What is Web Scraping and What is it Used For?

Have you ever copied and saved information from multiple websites? You’ve probably thought about gathering information about a topic from all or some websites more quickly! The data is like a vast sea, and it is impossible to collect all of them manually. Still, one of the best ways to quickly and widely access the information you need is web scraping, which we will examine below, its uses and benefits.

What is web scraping?

Web scraping is also known as data searching. Manually copying and saving information you’ve probably done so far is a very small and simple example of web scraping. In general, extracting the required data from all or some websites automatically with the help of computer methods and software is called webscraping.

 

In general, web scraping is collecting data by sending a request through a program to a website’s server, receiving a response, analyzing the obtained data, and finally extracting the data.

Where did web scraping start?

Web scraping has existed since humans needed to extract information data, and this method has become more updated and better over time. The simplest, long-standing web scraping method is to read a few websites and copy the required information.

But data web scraping is done today with more advanced tools. There is even the possibility of scraping between images and webscraping by listening to sounds. Of course, with time web scraping emerged, first to share data between web servers, but with the pass with times were added, one of which is API. Today, more API is used, easier to work with, but web scraping is still widely used and popular.

What is the use of web scraping?

Today, we are in the era of data and speed, so collecting data quickly is one of the important needs of humanity; Therefore, webscraping, which is useful in extracting data, has become one of the most popular methods among companies and individuals. Web scraping has many applications in this field.

One of the simplest web scrapings that we deal with daily is Google itself! We get some required information by searching keywords in Google, a source of information. Currency analysts use web scraping to analyze their own and others’ work. Individuals and companies make important decisions by analyzing daily news through web scraping. Brands use web scraping to improve their marketing efforts. People use web scraping to analyze housing prices etc.

Sometimes people even use web scraping to write their articles and website. Of course, this is only part of the everyday use of webscraping. Many people and companies use web scraping or other similar methods.

What is web scraping based on?

Web scraping requires two general foundations, one to find the source of information and guidance and the other to collect the required data accurately. In the following, we will examine both of them in detail.

crawler

Crawler or web crawler is a type of artificial intelligence known as a spider that searches all the unlimited resources of the Internet to find data. Usually, in this type of project, a website is checked with the help of its links to find data. This search method is very similar to how a spider moves through its webs, and the reason for its name is this similarity because, in this method, spiders crawl on command lines to gather information.

scraper

Scraper or web scraper is the main tool for collecting accurate and fast information from the reviewed source. Its main part is the data locator, which extracts and collects the required information from HTML files and delivers it to the user.

How to do web scraping?

Have you ever needed to collect information from the web scraping method? To do it personally, you need to go through the steps that we will discuss below.

  • Specify the website containing the data.
  • Collect the URLs of the required pages.
  • Get their HTML or submit a request
  • Find required data from HTML with data locator
  • Save the received information in the desired format.

These five steps are easy to follow with knowledge of programming, computers, and the Web, but the process becomes a little more difficult for larger, more complex projects. A team of programmers and web scraping specialists is needed to carry out complex web scraping projects. If you have expertise in this field, you can earn money by being employed in businesses or working as a freelancer, and if you do not have enough knowledge, some many experts and websites will help you in this field.

What are the benefits of web scraping?

You must have noticed some of the advantages of Web scraping up to this point in the article; In the following, we will examine its benefits in detail.
Data collection speed

Today is the era of computers and data, and there are several billion web pages; As a result, it is very difficult to get the required data from the sea of information manually; Therefore, computer and web scraping have come to our aid to extract the data we need automatically. With this method, we can obtain the required information in a shorter time than the manual method; Also, we save time for other work!

Accurate and comprehensive data

With the help of the accuracy and speed of the web scraping method, you can easily get the required information. In web scraping, with the help of a crawler, you can carefully find all the important sources and get organized information with the scraper and data finder.

Easier data management and analysis

With web scraping, you get the data you need quickly and accurately. You can also organize the data in the format you want; Therefore, analyzing data in this method is much easier than the old methods and copying and pasting information from a small number of sources! Web scraping has made data analysis very easy for currency and market analysts.

What are the disadvantages and limitations of web scraping?

In addition to the many advantages that web scraping has, it also has a few disadvantages that we will examine.

The need for expertise or paying for an expert

Of course, doing anything today requires a little expertise or getting help from an expert, and web scraping is no exception! Of course, there is software for web scraping that help you, but they have limited efficiency and are not responsible for complex projects; Therefore, to use this method better, you need to be familiar with the relevant programming languages that we will discuss further. Of course, there is another way; You can get help from freelance web scraping, or if you are a business owner and need frequent and daily scraping, you can hire professionals in this field.
Website changes

Websites constantly change their structure, which sometimes causes the crawler to crash and disrupt your work; So whether you write code or get help from software, you need a little maintenance to make your data collection practices. It will cost you to redesign the crawlers for ,the websites you use.
Limitations

Some web pages have restrictions that you cannot collect data from those pages by scraping; some websites restrict the access of crawlers and crawlers! Also, using a personal IP can be disrupted and closed, so it is better to use a proxy before incurring a high cost.
Moral considerations!

