Web Scraping Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Table of Contents

What is Web scraping?

Web Scraping, web harvesting, screen scraping, or web data extraction is data scraping that is used to extract data from websites. The process saves data to a local file or to a database in spreadsheet format. Collecting data from multiple websites, which could be quite tedious if done manually is automated through web scraping so as improve the efficiency and volume of data extraction.

What is the best web scraping tool?

The feasibility and use of any web scraping tool depend on the kind of website that it is scraping and its complexity. Web scraping tools generally fall in the categories of tools that you install on your computer or in your computer’s browser (Chrome or Firefox) and services that are self-servicing. Web scraping tools (free or paid) and self-service websites/applications can be a good choice if your data requirements are small, and the source websites aren’t complicated.

What is Web scraping/screen scraping used for?

Web scraping has a variety of applications in a data-driven world. It aids in the creation of alternative data and market research documents, price monitoring, human capital optimization, robotic process automation, and almost every other field. Web scraping is used largely by investment and hedge fund firms to make financial projections and calculations.

Please refer to this page for consolidated and updated information about legal topics.

Is violating the terms of use or service of a website illegal?

Please refer to this page for consolidated and updated information about legal topics.

Is Web scraping data mining?

Web scraping and data mining are two different concepts, though they have common areas of application. Data mining is a process of identifying or discovering patterns from large data sets. It contains three main areas: Content mining, usage mining and structure mining.

Web scraping is a kind of content mining, where useful or required information is collected from websites using automated code structures.

What is Web scraping using Python?

Python is a high-level programming language that has a design philosophy which emphasizes code readability. Python is the most popular and most widely used programming language for web scraping. It can handle most of the web scraping requirements smoothly. Beautiful Soup and Scrapy are the most widely used web scraping frameworks based on Python and provide the most robust system for extracting data even from complicated websites.

What is the difference between Web Crawling and Web Scraping?

Web scraping and web crawling are related concepts. Web scraping, like we already mentioned in the process of automatically requesting a web document or page and extracting data from it. On the other hand, web crawling is the process of locating information on the web, indexing all the words in a document, adding them to a database and then following all hyperlinks and indexes and then adding this information to a database. Hence web scraping, in fact, requires some degree of web crawling skills.

What is a Web crawler and how does it work?

A web crawler often called a spider, spiderbot or crawler is a piece of code that systematically browses the web to index information that can be extracted from websites.

A web crawler begins with a list of URLs to visit, called the seeds. It then identifies all major hyperlinks in the page and adds them to the list of URLs to be visited. They are then visited recursively according to a list of pre-set policies. The crawler archives and saves information as it goes and is preserved as snapshots.

What is crawling in SEO?

Crawling in SEO is extracting data about a website. In this process, search engines crawlers/spiders or bots collect details about each page including titles, images, keywords, and other linked pages. It is through this indexing that a search engine can return results that pertain to a search phrase or keyword that you enter.

Is Google a web crawler or webscraper?

Google search is both a web crawler and a web scraper. Google’s crawler is known as Googlebot. Through crawling and scraping of data, Googlebot discovers new and updated pages to add to Google search index.

What does Web research mean?

Internet or web search is a practice of using information that is available on the web to make clever and feasible interpretations. Web scraping aids internet research since it makes extraction and compilation of huge amounts of data easily possible. It is something you are probably doing right now !

What is meant by Data Harvesting?

Data harvesting is the process in which a script or program is used to automatically extract large amounts of data from a website. The process is quite similar to web scraping, but could sometimes involve the use of complex statistical algorithms.

What is a robots.txt file?

robots.txt is a text file that is used by websites to let crawlers, bots or spiders know if and how a website should be crawled as specified by the website owner. Many sites might not allow crawling or might limit extraction from them. It is critical to understand the robots.txt file in order to prevent getting banned or blacklisted while scraping.

Can you scrape Google?

Google generally automatically blocks your IP address after you exceed a certain number of results of scraping.

Sure you can easily scrape public data like that without any programming skills. Just head over to the link below and in a few clicks, you can get the list of businesses in a spreadsheet!

What is Beautiful Soup in Python?

Beautiful Soup is a Python library that pulls out data from HTML and XML files. It engages with your parser to create idiomatic ways of navigating, searching, modifying and processing the parse trees. It saves time and resources by making this process smooth for programmers.

Do I have to know coding or programming to use web scraping?

While it is great to know coding or programming languages such as Python, you do not need to know coding. If you know how to use computers and can copy and paste and click a few buttons, you can easily gather data from web scraping using our Cloud platform (https://cloud.scrapehero.com/). It is easy and quick to get started.

How do you pull data from a website?

The process of pulling data from a website includes extracting data from web pages and navigating the links on a website. All this can be automated using scripts or through the use of web-based tools such as the ScrapeHero Cloud.

Can I copy data from a webpage into Excel?

Yes, it is very easy to just download data on a webpage such as Amazon, Google etc. into Excel. The process of copying data from a website includes extracting data from webpages and navigating the links on a website. All this can be automated using web scraping tools or scripts or through the use of web based tools such as the ScrapeHero Cloud.

Can I pull data from a website to Google Sheets?

Yes, it is very easy to download any data on a webpage to your computer using the ScrapeHero Cloud and then upload that into Google Sheets.

Can you scrape LinkedIn?

