Why is Web Scraping Popular Currently? Benefits, Steps, Challenges & More


Web Scraping has become not just popular, but also an important tool in today's digital era. The expansion of the digital economy itself is the answer to why is web scraping important and becoming increasingly popular. Success of a business today is significantly dependent on the organization's ability to make data-driven decision and developing strategy informed by analysis of data. Organizations are exceedingly reliant on the potential of a data analyst who can scrape the web in a sophisticated manner to collect valuable data from the Web, which is the biggest repository for data. Web scraping is thus a valuable tool which will remain important for the years to come, enabling businesses across industries with real-time data. Let us explore the various facets of Web scraping and understand why web is popular currently. 

What is Web Scraping?

For the unversed wondering what is Web scraping? It is the process of extracting and collecting real-time data from various websites by employing software and automated tools. The software or the scraping application (usually bots) are programmed to explore websites, collect data from relevant pages and extract valuable information quickly and efficiently. The automated process of extracting data enables businesses to collect huge amount of data and extract information in a very short time. Web scraping has become an essential tool thus for every business as it equips them with several benefits. 

While Web Scraping allows the collection of large amounts of data, there are certain legal rules that mandates the types of information allowed for scraping. The most common type of data that organizations collect are images, texts, videos, customer reviews, product information, etc. 

Web scraping consist of two main parts-the crawler and the scraper. The web crawler is an AI algorithm that performs the task of browsing the internet, to index and search for specific contents, by exploring and following links. The web scraper is a specific tool designed to perform the task of extracting data accurately and quickly from websites. The scraper tool's design is largely impacted by the complexity and scope of the project. 

Steps of Web Scraping: How Does a Scraper Work?

While the software and the tool used in Web scraping may differ, three basic steps/ principles are crucial and unavoidable in web scraping. 

  • Sending HTTP request to a target server
  • Parsing the code on the website
  • Saving relevant data locally

Step-by-Step Guide to Web Scraping

Step 1: Find and select the URLs you want to scrape
Step 2: Inspect the page before coding to identify what it has to scrape
Step 3: Identify the unique nest tags that enclose the data /relevant content you want to extract
Step 4: Upon finding the appropriate nest tags, integrate them in your preferred software, informing the bot where and what to extract.
Step 5: Execute the code which includes requesting site access, data extraction and data parsing.
Step 6: Store the data by running extra lines in your code

Uses of Web Scraping

So why web scraping is popular currently? There are various use cases and benefits that companies in today's digital era making the most of. There are endless and countless use of web scraping, particularly in the field of analytics. One of the biggest example of massive data scraping is that of Google. Google uses Web scraping to perform their task of analyzing, ranking, and indexing their contents. They even use it for scraping e-commerce sites for populating Google shopping. This is made possible as web scraping can extract information from third-party websites. Let us delve into some of the top use cases of Web scraping to learn and understand why web scraping is popular currently.

Price Monitoring

Web scraping is used by companies for scraping product data and competing products quickly and effectively from various sources, particularly to check on the impact of their pricing strategies. By scraping data, companies can fix their product's optimal pricing to maximize revenue and stay ahead of the competition. 

Market Research

With Web Scraping, companies obtain high-quality data in large volumes, which is useful for them to analyze consumer trends and make informed choices and decisions for their future projects and plans. 

News Monitoring

Web scraping is also largely used by companies for news reports. Particularly, companies that rely on the daily news report can gather detailed reports on current news from various sources. 

Sentiment Analysis

Web scraping is largely used for collecting customers' opinions about their products. Sentiment analysis is crucial for companies to understand what the consumers have to say about their products. Through web scraping, companies can collect data from various social media websites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. This will give them an informed idea about what the general sentiment is like and what products they should develop in the future. 

Email Marketing

Another best use case of Web scraping is for email marketing, where companies scrap the web to collect email addresses from various sites. They can use the collected data to send bulk emails to promote their products to the email ID owners.

Lead Generation

Another popular use case of Web scraping is companies using scraped data for lead generation. Companies are tremendously helped in lead generation, which demands a significant amount of data of potential clients and customers who may be likely interested in their products and services. Instead of manually entering data, web scraping provides quick and efficient sets of this targeted data sourced from various internet platforms and websites. This process thus helps companies in saving time and resources while simultaneously providing valuable information on potential leads. 

Why is web scraping important?

To understand why is web scraping important, let us discuss the top benefits that businesses today are gaining from scraped data:

Competitive Intelligence

Through Web scraping, companies have access to critical business information about their competitors on product or service offering, pricing and marketing strategies. Business are thus enabled to make informed decisions and remain ahead of their contemporaries. 

Risk Mitigation

One of the biggest advantages of Web scraping is how it helps in monitoring websites for potential threats to security like malware, phishing scams, etc. Businesses can now mitigate risk and access a more cost-effective method of identifying risks and prevent it from becoming a complex issue. 

Data Enrichment

Web scraping is beneficial as it helps in enriching the existing data and extracting a more accurate and comprehensive picture of their customers. Web scraping can largely be employed to attain additional information such as site's users reviews, social media activities, etc.

Web Scraping is an essential component for every business today to thrive and stay in the competition. 

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