How to scrape Yelp.com for Business Listings

Yelp.com is a reliable source for extracting information regarding local businesses such as Restaurants, Shops, Home Services, Automotive Services, etc. You can use web scraping to extract details like phone numbers, reviews, address, etc.

In this tutorial, we’ll search Yelp.com for restaurants in a City and extract the following data from the first page of results.

  1. Business Name
  2. Search Rank
  3. Number of Reviews
  4. Category
  5. Rating
  6. Address
  7. Price Range
  8. Business Detail Page URL

Below is a screenshot of some of the data we will be extracting from Yelp.com as part of this tutorial.

 

yelp-search-webscrape-data

 

Scraping Logic

  1. Construct the URL of the search results page from Yelp. For example, here is the one for Washington- https://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Restaurants&find_loc=Washington%2C+DC&ns=1. We’ll have to create this URL manually to scrape results from that page.
  2. Download HTML of the search result page using Python Requests – Quite easy, once you have the URL. We use python requests to download the entire HTML of this page.
  3. Parse the page using LXML – LXML lets you navigate the HTML Tree Structure using Xpaths. We have predefined the XPaths for the details we need in the code.
  4. Save the data to a CSV file.

Requirements

For this web scraping tutorial using Python, we will need some packages for downloading and parsing the HTML. Below are the package requirements.

  • Python 2.7 ( https://www.python.org/downloads/ )
  • PIP to install the  following packages in Python ( https://pip.pypa.io/en/stable/installing/)
  • Python Requests, to make requests and download the HTML content of the pages ( http://docs.python-requests.org/en/master/user/install/).
  • Python LXML, for parsing the HTML Tree Structure using Xpaths ( Learn how to install that here – http://lxml.de/installation.html )
  • UnicodeCSV for handling Unicode characters in the output file. Install it using pip install unicodecsv .

 

The Code

You can download the code from the link here https://gist.github.com/scrapehero/7c2fa78e151c4d001a3bd7f853af55a6 , if the embed above does not work.

Running the Scraper

Assuming the script is named yelp_search.py. If you type in the script name in command prompt or terminal with a -h

usage: yelp_search.py [-h] place keyword

positional arguments:
 place    Location/ Address/ zip code
 keyword  Any keyword

optional arguments:
 -h, --help show this help message and exit

A keyword is any type business. You can use any business type Yelp.com has for example – Restaurants, Health, Home Services, Hotels, Education, etc.

Run the script using python with arguments for place and keyword. The argument for place can be provided as a location, address or zip code.

As an example, to find the top 10 restaurants in Washington D.C., we would put the arguments as 20001 for place and Restaurants for keyword:

 python yelp_search.py 20001 Restaurants

This should create a CSV file called scraped_yelp_results_for_20001.csv that will be in the same folder as the script.

Here is some sample data extracted from Yelp.com for the command above.

You can download the code at https://gist.github.com/scrapehero/7c2fa78e151c4d001a3bd7f853af55a6.

Let us know in the comments how this scraper worked for you.

Known Limitations

This code should be capable of scraping the details of most cities. If you want to scrape the details of thousands of pages you should read  Scalable do-it-yourself scraping – How to build and run scrapers on a large scale and How to prevent getting blacklisted while scraping .

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