What Is Web Scraping, And How Does It Work?

Last Updated: April 26, 2022
Web scraping makes it easy for entrepreneurs to conduct market research and spot trends. Let us learn how does it work.
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Websites have large amounts of valuable data. You will need to scrape data off the websites and keep the information you need. Web scraping talks about extracting data from a website. The data is collected and then exported into a suitable format for the user. 

This data can do wonders for your business, but performing this procedure manually can be a pain in your neck. Using an automated web scraping process helps you do it seamlessly. You need to look into the best language for web scraping in the automated version because language plays a vital role. You can use Smartproxy to scrape the web and collect information while keeping your identity anonymous on the internet. 

Applications of Data Scraping

Web scraping is a valuable tool businesses use to collect competitors’ information and target the right audience. It helps provide comprehensive access to large amounts of data available online. This data extraction process depends on how individuals want to use this because there are many applications for web scraping. 

  • Web scraping is primarily used to spot trends in data or internet usage. This is spotted by typically applying a rule to check a particular website for the number of occurrences of a specific word. 
  • Individuals or businesses collect all information on a particular topic from various websites to store it on a single database to process and analyze it.
  • Web scraping also assists in analyzing social media websites and generating data on what is trending on these platforms. 
  • Businesses can also use this technique to extract specific information for the consumer. For instance, an Amazon user is looking for baby accessories by a particular brand; web scraping enables the quick display of preferable information. 
  • Lastly, we have email campaigns on the list. You can use web scraping tools for gathering email addresses for lead generation. Once all the contact information is collected and is in one place, you can send bulk emails to all the relevant addresses. 

Benefits of Web Scraping 

Web scraping is a popular data extraction technique that includes many beneficial and positive aspects for those who use it, individuals and businesses. So, we will check out some substantial advantages that have made this method extremely useful and popular. 

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Cost-effective 

Manual data extraction can be costly and requires a large workforce, resources, and massive budgets. This is where web scraping solves this problem and saves the day. Web scraping is a cost-effective and budget-friendly technique used to collect online data. Although the cost of web scraping depends on the tools you are using and the amount of data you are extracting, it is still cheaper than doing this process manually. 

Low maintenance 

When we talk about maintaining a service, the cost is a factor that is ignored, but it can later cause trouble for the users. With web scraping, you don’t have to worry about maintenance costs. This is because these technologies need little to no maintenance over time. So, if you are looking at a long-term plan, you don’t have to worry about your web scraping services.

Data Accuracy 

You are wrong if you think web scraping services are only speed-obsessed and cost-effective. These services collect accurate and authentic data from the internet. There’s no doubt that human error is involved when performing this task manually, but you can easily avoid this with automated processes. Data is majorly accurate in automated web scraping, but minor errors can always occur, which can be easily corrected.  

Using Python For Web Scraping

We all have heard about various programming languages like Python, C#, Ruby, Node.js, PHP, and a lot more. You can perform web scraping in all these languages, but the best language for web scraping is Python. There are some primary reasons behind Python being the best language for data extraction. 

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Reusable 

With Python, you don’t have to create Python scripts repeatedly. The scraper automatically extracts data from the web, saving money and time. You can take a few lines of code, label them, and you have got yourself a function that you can use again and again. This feature is not available in other computing languages, making Python the best language for data scraping. Other languages can be expensive. 

High performing 

Python is a high-performing and efficient language for data scraping. The primary libraries of Python include BeautifulSoup and Scrappy. Python has spent over 30 years maturing into a flexible and capable high-level computing language. This language is used in everything ranging from embedded systems to data scraping.  

Flexible 

Who doesn’t like their web scraping process to be flexible? We all do. The good thing about Python is that it is a general-purpose language. It is straightforward to create, and it is not just capable of web extracting but a lot more than that. Along with web scraping, Python also helps import data and visualize the data collected through scraping. These tasks are not easy to perform with other languages mentioned above. 

Conclusion 

Companies and individuals use automated web scraping applications to collect data from the internet. This technology makes it easy for entrepreneurs to conduct market research and spot trends. Using the best language for data scraping can help you make this process easy and achievable. You should use a proxy to conceal your identity while performing data scraping. Python is the best language for web scraping, as it is flexible and performs well.

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Written by Allison Langstone

Allison produces content for a business SAAS but also contributes to EarthWeb frequently, using her knowledge of both business and technology to bring a unique angle to the site.