Note that when web scraping, you are using the data of other people’s sites; Therefore, you must respect their rules. Avoid plagiarism! Please do not overdo it in sending daily requests to the website!

Why do analysts need web scraping?

Analysts need to obtain information from a large number of websites, so the best method of obtaining information for them is web scraping. Scraper and crawler intelligently extract and organize new and changed information from websites.

 

Analysts can extract the new information they need by reviewing and analyzing it. Also, the analyst can provide comprehensive information to people by collecting news and information and analyzing them or using them for trading, buying, and selling.

Why do virtual business owners need web scraping?

The advantages of web scraping were stated in general, and you noticed its many benefits, including accuracy and speed in data collection; Now we will examine its advantages for virtual business separately.

Monitor your work!

With the help of web scraping, you can investigate different opinions about your brand and try to reduce them by finding negative opinions. You can also create a positive attitude about your brand with this method. You can develop your brand name by checking websites and e-commerce centers. Also, with web scraping, you can check the SEO of your website by searching for keywords and trying to improve it and use relevant keywords better, or use HTML to find the reasons for success, including the length of sentences, titles, etc.

Improved pricing!

With web scraping, you can find out all the pricing of other brands and your competitors and choose the right price for your product or content by checking different opinions about those prices. Also, with web scraping, you can easily find out the market’s fluctuations and keep your product’s price updated. With this technique, you can even help others to choose the right product, which is a way of earning money.

Research your brand and competitors!

Business brand owners know that one of the most important steps to start a business is to know about competitors. With webscraping, you can identify the competitors of the business you want to have, and by properly analyzing and fixing their problems, you can start a more successful business. If you own a brand, you can intelligently monitor your competitors’ activity and pricing with web scraping and use that information to improve your business.

Find customers and employees!

By scraping databases that are the source of people’s numbers and emails, you can identify the most suitable customers and use this data for successful marketing. You can learn about market trends, supply and demand by analyzing data and using them to improve your sales. You can also find out the amount of salary by scraping. With web scraping, you can find the talented and needed people for your business.

What programming languages and tools are used in web scraping?

The most basic programming languages are used in web scraping, Python, followed by JavaScript. There is a suitable tool for each language, and we will continue to examine each of them and its processes.

How does Beautiful Soup help with web scraping?

Beautiful soup library! The best way to enter the world of scraping is; Because with a little familiarity with the Python programming language, you can use this user-friendly library. The first thing we encounter in scraping is the HTML codes, which you can access in different ways; for example, in the Chrome browser, you can access these codes by pressing the control and U keys.

Of course, the first step of scraping is to use requests and get to get the desired codes. After that, you need to pass the data to an object in Beautiful soup. (You must have noticed the reason for this name; the reason is the similarity of the pronunciation of soup with soup!)

Saving an object with the default name soup allows you to access different parts of the website. Each section on the website is saved with a special tag; for example, the main title is saved with the h1 tag, allowing easy access to the information you want in soup. But if your desired website is written with JavaScript programming language, it is impossible to use the beautiful soup library alone, and you must use Selenium.

How does Selenium help with web scraping?

It was said that webscraping for sites written in JavaScript is not possible with the help of beautiful soup so that the Selenium library will come to your rescue. JavaScript is mostly used in dynamic websites that require user interaction, for example, on websites that need to press a button to read more. To make sure that the desired Web. Saya uses JavaScript language; you can look for tags related to this language by right-clicking on the page and selecting the inspect option.

The purpose ofSelenium library was createdm automated tests on the Web. Selenium allows you to interact with that page. To work with Selenium, you must first install a launcher or web driver that simulates a browser page. Note that web drivers are different,, and installing the web driver for the browser you usually work with is better. After installing and opening the other program you want, for example, phantoms, you can start scraping and interacting with the desired page.

Enter the big world of scraping and Interthe net with Scrapy!

In addition to giving you a good feeling when using, Scrappy is very fast compared to other tools; Because it simultaneously processes tasks and prints information, which is possible thanks to the twisted python framework. Scrapy has no specific dependencies and is compatible with Python language.

So far, you have generally learned about web scraping, web scraping tools, and how to do it. This method is one of the appropriate ways to extract information and analyze it, but to do it better; you need to know some programming languages and have experience in this field.

Of course, web scraping is not the newest data extraction method; other and simpler methods have also been invented, although this method still meets the needs of many jobs and businesses.