers. These software can even help you scrape owners’ and agents’ contact details for easy reach.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization is a technique used to make a website rank higher on the search results page. You can use web scrapers to scrape the ranking of different company websites, including the keywords they are ranking for. Once you collect this information, you can use the top keywords to get your website higher on search results.
Remember, most people only show interest in the first few results on the first page of search engines. So if you want your business website to appear on the first page, web scraping is an efficient tool to help the process and make it easier.
Web scraping can help to scrape job-listing websites and platforms for job offers posted and the required qualifications.
Also, as a hiring company, you can use web scrapers like web automation to scrap several potential candidates’ submissions. This will help streamline your recruitment process to get only the qualified applicants.
Every business needs to have a good understanding of their market and who’s buying their products or services. Web scraping helps you to carry out good consumer analysis, including where they are from, what they do, their marital status, their age bracket, etc.
More so, using web scrapers allows you to scrape social media websites for publicly available data. You can get consumer sentiments by scraping review platforms. This way, you can learn about their complaints and their suggestions. All these help to give a deep insight into your consumers’ interest.
Other applications of web scrapers include:
- Scraping hotel/restaurants reviews and ratings
- Scraping hospital websites to build a catalog of physicians including their names, addresses, and phone numbers.
- Scraping articles from different article/PR websites
- Scraping data from posts and authors on forums and communities
By now, you should understand why most businesses and companies today are adopting this innovative tool – web scraping – which saves time, cost, and effort. You can now collect data from different websites and compile them in an easy-to-understand format to make smart decisions.
The beauty of it is that web-scraping software like Web Automation has pre-built extractors for over 400 businesses. You can scrape any kind of data within minutes; no programming required, no maintenance required and everything runs on the cloud.
Do not be left behind in your business dealings. Quit the obsolete process of copying and pasting and adopt the effective process of web scraping to position your business for the top.