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What Is Data Scraping And How Can You Use It?

What Is Data Scraping And How Can You Use It?

In the world of business data, every number and statistic is important for your company. They offer an opportunity for growth. Without data, you cannot get insights. Therefore, you cannot effectively make important business decisions. Eventually, you will lose the competition. That’s why companies around the world are utilizing data scraping technology for content and market research. It enables you to effortlessly scrape key information for making decisions and creating strategies. It helps you stay ahead of the competition. For example, in the e-commerce industry, scraping competitor pricing helps you create effective business strategies. But how can you use data scraping? What is the best tool for effortlessly extracting data? In this post, you will find all the details.

What Is Data Scraping? What Is Data Extraction?

What Is Data Scraping?

Data scraping or data extraction refers to the practice of automatically extracting data from websites. You can use it to scrape information from databases, enterprise applications, or legacy systems as well. It enables you to effortlessly collect large amounts of useful information, including product reviews, contact information, and web content. You can use them to discover valuable business insights.

Developers around the world use a variety of data scrapers to extract elements from the web. For example, they use data scraping APIs to collect useful information from sites. It involves writing just a few lines of code.

What Are Cloud-Based Web or Data Scraping Programs?

Tech giants, such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, publicly share their APIs. It enables developers to access the data in a structured way. But what will you do if the APIs are publicly unavailable? You have to build a web scraping program. You can use different programming languages, like Python, Ruby, PHP, etc. It will enable you to extract web information without utilizing an API.

Have you heard terms like robots, crawlers, and spiders? These are all web scraping programs. Here are some of the well-known web scraping tools available online:

  • FlightStats for real-time airline transport data
  • Wikibuy for product pricing comparison
  • Web Scraper Chrome extension for site maps
  • The SEO Spider tool Screaming Frog
  • Content scraper tool Ahrefs Site Explorer

Here are some examples of screen scraping software:

  • UiPath – UiPath is a comprehensive screen scraper. It enables you to pull data from any application in minutes.
  • Jacada – Jacada Integration and Automation (JIA) is a reliable data integration and automation tool. It relies on screen scraping techniques to automate an application.
  • Macro Scheduler – Macro Scheduler is a powerful screen text capture tool. It supports OCR functions.

People often illegally and unethically use data scrapers. For example, online pirates use them to steal and re-share copyrighted content. Also, data scrapers are used for automating the process of matching and beating the pricing of competitors. However, unethical utilization will lead you to legal issues. That’s why you need to ensure utilizing data scraping responsibly for your business.

Read: What Is Web Scraping And How To Do It?

Types of Data Scraping

There are two types of data scraping. They are: web scraping and screen scraping.

Web Scraping

Web scraping is also known as content scraping. It is the main form of data scraping. It can automatically download webpages and parses their coded information. Businesses can use them to discover valuable insights.

Companies use web scraping for data analysis, acquisition, and research. Also, search engines use web scrapers, called web crawlers, for inspecting millions of site content. It enables them to extract and index the keywords and data. It helps them to power users to navigate the web. Therefore, web crawlers are very important for all search engines.

Web scraping offers a comprehensive, customizable, and effective solution. It helps you to extract key data for making intelligent business decisions.

Screen Scraping

Screen scraping is another type of data scraping. It does not download and parse web pages. Instead, screen scraping analyzes visual interfaces to extract text, images, and other content. It gives you data for application-based analytics and research. Also, it is very useful for analyzing outdated sources.

The world of technology has been rapidly evolving. As a result, certain legacy systems, software, and applications have become obsolete. It’s very expensive to maintain them. Also, legacy systems often contain a large number of sensitive and important information. They are very difficult to export without the help of a screen scraper.

Back in 2017, independent research firm Vanson Bourne and software company SnapLogic performed a study on 500 US-based IT companies. They found that almost $140 billion worth of critical data had been trapped in legacy systems.

