6 Expert Tips on how Web scraping can be used for any business

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What is your current business strategy?

Does it highly involves the dependency of the online world for research?

If yes, you might need to take a step back. The online world is at the tip of our fingers to access any form of content or information that can add value to our purpose, but have you noticed that despite having such a platform, there is crucial information that can’t be restricted?

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Expert Advice on Web Scraping

What is Web Scraping?

How Proxy servers can make Web scraping more efficient?

Tips on how Web scraping can be used for any business

With the freedom to access data, how can the online platform put a stop to B2B brands like yours to access data which could play a huge role in the development of your lead capture? The reason being the high rise of cyber attacks.

‘’In 2018 hackers stole half a billion personal records’’, ‘’There is a hacker attack every 39 seconds’’

Amazed? That is exactly the reason why today many data that you wish to incur are not reachable to you due to heavy and strict access control. Your brand may be of any size, it shouldn’t be restricted to raw data that is available and is being used for the good purpose of brand growth.

This is exactly why your brand needs to start incorporating a solution which lets you access restricted data without the fear of being suspicious or holding any risk, that solution is ‘web scraping’. 

But before we can jump into the contextual frame, we had conducted a small interview with the experts of the industry to get their views on this topic. The main agenda of this interview was to provide a real-time experience of what your peers believe about how effective and meaningful web scraping can be.

web scraping questions

And their replies were insightful.


Expert Advice on Web Scraping

1 . Morgan Taylor, stated: 

MORGAN TAYLOR

Chief Marketing Officer

Linkedin Profile :

https://www.linkedin.com/in/morgan-taylor-030712147/

Company Website : https://letmebank.com

 

a. Problems which occur in scraping

Web scraping can be problematic for two main reasons, copyrighted content and formatting differentiation. If the content your scraping isn’t for general or free use, you may face legal consequences for using it. If a website is formatted uniquely, a scraping programme may not be able to read it properly and thus glean no valuable information.

b. How web scraping helps in competitor analysis?

Scraping is all about collecting data. This data can be analyzed for SEO and pricing content to give you an idea of what your competitors are doing.

c. How Web Scraping is Transforming the World with its Applications?

Web scraping is giving people access to information to boost their businesses and give them an edge over the competition.

d. Tools list used for web scraping

  • Import.io
  • Spinn3r

e. Web scraping – the Real difference between how normal people vs experts use it 

Experts a sin more cases, know not just what they’re doing, but what they are looking for. Web scrapers will know what information is useful and what they should be analyzing to get real results. 

f. Why web scraping?

Web scraping helps with SEO content, pricing, distribution, content creation and social media practices. It’s all about analyzing what other people are doing. 


2 . Joe Flanagan, stated:

JOE FLANAGAN

 

Lead App Developer

Company Website : https://getsongbpm.com

 

 

a. Why web scraping?

Web scraping can help with lead generation, competitor research, and to learn more about your ideal consumer.

b. 5 ways web scraping can benefit your business

  • Web scraping is still something that a lot of marketers and business owners take advantage of. There are different ways that we can use this technique to the advantage of the business.
  • The most obvious use for web scraping is to collect potential leads – which your business can contact and promote products or services to.
  • Web scraping also allows you to gain insight into competitor pricing models and provide you with data that can be used to optimize the pricing of your company’s own products and/or services. 
  • At the same time, you get data that allows you to compare your company to the competitor, and provide not only an improvement in pricing but also a better optimization in your offerings.
  • Another benefit is the fact that web scraping can also be used to collect data on a specific audience. With this type of data extracted, you are presented with details of your audience – allowing you to adjust your campaigns to target your ideal customer more accurately

3. Juan Soldi, stated:

Owner

Linkedin Profile : https://www.linkedin.com/in/juan-soldi-703a8440/

Company Website : https://www.heliumscraper.com/eng/

a. Problems which occur in scraping

  • Sites often block scrapers because of their high activity on the site, either by showing a CAPTCHA or by fully banning the scraper IP. Often it’s required to add delays to requests, or use a proxy or CAPTCHA solving Service.
  • Sites tend to be updated often, and scraping agents must be quickly updated when the required data has been moved or the elements redesigned. This makes web scraping a mix of manual and automated work.
  • Large sites such as eBay or Walmart tend to have a big range of different layouts and styles for different products or events, making it difficult for an automated scraper to recognize the required data. In order to solve this, tests must be run on a large sample set of URLs, in order to identify every possible page style and not miss any data.

b. How web scraping helps in competitor analysis?

