Web scraping that is also called web data extraction or data scraping, helps us in accessing the structured web data with the help of intelligence automation methods.
In this article, we are providing a complete guide to web scraping for 2023.
Web scraping is a method of extracting structured web data in a spreadsheet or a database from an unstructured data of HTML format.
In other words a process of obtaining information from the websites that are publicly available and use it to upgrade the present status of your business.
In our day to day life we often perform web scraping when we are gathering information from the websites and storing that information but we are doing that on a very small level.
Web scraping needs two parts: a web crawler and a web scraper.
Web crawlers also called as spiders or search engine bots browse the web pages for indexing content from all over the internet by following links so that it can provide the relevant information as per the needs and queries of the users.
Web crawlers are mainly used by major search engines like google, yahoo, Bing etc
Web scraper is a tool specially designed for extracting specific and targeted data from websites. With flexible design, a web scraper can extract the data accurately and quickly depending on the complexity of the project.
While web scraping, a web scraper needs the URL to load the entire HTML code of websites and sometimes CSS and java script elements as well to save the data in the form of CSV file, excel spreadsheet and JSON file.
Web scrapers are divided depending on the work they do.
Self built scrapers can be designed with the help of advanced programming knowledge as per the requirements of features.
Pre-built scrapers are already designed scrapers that are available for downloads and can be run easily on your computer. Pre-built scrapers have the features where you can customize them according to your needs.
Browser extension web scrapers are extensions that can be run by adding in a browser as they are merged on your browser. But it is limited to some features only and more advanced features can not be run on a browser.
Software web scrapers can be downloaded and installed on your computer with no limitations as they are more complex than browser web scrapers and able to run advanced features as well.
Cloud web scrapers are provided by the company you buy scrapers from and run on browsers in the cloud.
Local web scrapers can be run on your computer using local resources.
What is web scraping used for?
Web scraping can be used for different purposes accordingly.
Price monitoring can be used for analyzing and extracting price information for your company and the competing companies as well. It also helps in adjusting your prices based on the rules you set.
Market research can be used for collecting marketing data that may improve the marketing strategies of your company after analyzing the consumers trends and market insights.
News and content monitoring can be used for obtaining detailed reports on current and historical news to analyze the productive moves and mistakes of a company. Newsdata.io is a great tool to extract news data from the web.
Sentiment analysis is a great way to collect data regarding the general sentiments your consumers show on your products and it can be done with the help of social media such as Facebook and twitter.
Email marketing can be used for sending promotional and marketing emails by collecting email accounts from different sites.
Alternative data for finance can be used in extracting customer sentiments, estimating company’s fundamentals, news monitoring and analyzing credit card or email transactions.
Real estate includes collected data of properties and consumers to analyze consumer needs, available estates, monitor vacancy rates, estimate rental yields and property value. You can scrape Zillow, idealista and many more real estate websites
Lead generation is an important step for making more money and chances for your business as it shows the amount of people showing interest in your product.
Brand monitoring allows you to observe the data related to your brand that is available on the internet including global and local news, e-commerce and review platforms, social media, and more.
Business automation is a perfect way to grow your business by analyzing a large volume of data that includes the launch of a new project, new business strategies and streamlining operations across all areas of an organization.
Map monitoring ( Minimum advertised price ) is the process of identifying if the online price of your products and services are aligned with your pricing policy or not.
Is web scraping legal or not?
Performing web scraping is not a criminal offense as long as it is not violating the laws and regulations of a particular place. The legality of web scraping depends on various factors – what ways are you using to obtain the data from the websites? What kind of data are you scraping? How do you use the extracted data? Is there any violation of ‘terms & conditions’ guidelines?
Here are some regulations regarding unauthorized web scraping:
- Violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)
- Breach of Contract
- Copyright Infringement
- Violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)
- Trespassing, etc.
The best web scraping tools
Web scraping API tools are specially developed software to extract useful information from websites. These tools allow the user to collect information as per the needs.
Here is an organized list of top web scraping API tools that includes commercial and open source tools with popular features.
- Newsdata.io is a News API and a great tool to extract news data from the web. They offer a huge amount of news data that we can access in its news API. For queries and customer support you can contact them here.
- Bright data is a great tool and a cost effective way that provides the structured data converted from unstructured data to its customers.
- Scrapingbee is a web scraping API that also provides a dedicated API for Google search scraping.
- Scraping-bot is a great tool to extract structured data from a URL.
- Scraper api is an effective tool to get HTML from any web page and it also helps you in managing proxy, browser, and CAPTCHA.
Below we have a list of many other great tools or web scraping API for web scraping.
- Dexi intelligent
- Parese hub
- Data streamer
- Data miner chrome extension
Python as a best programming language for web scraping
If we are searching for an ideal programming language for data scraping from the websites, we should keep these things in mind.
- Operational ability to feed database
- Crawling efficiency
- Ease of coding
Python is known as the best web scraping or data scraping language. Most of the web crawling related processes can be done using python.
Beautiful soup is a python library for pulling data out of HTML and XML files. It is one of the most widely used frameworks based on Python for scraping. Beautiful Soup is able to convert incoming documents to Unicode and outgoing documents to UTF-8. It works on popular Python parsers like XML and html5lib that allow you to try different parsing methodologies. The remarkable features of beautiful soup are pythonic idioms for navigation, searching, and modifying a parse tree.
Python is considered as the best programming language for web scraping because of these highly evolved libraries.
How can we extract data from a website for free?
We have various free web scraping tools available online which allow you to automate the process of extracting data from the web. When you are searching for the information you need on a website and you simply cut and paste that information into another document like a spreadsheet, you are extracting data for free but this is a low, inefficient, and error-prone way of extracting data.
Sometimes it gets impossible to collect a large amount of data by doing cut and paste only, then we find a need for tools that can automate this process and allow you to extract data from lots of web pages, maybe thousands or millions of them per day and organize the results in an organized structure. Those tools are known as web scrapers.
You can find various free scraping solutions or scraping API available online to extract data from the web.