Screen scraping is very important for keeping data intact for a long time. It is ideal for data used for regulatory or record-keeping purposes. That’s why many companies are using it. Also, screen scraping is useful for extracting data without accessing the source code. Hence, it is ideal for older CRM systems that don’t have their own built-in APIs.

Overall, scraping technology is a powerful tool for migrations. Thanks to its ability to access and export legacy data with high accuracy.

Read: 9 Reliable Web Scraping Tools In 2022 To Extract Online Data

What Can Data Scraping Do?

You can use web scraping for a variety of purposes, like monitoring, analyzing, and assembling information. The data can effectively support your marketing efforts, strategies, and decisions.

Also, you can use data scraping to stay ahead of the competition. For example, you have invested money into promoting your product. You are hoping to generate enhanced sales. But without using business automation technology, you can’t understand the business strategy of competitors.

By using the web scraper, you can quickly identify the new price of a competitor’s product as soon as it arrives online. It allows you to effectively adjust your pricing and business strategy. As a result, you can always stay ahead of the competition.

Can Data Scraping Help You?

Data extracted or scraped can help you in a big way. If you can effectively use the information in business strategies, you can grow your company from rock bottom to the top. Also, it is very useful for SEO and social media marketing. You can extract data from different sites to know valuable information about the target audience. It helps you identify their real needs.

How To Mitigate Web Scraping

To make web content viewable, you have to transfer them to the device of the website visitors. However, it makes the data accessible to a scraping bot. How can you reduce the amount of data that can be scraped from your website? There are different ways that you can achieve this.

Rate Limit User Requests

The request rate is very important. It helps you quickly identify the data scraping techniques used for scraping your entire website.

You can rate limit the number of requests that an IP address can make within a specific period. It will enable you to protect your website data from being unethically scrapped.

Mitigate High-Volume Requesters with CAPTCHAs

You can apply CAPTCHAs to slow down data scraping efforts. It will require people to complete a small task to get into your site. The task would be relatively easy for a human. However, it will be very challenging for a machine. Even a bot can’t pass the CAPTCHA in a single effort. It can help you effectively mitigate high-volume requesters.

Regularly Modify HTML Markup

A data scraping bot can effectively traverse a website and parse useful information. However, it requires consistent formatting to smoothly operate. By regularly modifying HTML markup elements, you can interrupt the bot’s workflow.

You can consider nesting HTML elements or changing various markup aspects. It will prevent the bots from easily scraping the web pages.

Embed Content in Media Objects

You can perform the mitigation by using media objects, like images. You can use optical character recognition (OCR) to extract data from image files. It will make the process of copying content significantly more complicated for data scrapers. As a result, your competitors can’t easily scrape your content.

But, keep in mind, that legitimate web users might face some issues with the approach. For example, it prevents people from copying website content. Therefore, users will be forced to retype the information when required.

Read: What’s The Best Python Data Scraping API?

How Can You Easily Perform Data Scraping?

You can easily perform data scraping by using Zenscrape. It is a web scraping API. Zenscrape enables you to extract data at scale without getting blocked. It is very easy to use.

Here is an example of using it in Python:

As you can see, Zenscrape is very easy to use. You just need to write a few lines to scrape data from websites.

Conclusion

Data scraping is a powerful technology. It enables you to quickly extract, analyze, and integrate data. As a result, you can effectively make important business decisions. There are plenty of tools available online for scraping data. However, the best one is Zenscrape. It helps you effortlessly extract information from websites.

Zenscrape is a powerful web scraping API. It enables you to extract data without getting blocked. Try it now for free.

FAQ

Is it legal to data scrape?

Yes, it’s completely legal to scrape publicly available data. However, you need to be cautious about two types of information. They are copyrighted data and personal information.

Is data scraping easy?

Yes, data scraping is super easy. You can use scrapping tools, like Zenscrape, to effortlessly extract information from websites. You just need to write a few lines of code.

What is a data scraping tool?

Web scraping tools refer to software that simplifies the process of extracting data from websites. You can use it to effortlessly perform data extraction.

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