Web scraping allows you to produce a structured view of competitor data, which can be analyzed by automated means. For example, prices can be compared at large scale to get average differences over large amounts of data. Social media information, such as ratings and reviews, can be compared. Sentiment analysis on these reviews can also be performed to detect patterns and trends in customer perception, among other things.

c .How Web Scraping is Transforming the World with its Applications?

Collection and aggregation of data is behind every big business. The quickest example that comes to mind is Google itself. New areas of expertise, such as data-journalism and machine-learning are being introduced, in great measure, thanks to web scraping. Charts and advanced graphing systems, such as D3js, are being devised because of the large demand for data visualization, which again, owes a lot to the amount of data we can gather by web scraping.

d. Tools list used for web scraping

Can’t go without mentioning the product I own, Helium Scraper. In addition to this, here are a few more I’ve worked with:

  • Python + beautifulsoup
  • Scraper API
  • Octoparse
  • Selenium
  • ParseHub
  • Mozenda

e. Web scraping – the Real difference between how normal people vs experts use it

 In my experience, one thing users often overlook is the availability of APIs. Many sites offer APIs for the required data, often for free or a small fee. Many times these APIs are not documented, so looking at the network activity while browsing the sites is a good way to learn about them. Using these APIs can make the extraction exponentially faster, while getting consistent and well-structured data. Often, a mix of standard web scraping and API querying is the ideal solution, which is why a web scraper should provide the tools to query these APIs without the need to write any code, such that the whole extraction can be performed from within a single application. On the other hand, there are cases in which scripting, particularly with JavaScript, proves to be very helpful. For instance, it is sometimes the case that the required data is stored in a JavaScript variable as a nicely structured object. Directly accessing the contents of this variable can be easier and less likely to fail than extracting from elements that are shown all over the page which contain the same information.

f. Why web scraping? 5 ways web scraping can benefit your business

  • As mentioned above, analyze competitor data by comparing prices and products, as well as trends on social media.
  •  Lead generation by scraping contact information.
  • Data reporting sites, such as Google Analytics or Crunchbase, often don’t provide an option to download all the data at once. Web scraping can be used to download this data for further on-site processing and analysis.
  • Find the best supplier prices by scraping their websites and comparing their products and prices.
  • Scientist, student, journalists or marketing researchers can benefit from web scraping by consolidating unstructured data into statistical information, charts or reports.

4 . Neil Desai stated:

NEIL DESAI

SEO and digital marketing consultant

Linkedin Profile :

https://www.linkedin.com/in/neildesai7/

Company Website : https://www.deepcrawl.com

 

a. Problems which occur in scraping

I use web scraping for a variety of things for my day job as a technical SEO. But also, for my side projects. 1. The main issues I encountered were when scraping larger affiliate vendor sites when scraping to see if  “http://christmasjumperclub.com affiliate offers were up to date. Normally, certain sites block the IP. This is where I decided to create a script which uses multiple proxies and user agents. This allows me to automate checking out of stock and 404 pages. This saves hours of manual work. 

b. Tools list used for web scraping

The main tools we use for web scraping are a combination of various Python libraries, also for wider SEO work, I use Deepcrawl. Normal people would have a tool to do the work. An expert would benefit from learning some Python and regex. Also, be aware of using multiple proxies to avoid getting your IP blocked.

c. Why web scraping?

