Web scraping is the savior for any analyst, whether they are an SEO marketing analyst or a data analyst. Web scraping has become a part of every field since every sector operates based on data. Did you know that Google processes about 20 petabytes of data every day, according to Seedscientific? There were about 44 zettabytes of data in 2020, and it is predicted to grow to 175 zettabytes of data by 2025.
Data is out there, but you need to find a way to extract the data in a suitable format. The solution is web scraping tools. In the upcoming sections, we will look into web scraping and the tools required to perform web scraping efficiently.
In simple terms, web scraping is extracting data from the target source and saving it in a suitable format to perform some specific analyses, such as competitive analysis, SEO analysis, market research, and stock market analysis.
Most of the time, data analysts use a data lake available within the organization to get data for their research, machine learning, and deep learning projects. The data in the data lakes is already cleaned and stored in a suitable format.
NOTE: Data cleaning removes any outliers (errors), replaces the null field with the appropriate web data, and makes sure that all the data is relevant.
Since the data are already cleaned and in a suitable format, data analyst/SEO market analysts do not have any difficulties carrying out their work, but what happens if they don’t have any relevant data in the data lake? This is where the web scraping shines. Data analysts perform web scraping to get the necessary data for their work from various sources.
Web scraping tools consist of two parts: crawler and scraper. A snail is a bot that will crawl through the target and locate the necessary information. A scraper is the programming script that extracts the found data. You can mention the format in which you can save the extracted data.
Now that you have a basic idea of how the web scraping process generally works, you can customize your options for web scraping. For example, you can automate the whole process by using a selenium web driver (a python tool to automate the web scraping process), or you can mention what type of data (numerical or string) you want to extract and when to extract it.
Let’s see the tools that can help you perform web scraping more efficiently.
The other advantages are dropbox integration, scheduled scraping runs, pagination, and automatic navigation without an automation tool. The free version includes 200 pages of data in 40 minutes and allows you up to five projects, and after that, you have to upgrade to the subscription plan that starts at $189, $599, and a custom plan.
The mentioned prices are for the monthly subscription, there is also a quarterly subscription plan, the features are the same but you can save money up to 25 per cent of the monthly subscription.
Imagine this situation. You are in a hurry and don’t have time to install a third-party web scraping tool. You need an easy solution to scrap the data in a small amount of time. If this is the case, visual web scraper is one of the best choices online.
Visual web scraper is the chrome extension that you can add to your browser within a few seconds; once you add the extension to your browser, you can start extracting data from the target in just a few clicks. Your part will be marking the necessary data and initiating the process. With the help of an advanced extraction algorithm and data selection elements, you are assured to get the best quality output.
Visual web scraper tested the extension with websites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Amazon. Once you have extracted the data, you can save it in CSV or JSON format. Since the visual web scraper is an extension, the tool is free.
Web scraping is used in many fields, and digital marketing is one of those fields. SEO is a big part of digital marketing, so if you are a digital marketer, you should have a web scraping tool in your arsenal. AvesAPI is the best tool for that.
AvesAPI allows you to scrap the structured data from Google search results. The structured data is the HTML data available in the Google SERP. AvesAPI enables you to extract HTML data from Google on any device. This is the best option when you have an HTML parser. If you don’t have the HTML parser, the JSON result is the next best choice.
With AvesAPI, you can collect data specific to location and get it in real-time. AvesAPI provides both a free and a paid service. With free service, you will get up to 1000 searches, top 100 results, live results, geo-specific data, and an HTML and JSON structured result export option. The paid version starts at $50 and goes up to $500.
Now, let us take another scenario where you have basic programming language knowledge and want to do web scraping on your own. What is the best solution? The first requirement is the knowledge of the Python programming language.
The second is the Scrapy library. With Scrapy, you can write your own rules to extract the necessary data that you need for your project. It is fast and helps you remove the data in a short amount of time. Since Scrapy itself is written using Python, it is supported by all OSs. To install the Scrapy library, the easiest method is PIP. The following command will help you install Scrapy on your local system:
pip install scrapy
This is the best approach if you want to perform data extraction manually. Scrapy is an open-source, free library.
