We all know that “Information is wealth.” And the 21st-century digital world is all about acquiring growth and wealth through information. Web scraping is the most effective method that allows you to collect information for websites and then helps you to compile and store them as ready-made data sets.Technology is ever-evolving, and today we have the facility to automate most things. Gone are the days of manual visits to web pages and gathering the necessary data. Web scraper is an automated tool that extracts information across the Internet. The bots in the web scraper tool crawl through the web pages, collect the required information, and organize them into usable data sets.In this article, we will help you understand everything about web scraping, including its meaning, applications, and advantages.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is the process of extracting large chunks of targeted data from websites. Once the data is collected, it will be stored in a structured format, which can be used for research and taking data-driven decisions.

In the technical aspects, there are two significant parts of the web scraping tool – crawler and scraper. 

  • Crawler – Crawler, an AI algorithm, performs the process of browning through the websites to read the open-source data and find the required data by checking the links scattered across the internet. 
  • Scraper – Once the crawler finds the data, the scraper comes into action and extracts the data from the websites. 

On the front-end, web scraping involves three steps:

  1. Data collection – In this step, the crawler will locate the data, and the scraper will extract it.
  2. Data parsing and transformation – The second step involves the transformation of the collected data into a structured format dataset, which can be used for further data manipulation and analysis.
  3. Data Storage – The structured datasets will then be stored in the required formats like JSON, XML or CSV files on the cloud. 

Applications of web scraping

There are wide use cases and applications of web scraping. Analysts, marketers, researchers, academicians, journalists, web developers, digital marketers, and data scientists use web scraping extensively to collect the open data available on the Internet. Each individual and business will have its own specific need for extracting data. We have listed a few common applications of web scraping here.
  • Lead generation  

Lead generation is the most challenging part of marketing that every business faces. Businesses can use data scraping to collect email and phone lists of the target audiences for cold outreach.
  • Competition monitoring  

Businesses can use web scraping to watch their competitors constantly. Anything can be scraped from product and service information to trends and strategies to see how competitors plan their growth.
  • E-commerce 

Businesses can use data scraping to extract data on their product pricing, reviews and demands from various digital sales platforms like eBay, Amazon, social media, marketplaces and official websites.
  • Investment decisions 

Investments are always entitled to risk. So using the web scraper to gain in-depth knowledge about the investment plans and get insights into the root causes of past failures and successes will help businesses and individuals a lot. 
  • Market demand analysis 

Everyone can use a web scraper to analyse the demands in their industry and market. Be it a job seeker searching for a job or a real estate agent looking for a client, or individual hunting for a home – anyone in any situation can use data scraping.
  • Brand monitoring 

With data scraping, businesses can check what their customers, audience and competitors are talking about them. Businesses can protect their reputation if anything goes wrong by attending to the issue in real-time.

Benefits of web scraping

  • Automated data collection

The most important benefit of web scraping is that you can extract a massive amount of data from websites with just a few clicks. Even though there are many steps and technologies involved in the working of the scraper tool, it is highly user-friendly and doesn’t require any coding knowledge to use it. All the steps involved in data scraping are automated.
  • Cost and time-efficient

Data extraction, when performed manually, can be time and cost-consuming. It is humanly impossible to check lakhs of websites/webpages to find the necessary information and copy-paste it separately. But web scrapers that are automated do the magic of collecting the information needed in just a few minutes. It is a one-time investment!
  • Accurate and rich datasets

The data collected by the web scrapers are highly accurate and rich data. As web scraper tools are run with bots and APIs, there is no possibility for inaccuracy. When accurate data extracted is stored as a solid, usable dataset, it becomes easy to use them.
  • Data-driven decision making 

Businesses need to make every decision based on analysing the facts, metrics and data related to it. When a web-scraping tool can gather and organise all the necessary data in real-time, businesses can also make their data-driven decisions fastly and confidently.

Summing up

Web scraping has been in practice for a long time, but people used to do it manually in the past. Now, as an automated tool, the scope of web scraping is tremendous. Businesses and individuals potentially use web scrapers for collecting data. So now, we hope you have an extensive understanding of what a web scraper is and how you can leverage it to your growth. Relu consultancy provides the best web scraping services. We have a vibrant team of data engineers and scientists who will understand your needs and build the best and most accurate data scraping solution that can accelerate your business growth in a brief period. 
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