Web scraping can provide you with all types of data for your business. It can give you new leads. It can help save 100+ hours a month doing jobs that would have required manual work. It will save money, because you don’t need to hire someone to menial manual work.All of this combined will frees me up to do more strategic things that can help grow my sites.


5 . Mark Webster, stated:

MARK WEBSTER

 

Co-Founder

Linkedin Profile :

https://www.linkedin.com/in/markwebster1/

Company Website : https://www.authorityhacker.com

a. Problems which occur in scraping.

When scraping large datasets, relevance is something that can quickly become an issue if not kept in check.. Let’s take a simple example such as scraping the keyword “Golf”.While we might be looking for websites relating to the sport, golf, you’ll soon find that many of the results you get back are related to the Volkswagen Golf car instead, that’s why it’s always important to assess your scrape beforehand and weigh the risk of irrelevant results into the mix.

b. How web scraping helps in competitor analysis

Scraping plays a huge part in our competitor analysis. We scrape to assess trends across top performing sites in our niche. There’s a good chance if all of the top 10 results in Google are doing something the same, we need to do it as well if we’re to compete. This doesn’t mean we should outright copy people, but rather, it gives us a clue as to what Google is looking for with its ranking factors.

c. How Web Scraping is Transforming the World with its Applications

As the internet continues to grow, so do the opportunities for people to build and grow their own websites. There’s only so much a human can do to uncover all of these websites though. With thousands of possible variants, there’s no way it would be possible to assess every website, every keyword and every competitor through manual means.

Scraping allows us to get a more accurate look at what works well and what does. What trends are there among top performing websites and content and how can we learn from that?Overall, this approach will lead to a much better content landscape in the future.

d. Tools list used for web scraping

We currently use Ahrefs as our main scraping analysis tool.For more basic scrapes, however, we use Scrapebox.

e. Web scraping – the Real difference between how normal people vs experts use it

Let’s use email address scraping as an example here. While the easy option is to just set up a scraper to go and find all the emails it can and blast out a few outreach emails to them, it’s actually a less than ideal solution. Many emails that return aren’t valid or don’t even belong to the correct site and your outreach quickly becomes spammy.

This is where the expert touch comes in. What variables can we add to increase our accuracy? Can we set the scraper to only include emails with the scraped sites domain in them? Could we also start looking at people’s social profiles for more results? What else can we do to improve accuracy.When you start factoring these things in, scraping goes from a questionably, spammy practice into something much more legitimate and a real contender as a source of prospecting.

f. Why web scraping? 5 ways web scraping can benefit your business

The internet has simply become too big to manually search every variable and every site. If you’re serious about growing your business, harnessing this automation is pivotal to success. It will save you masses of time and reveal results that just wouldn’t otherwise be possible with a manual process.


6. Krzysztof Surowiecki, stated:

KRZYSZTOF SUROWIECKI

Managing Partner and Chief Data Analyst

Linkedin Profile :

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ksurowiecki/

Company Website : https://hexedata.com

a. Problems which occur in scraping.

While data scraping we can encounter two types of problems:

  • Technical – not every website, a data structure can be downloaded via web scraping
  • Legal – just because a service provides data does not mean that it can be downloaded with impunity without any information to the customer. And even if they can be downloaded, there are various reservations about how to continue using them. I would consider this legal aspect as the most important difficulty.  

b. How web scraping helps in competitor analysis 

 We have the ability to compare data sets from different sources, so we can easily compare competition data with our company’s data.

c. How Web Scraping is Transforming the World with its Applications 

 Web scraping democratizes the data. It’s no longer that you need sophisticated skills and advanced technology. All you need is a tool, script, and access to the API with data.In addition, we get a ready blank which is data for further processing and use, e.g. by building our product on this basis

d. Tools list used for web scraping

I use Python with its libraries such as requests, pandas, etc. But of course, there are many other tools that you can use to scrap a website.

e. Web scraping – the Real difference between how normal people vs experts use it 

 I would be afraid of such a comparison between how normal people and experts use web scraping. Everyone’s an expert in their field and anyone can use web scraping to meet their needs. Is downloading advanced stock data better than downloading kitchen recipes from the internet? No, both are important because each person or business has different needs.

f. Why web scraping? 5 ways web scraping can benefit your business

In my opinion, your business can benefit from web scraping because it gives you:

  • Quick access to data
  • Access to general data such as weather, rainfall
  • Easy implementation and customization to changing conditions
  • Is affordable – Cost cutting
  • Data-driven culture support.