Yes. It may be possible to extract publicly available data and listings from LinkedIn. However, since Microsoft has acquired LinkedIn, it has taken a stricter approach to allow access to the profile data that goes beyond the wishes of the people who entered their data on LinkedIn and as a result in the latest legal ruling, the judge ruled against LinkedIn. We do NOT provide services for scraping LinkedIn.

The summary can be read on the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) website.

Can you scrape Social Media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Threads etc?

If a site needs a login, we do NOT gather data from such websites.

Can you scrape personal or sensitive and confidential information?

No, we do NOT gather or store such data.

What is web scraping, and how does it provide a streamlined method to extract data from websites?

Web scraping, also known as data scraping or data extraction, is the process of extracting and converting data from web pages into usable information. It offers an automated and efficient way to access large amounts of data from the internet without the need for manual copying and pasting. With web scraping tools, users can collect thousands or even millions of web pages on autopilot, saving significant time and effort.

Web scraping has a wide range of applications in various fields. Some popular use cases include price monitoring, location intelligence, real estate market analysis, marketing and lead generation, and news monitoring. For example, businesses can use web scraping to monitor competitors’ prices, analyze real estate trends, track sentiment on social media, optimize SEO strategies, and gather data for market research.

How can price monitoring be beneficial for businesses, and what are some use cases of location data scraping?

Price monitoring is crucial for businesses to stay competitive and adjust pricing strategies based on market trends. Web scraping tools can collect prices, inventory levels, and reviews from various retailers, enabling businesses to compare products with competitors and make informed pricing decisions. On the other hand, location data scraping can assist industries like restaurants, hotels, and retailers in choosing the best location for their businesses. By collecting location data from publicly available sources, businesses can analyze the feasibility of different locations and make data-driven decisions.

How is web scraping useful for real estate market analysis, and what insights can it provide for investors, home buyers, and developers?

Web scraping is highly valuable for real estate market analysis as it allows investors, home buyers, and developers to access and analyze a wealth of data related to property prices, historical values, and neighborhood details. Investors can identify potential hotspots for profitable investments, while home buyers can compare property prices in their preferred areas and evaluate amenities’ proximity. For developers, web scraping can offer insights into housing demand, helping them make informed decisions about constructing new properties.

In marketing and lead generation, how can web scraping help with competitor analysis, sentiment analysis, SEO optimization, and content creation?

Web scraping is a powerful tool for marketers to gather data and gain insights into their competitors’ strategies. By scraping competitor websites, marketers can analyze pricing strategies, promotional campaigns, and product launches. Sentiment analysis can be performed by scraping data from social media posts, reviews, and comments to gauge the public’s perception of their brand. Web scraping can also help with SEO optimization by analyzing search engine results pages (SERPs) and identifying keywords that impact website rankings. Additionally, scraping trending topics and viral content aids in content creation and strategy development.

What are the steps involved in web scraping, and how does it work?

Web scraping involves several steps: crawling, parsing and extraction, cleaning and formatting, and data storage. The process starts with a web crawler exploring web pages and learning their content. The web scraper then parses the crawled data using CSS selectors or Xpaths to extract the essential information. Once the data is extracted, it undergoes cleaning to ensure readability. Finally, the data is stored in formats like CSV, JSON, or XML for analysis and use.

What is the difference between web scraping and web crawling, and how do they serve different purposes?

Web scraping and web crawling are often used interchangeably, but they serve different purposes. Web crawling involves downloading and storing website data by following links in web pages. Crawlers are used by search engines like Google to index web pages. On the other hand, web scraping involves extracting specific data elements from websites using the site’s structure. Web scrapers collect targeted information, such as pricing data or business leads, for analysis and use.

Web scraping raises legal concerns regarding copyright and terms of service of websites. While scraping publicly available data is generally legal, scraping copyrighted or private data without permission may result in legal issues. Websites often have terms of service or robots.txt files that dictate scraping permissions. Complying with these terms is crucial to avoid copyright infringement and legal troubles.

How much does web scraping cost, and what are the options for outsourcing or building an in-house team?

The cost of web scraping can vary depending on factors like the scale of data extraction and the service provider. Custom web scraping services can cost a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars. Building an in-house team requires additional expenses like salaries and infrastructure costs. For smaller projects, developers can use open-source web scraping tools like BeautifulSoup or Scrapy. However, for larger-scale projects, outsourcing to a web scraping service like ScrapeHero can be a cost-effective, maintanable and efficient solution.

How long does web scraping take, and what are the benefits of using web scraping services for large projects?

If done manually or in-house, web scraping can take months to set up, especially for large-scale projects. On the other hand, web scraping services like ScrapeHero can set up a website and start delivering data in a week or less. These services have the technology and expertise to handle large-scale data extraction efficiently, saving businesses time and resources.

How can one practice ethical web scraping to avoid getting blocked by websites?

Ethical web scraping involves requesting data in a reasonable manner to avoid overloading websites and getting blocked. Web scraping services like ScrapeHero are experienced in “politely” requesting data and managing web scraping activities in compliance with website policies. Following these ethical practices ensures the smooth execution of web scraping tasks without disrupting website operations or facing potential legal consequences.

How does web scraping unlock valuable insights from the digital universe, and why is it a critical skill in data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence?

Web scraping allows access to vast amounts of structured data from the internet, enabling businesses and researchers to gain valuable insights for decision-making. In fields like data analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence, the ability to extract and interpret large volumes of data quickly and efficiently is essential. Web scraping serves as a foundational skill to leverage digital resources effectively and make data-driven decisions.

Turn the Internet into meaningful, structured and usable data