Web Scraping: What Is It?

Web scraping automates the process of extracting data from multiple websites. The data may appear on the website in an unstructured HTML format. However, a web scraper can turn this data into a useful spreadsheet of information.

There is more than one way to perform the process of web scraping. For example, there are online services that you can pay for, there are APIs that you can use, or you can hire someone to develop custom web scraping software for your business.

APIs are common. Sites like Facebook, Google, or Twitter have plenty of data to share. However, there are many other websites that don’t provide APIs, and you need an alternative way to see the information that you require in a structured format. This is why a custom web scraping application is so crucial for your company. It performs web crawling work at first. Then the program extracts the data into different storage files that you can use to gain a competitive advantage.

Web scraping automates the process of extracting data from multiple websites. The data may appear on the website in an unstructured HTML format. However, a web scraper can turn this data into a useful spreadsheet of information.

Uses of Web Scraping:

You see, web scraping is really just a fancy way to talk about the extraction of useful information from the web. You can monitor prices, check the news for specific mentions, perform market research, and more!

We use this type of information every day to make business decisions, perhaps without even thinking about it. Maybe you have copied information from a website using ctrl+c and then pasted it into a document with ctrl+v. Then you have manually performed web scraping. Now multiply that process many times over, and you see how a web scraping application can simplify the process and help you to make good business decisions with a far greater range of data from sites across the web.

Why Is Web Scraping So Popular These Days?

Google trends reveal a massive increase in the volume of searches for web scraping. Why is this the case? Crawling the web for data can provide you with unpublished information. That gives you an immediate edge over a competitor who does not have the same data. Conversely, if your competitors are web scraping and you are not, you are falling behind.

The real power of web scraping can be transformative for a business. You can use it to be more productive, to make better business decisions, to provide better customer service for your clients, and in a host of other ways that can take your business from ordinary to extraordinary. See this article of: 

How Content Scraping Works?

Every web scraper is going to be a little different in function. Some operate in the cloud, while others function via a local computer. A web scraper can be custom developed to have a user-friendly interface, or it may have virtually no user interface (UI) at all. Therefore, you need to know what type of application is best for your company.

For most businesses, this means custom software development. You want a web scraper that uses an intuitive UI. Your users should be able to just click on the information they need and have the application extract it automatically. A web scraper that functions in the cloud is also likely to be the most beneficial. This allows the scraping to run in the background without using up the local computer’s system resources. Finally, you want the extracted data to be saved using MS SQL or MySQL. This gives you a viable way to view the information in a useful format.

In short, the application pulls data from multiple websites, stores it in your local database for easy querying, and creates a knowledge base for your company to use. You can apply the data to make decisions or in any other way you see fit. You can learn more in our article here: Screen scraping as a data retrieval app to maximize inventory control and profit margins.

3 Examples of Uses of Web Scraping:

Let’s take a closer look at three specific applications for this type of automated software:

  • Lead Generation – Data scraping is ideal for your brand’s marketing because it can be used to gather and store the contact details of potential future clients. You can grab this information from business listing sites like LinkedIn or the Yellow Pages. A web scraper can collect useful info such as: Website URLs, email addresses, phone numbers and other vital data that can be used for direct marketing.

  • Market Analysis and Price Comparisons – Web scraping is an easy way to keep track of your competitors, to shop for deals, to compare your process to the current market, or for many other eCommerce solutions. The scraping software can constantly track this information and provide you with a database to compare when making decisions or a way to alert you when something changes dramatically. For many potential clients it is crucial to always find the latest product names, part numbers, prices and quantities.

  • Analyzing Multiple Websites Simultaneously – Sometimes, you are just gathering information on a certain topic, industry, business sector, demographic, or the like. The websites may all display the information that you need in varying formats or on entirely different web pages. However, the scraper can put it all together in an easy to visualize manner by bringing the information together into one spreadsheet or database. Then you can run the reports you need from the data.

Custom Software Development Professional in NJ:

The Farber Consulting Group Inc. can customize a web scraping program to do the web crawling work that meets your brand’s specific needs. Contact us today at 732.536.4765 to learn more!

Additional Services that we Provide:

  • Remote DBA services for MS SQL or MySQL.
  • SQL Consulting.
  • Database optimization.
  • Database design for MySQL or MS SQL.
  • Convert your old desktop App into a web-based solution.
  • Web scraping services.