What is Web Scraping?

Web scraping is a simple process of extracting the data from the website you want information from and saving it in your system to monitor, learn and make better business strategies. For instance, say you want to grow your brand one step higher, you can only do this when you know exactly what your audience is talking about your competitors, or what your competitor’s growth strategy depends upon. 

Now, this is information that will not be available online so what do you then? You use web scraping to get that information from you. All you need to do is click on the website you want to scrape, in this case, your competitors, the scraping process begins and finally, the data is saved in a format you prefer as seen in the above image. 

Web scraping is a great measure or rather an intelligent solution to receive data that can be applied and can detect success with every piece of information. For brands similar to yours, you can easily outsell your competitors, create a great name in the market and cater to your potential client’s needs more closely and skyrocket the lead conversion rates in no time.  

But did you know that if you implement another ingredient with web scraping, not only will your privacy be guarded during the process, your brand has fewer chances to fall under any threats, risks or suspicious eyes that loiter around the internet? 

How Proxy servers can make Web scraping more efficient?

Proxy servers are like shields. They are responsible for securing any risks and threats away from your system and traffic. They are in short a great solution when blended with web scraping can work a lot of benefits.

They work in this manner:

Your request to view a website to scrape. That request is sent to the proxy server first. The proxy server will change your IP address and request the website for access. Once the website approves the access you can easily view the content. 

Also Read : The Ultimate Guide to Proxies for Web Scraping

There are many Proxy servers available in the market today. The rise of retrieving data has also given rise to such solutions in the 2019 market. Ensure that the proxy servers you use are helpful for you in terms of security and fitting well in your system requirements. Get a hand on the paid proxy servers available since they have great features when compared to the free one and are more reliable when supporting your frequent web scraping activities. 

As mentioned earlier, no matter the size of your business, web scraping can work wonders for any business type. Not only can it help to grow your business better but the impact it has will help you retrieve the results you expect from the outcome. 

Tips on how Web scraping can be used for any business

TIPS ON HOW WEB SCRAPING CAN BE USED FOR ANY BUSINESS

1. Shaping content marketing planning

Today content plays a huge role in any business to find their ideal leads. From creating blog posts to conducting SEO and backlinks tactics, if your social world game is not on point, you would be putting your brand under the lesser limelight. With web scraping, you can enhance your content marketing strategies better. For instance, to target the keywords that your leads use to find solutions online can be scraped so that you can apply it in your content forms, you can use backlinks which your leads frequently visit so that they can trigger their attention to your website sooner, you can also scrape topics that your leads want to hear more about so that every post, blog or any other form of content has the information which your leads are looking for. 

2. Connecting better with your qualified leads 

Imagine if you had data that had all your target audience’s reviews, opinions, thought processes about what they are looking for in a product, how convenient it would that be, wouldn’t it? You’re in 2019 and you don’t have to imagine this because web scraping performs it to you right now. With web scraping, you can collect all the insights about what your clients think of new product launches, what makes them pick a product, what do they expect brands in 2019 to conduct and many more. It is a simple understanding, when you have your clients needs at your fingertips, assisting them becomes a whole lot easier and stress-free. 

3. Participates in lead generation

The best thing about web scraping is its existence in lead generation activities. What are the requirements of your lead generation tactics? Lead names, phone numbers, email addresses, personal information, company name, designation, referrals, web scraping can get you all this with just a click of a button.