Content Grabber is probably the most versatile and easy-to-understand tool on the list. This is because it is simple to install the software. Within minutes, you can finish the installation process and start scraping data.
With Content Grabber, you can automatically extract data from webpages and transform it into structured data and save it in various database formats, such as SQL, MySQL, and Oracle. If you want, you can also keep it in other forms, such as a CSV or Excel spreadsheet. Content Grabber can also manage website logins and perform the process repeatedly to save time and access data from highly dynamic websites.
Helium Scraper is mostly based on your other typical web scrapers, but it differs in one area, which is parallel scraping. It allows the collection of a large amount of data at the maximum rate. Helium Scraper can store a massive amount of extracted data in a database, such as SQLite.
The features of Helium Scraper are faster extraction, API calling (integrate web scraping and API calling into a single project), proxy rotations, and scheduled scraping. You can try the 10-day trial version, and if you like the features, you can get a subscription, which starts from $99.
Webhose.io is the most advanced and one of the best web scraping tools/services on the list. The level of data processing is unimaginable. Their service consists of three categories: the open web, the dark web, and technologies.
The open web is probably the most applicable in those categories since the dark web and technologies are mainly used for security and monitoring online activity. The open web consists of several APIs, such as news, blogs, forums, reviews, government data, and archived data APIs.
This means that the Webhose.io service will extract all these kinds of data in real-time, form it into structured data, and automatically execute web data into the machine. With Webhose.io, you can monitor trends, risk intelligence, identify theft protection, cyber security, and financial and web intelligence. It is recommended to use this service for a large organization because of its scope.
Web scraping may be considered an unethical activity, even though it is legal in most countries. While performing web scraping, it is best to be mindful of how much data is being extracted and make sure that the data extraction does not affect the original owner of the data in any shape or form. Before performing web scraping of the target website, the first thing to do is check the robot.txt and a sitemap file.
These files will give information on what to scrap and what not to. Even if you follow all the guidelines, there is a good possibility that the target website may block you. Yes, sure, some web scraping tools such as Parsehub have security measures to avoid that, but most do not. In that situation, the proxy is the best solution.
A proxy is an intermediary server between you, who acts as the client, and the target server. The request passes through the proxy server to reach the target server. By doing this, your original IP address gets masked, and you become anonymous online. This is the perfect companion for any web scraping tool.
ProxyScrape offers the best quality and highly reliable proxies. They offer three services: residential proxies, dedicated proxies, and premium proxies. The dedicated and premium proxies are similar in most ways. The only difference is in dedicated proxies, you are the sole user of the proxies. Whereas, in premium proxies, other users in the ProxyScrape network can access the same proxies.
Residential proxies resemble the original IP address provided by the ISP (Internet Service Provider), which makes them the best for web scraping. This makes the target source have more difficulty identifying whether you are using a proxy or not.
The best way to scrap the data is based on the resource and programming language knowledge you have. If you are skilled in coding scripts and have a considerable amount of time, then you can go for a manual web scraping process or if you don’t have time and you can spend some budget on web scraping
No, you can perform web scraping with absolutely no knowledge of coding. With the help of web scraping tools, you can scrape a large amount of data within a small time frame.
Yes, Python is considered the best programming language to perform web scraping. Many open-source libraries, such as Scrappy, Request, and Selenium make the Python programming language most versatile for web scraping.
This article has explored different web scraping tools and how proxies make web scraping easier. Day by day, our lives are becoming more reliant on data. It is safe to say that our world would stop working without good data collection. Data, directly and indirectly, make our lives easier.
With a large amount of data, analysts solve complex problems every day, and web scraping plays a vital part in that. Proxies and web scraping are the best companions for extracting data and transforming it into a structured format. With ProxyScrape’s residential proxies, start your web scraping journey today.