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Is Web Scraping Important for Your Business?


    Web Scraping

    The internet is an abundant source of data, with more information coming by the minute. The web is home to millions of web pages that store so much data that it’s easy to lose count. 

    Since businesses need data to maintain daily operations, respond to consumer demand, and get ahead of the competition, data harvesting techniques have become highly sought-after solutions in the modern-day digital business landscape. 

    Web scraping is among the most effective automated data collection methods for gathering information from multiple data sources while overcoming challenges and mitigating costs. Today, we’ll delve deeper into web scraping, its features, challenges, and use cases.

    What is web scraping?

    Web scraping is a data-gathering method that uses the power of automation to browse multiple data sources across the web, identify top-grade data, and collect it for exportation in preferred formats. 

    Regular and corporate internet users can tap into various web scraping tools, called scraping bots, to gather accurate, up-to-date information from top-ranked websites and store it in a desired file structure and format.

    Web scrapers allow you to target the websites in your business niche, but they also give you access to global marketplaces, industries, and beyond. 

    Since there are numerous data scraping tools, you can decide how to gather and process the extracted information. All these qualities make web scraping virtually irreplaceable for businesses. 

    Web scraping features

    Web scraping tools provide numerous features and are vital to ensuring business growth by monitoring competition and having accurate information for fueling decision-making. 

    The most important features may include the following:

    Automatic data collection – save time, effort, and resources by automating the data collection process and effectively extracting data from multiple sources; 

    Speed – the copy-paste feature is paramount to saving time while collecting data from websites and eliminating human error;

    Bypassing geo-restrictions – most data sources restrict access to content in specific regions. Web scrapers can bypass those restrictions and unlock the content you need regardless of the location;

    Cost-efficiency – since scrapers are incredibly efficient in performing their data extraction activities, you can save resources on acquiring data and use them elsewhere;

    Reliability – scraping tools allow you to organize data according to your needs while eliminating outdated, incomplete, and incorrect information.

    Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the differences between scraping and crawling.

    Web crawling vs web scraping 

    Web crawling is the process of browsing the web to target web pages, view their content, and index it. Web crawlers do almost the same work as your regular search engines. They crawl a website and explore every link and every page to find the required information. 

    Online website aggregators, statistical agencies, and search engines like Yahoo, Bing, and Google use crawling bots to keep their content up to date and gather generic data. 

    On the other hand, scraping bots focus on specific data sets. They identify, locate, and extract data from target web pages for analysis, verification, and comparison. 

    Crawlers fetch you lists of URLs while scraping bots encompass a broader scope of extracted data:

    Stock and product price;

    Social media engagement metrics such as shares, likes, and views;

    Customer reviews and testimonials;

    Competitor product ratings;

    Industry ad-related visuals;

    Search engine results and queries.

    In a web crawling vs web scraping situation, choosing between the two depends on how detailed or specific you want your data to be.

    Oxylabs wrote a blog post covering the topic of web crawling vs web scraping – check it out for even more detailed explanation. 

    Top web scraping use cases

    Here are the most popular web scraping use cases that businesses leverage to achieve their goals.

    ✔️ Research

    Business organizations need data for various research projects to stay competitive, get ahead of the latest marketing trends, monitor the competition, understand the target audience, etc. The digital business landscape is prone to constant changes, and trends tend to come and go rapidly. 

    Since flexibility and scalability pose the biggest challenges to staying ahead of the curve, companies must constantly feed their data pipelines with the latest information. Web scraping is the most effective way to do it. 

    For example, web scraping can help an organization understand how their competitors utilize their budgets, the technologies they use, the markets where they promote their products, etc. 

    Business owners use web scraping for the e-commerce market and search media research to collect pricing data, information from retail platforms, statistics, and metrics for ensuring business growth.

    ✔️ Lead generation

    Since web scraping gives you access to data on social media platforms, industrial forums, business-related blogs, and online websites, you can utilize scraping bots to learn more about your target audience. 

    The extracted data from these sources can help you tap into your customers’ purchasing preferences and buying behaviors to hone in on an ideal buyer persona. In addition, you can customize your communication approach according to your customers’ personal preferences to ensure improved engagement. 

    ✔️ Search engine optimization (SEO)

    Scraping bots are the most effective tools for collecting SEO metrics, such as keywords, phrases, and backlinks, to improve your brand’s ranking in the search page results on the internet’s largest search engines, such as Google. The higher the SEO ranking, the more exposure, and traffic you get.


    Web scraping is the ultimate data harvesting technique that gives you virtually unlimited access to top-grade information sources on the web. You can use scraping bots to obtain accurate and up-to-date data to improve your products, implement more competitive pricing strategies, and establish an authoritative brand presence in your market and beyond. 

    With web scraping, no website will be out of your reach, and you’ll always have fresh data for your decision-makers.

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