Also Read : The Ultimate Guide to Chatbots for Lead Generation

With web scraping, you can just scrape such data of your lead with no efforts. For instance, your target audience happens to like a blog post being shared about a lead generation by your competitors. You can conduct web scraping to get information about all those leads that liked and commented and shared on the post and reach out to them much quicker and convert them into a sales lead in no time. 

4. Keeping you updated

If you want to grow your brand, sustain its identity and continue to experience healthy growth, you should always keep an eye on the market changes. Today even one new change can spark so many changes in purchase decisions, preferences and many more. But with your work kicking you with so many workloads, how will you be able to keep a constant eye? Here is when web scraping can help again. With web scraping, you can receive regular scraping of market information directly in your system. You can then monitor and start applying the strategies sooner so that when the change takes place, while other brands will be busy adapting it, you will have a great solution, to begin with. 

5. Outselling your competitors

Any brand’s success is determined higher when it can tackle its fellow competitors. But how is it possible to have a sneak peek of what your competitor’s next step would be. With web scraping this is possible. You can easily scrape so much information about your competitors, right from their pricing strategy, their content form, their leads reviews and opinions and so much more. You can then apply this strategy to improve your current solution and shape it in a way that will most likely trigger the attention of your target audience to draw more closely to what you have to offer. 

6. Conducts efficient brand identity

Today if your potential target audience wants to decide upon some brand, they will first go to the review section and frankly today the reviews are never true. Only genuine audiences write true reviews while some just write reviews under an assumption or to defame a brand. This can bring a hindrance to your brand identity. To avoid this web scraping can take place here. It helps to crawl reviews, verify the true ones and help to eliminate any bad or unwanted reviews. Conducting this action helps your brand to always seem genuine and great in the eyes of your clients and allow you to assist them quicker. 

7. Enhances selling techniques

When you assist your target audience every minute needs, you draw them one step closer to convert them into a sales lead. Web scraping conducts this action very well. From scraping their buying patterns, reviews, opinions, thoughts on a brand it gives you impactful leverage to apply all the good and missing factors that your target audience wants to cover and helps you to improvise your solution according to the standards of your target audience’s expectations. When this takes place, imagine how great your selling techniques and numbers would look like?

8. Accurate data at your fingertips

The best part of web scraping information is that you always receive accurate information. For instance, if you want to know the pricing strategy happening in the market, you are scraping real data that your competitors are already implementing. Another scenario is when you scrape market information which is updated online frequently. All this information is real data that will confidently give you the results you are expecting from the outcome. Web scraping doesn’t just give you data to monitor, it helps give you the success you need when you apply the data into practice.

9. Price monitoring

This is one crucial ingredient for any brand. It all comes down to how you have framed your pricing strategy. If you choose a pricing strategy that is more than your competitors or less than your competitors you might find yourself in a tough spot amongst your leads. This is exactly why you need to plan your pricing numbers better since those numbers determine your sales as well. With web scraping, you can scrape the price chart of many sources, brands, and competitors and monitor them closely to set the right price for your solution. 

Also Read : Top 15 Price Monitoring Tools in 2019

The Bottom Line…

Web scraping is a huge asset for the B2B brand today. While the market continues to evolve and change with time, as a brand staying up to date with your prospects’ preferences and having close monitoring of your competitor’s actions will only help you develop your brand towards a successful path. 

With the online world being risky different corners, it is wise as mentioned above to start incorporating proxy servers with your web scraping activities. There are many proxy servers available in the market so ensure that you choose the right one for your brand.

The 2019 market will have its ups and downs and as technology continues to evolve, the path for online hacking becomes easier. It is with solutions like web scraping and proxy servers that help brands like yours to conduct effective lead capture with more ease and convenience. It’s time you make the right use of it. 

About the author

Rachael Chapman

A Complete gamer and a Tech Geek. Brings out all her thoughts and love in writing blogs on IOT, software, technology etc

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