So, you’ve heard about web scraping and how it can extract data from any website.
However, you might be wondering how web scraping works in the first place.
Let’s review and break down the main concepts of web scraping.
What is Web Scraping?
We’ll start with the basics.
Web scraping refers to the extraction of data from a website. In most cases, this is done using software tools such as web scrapers.
Once the data is scraped, you’d usually then export it in a more convenient format such as an Excel spreadsheet or JSON.
Want to learn more about web scraping? Check out our in-depth guide on what web scraping is.
What kind of web scrapers are there?
Web scrapers come in all shapes and sizes. In fact, you could just build your own web scraper if you’re up to the challenge.
In most cases, you’d download a pre-built web scraping tool that meets the needs of your web scraping project.
These web scrapers usually come as either browser extensions or more powerful applications that are actually installed on your device.
Then these can either run the scrapes directly on your device or run it in the cloud, freeing up your device resources.
Due to how different every web scraper is, finding the best tool for your project might be difficult. Luckily, we’ve put together a guide on how to find the best web scraper for your needs.
How does Web Scraping Work?
Web scrapers work in somewhat complex ways. After all, their goal is to understand the structure of a website in order to extract the data needed and export it as a whole new format.
In most cases, web scrapers will be given a specific URL (or a whole list) to scrape data from. Then the scraper will either extract all the data on the page or you’d be able to select the specific data you’d want to extract.
Lastly, the scraper will run and let the user download the data as Excel sheet or other formats.
Want to see it in action? Check out the video below or read our guide on how to scrape any website into an Excel spreadsheet.
What can web scraping be used for?
We are obvious fans of web scrapings and of how companies can use it to power up their business.
Here are some notable examples:
- Real Estate listings scraping (in the real estate industry)
- Scraping product data to build price comparison tools
- Scraping website for new lead information
- Using web scraping to assist with website transitions
- Social Media scraping for sentiment analysis
- Scraping stock prices for market analysis
The list of things that web scraping is used for is almost endless.
If you want to learn more? Check out our guide on how businesses use web scraping in their daily operations.