Web Scraping 101: What Is It And Is It Useful To Your Business?

If you’re a business that seeks to maximize efficiency and profits, then you already know the importance of data-driven decisions for your business. Notably, making wise business decisions involving the least risk is crucial. However, data is also significantly beneficial for identifying trends, opportunities, and an overall understanding of your target market.

That said, the value of data isn’t new to businesses, especially well-established ones. They may observe their consumers’ behavior on their platforms, such as websites, to gather data. Another way companies collect data is by directly interviewing their consumers, sending surveys, and conducting focus group discussions.  

Given the power of data for business decision-making, you may seek more ways to collect data for your business. Fortunately, one great source of data you already have access to is the internet. Besides searching for data and reading studies online, you may also gather data from the internet through web scraping. To learn more about web scraping, here’s a guide on what it is, how it works, and how you might be able to use it for your business:

What Is Web Scraping?

Web scraping refers to utilizing bots to extract the data and content of websites and place them in a database. It’s a great way to collect data from the web and automate it.

Web scraping works by creating and programming web scrapers according to your needs and having them scan one or more websites for data. For instance, you may compare prices amongst various sites to get the pricing for a specific item if you scrape eBay.

If you have advanced scrapers, they will extract data on the surface level and may also search deeper into the website’s code. However, this depends on how much data they may gain access to.

If you’re interested in trying this, you may want to try some free web scraping tools before investing in more advanced web-scraping technology. It’s worth noting that if web scraping is done too extensively you might access and extract non-publicly available data.

How Businesses Can Use Web Scraping

You may wonder if this method and its technology are helpful for your business. As such, consider the following practical use cases of web scraping for your business:

  1. Marketing And Sales Research

First, you may use web scraping for marketing and sales research. Some of the notable examples are the gathering of product prices and data and creating lead generation. 

You may agree that to optimize sales and profit simultaneously, you need to price your products right. This is where you can use web scraping by a bot to find out how your competitors price their products. With this data, you can ensure that you’re selling your products for an affordable and competitive price while gaining profit. Alongside this, if your business is in e-commerce, you may need to list down the description and features of your products. You may use web scraping to gather this information from the numerous suppliers on the internet.

As for lead generation, you can gather contact information from public databases and listings. With this information collected, you can directly contact and market your products or services to them.

  • Brand Monitoring

Next, you may also use web scraping for brand monitoring. For instance, you can use it to better monitor consumer sentiment and look for counterfeits.

With web scraping, you can monitor consumer sentiment by scanning multiple websites for reviews and comments on your products and services.

Meanwhile, you can detect counterfeits in the same manner by scanning websites for products that may appear to sell your products but aren’t legitimate. You may also find retailers selling products like yours and committing copyright or trademark infringement.

  • Search Engine Optimization

Finally, you may use web scraping to enhance your search engine optimization or SEO. More specifically, you can use it to conduct SEO audits and research SEO-friendly keywords for your following content.

Various factors are considered when evaluating a website’s SEO, such as load speed, keywords, and broken links. Using web scrapers, you can test this as they load the website to collect information from them.

Furthermore, you can also scrape the ranking of your website and see how it ranks against your competitors when it comes to the keywords you’re using. 

 

3D Isometric Flat Vector Conceptual Illustration of Web Scraping, Automatic Network Content Collection

Conclusion

Businesses who wish to make the best decisions often use data to guide them. Because of this, companies are looking for more ways to collect data. Fortunately, you may use technology to improve this by web scraping, a method of extracting data from numerous websites on the internet. Hopefully, the guide above has helped you better grasp web scraping and how your business can use it.

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