Web scraping, also known as internet/web harvesting is a complex process that involves the use of a computer application which is designed to retrieve data from websites. The entire process is closely related to web indexing, which is the method used by most search engines in order to evaluate a website. The major difference is that the first process uses a web scraper, a different type of crawler and emphasizes more on the translation of unstructured content on the web, usually in rich text format, such as HTML, in controlled data that can be analyzed and stored in a spreadsheet or database data. To that extent, a web scraper is programmed to streamline different data extraction and manipulation processes and to serve diverse purposes for companies that are quite different in their very nature.
In today’s business environment, information is one of the most important factors that enable the business development, whatever field of operation the business is based in. Without sensitive information that enables the proper function of core processes, it is almost impossible for a company to stand out, to attract and retain clients and therefore, to generate profits. Fortunately, nowadays, the information is readily accessible for any type of company, which can make use of a web scraper in order to access, extract, analyze and manage significant amounts of data. The web scraper technology is the best alternative to the basic process of collecting data manually, which is however, a time-consuming, expensive and tedious operation.
There are many reasons why many companies employ web scraping services, including the fact that this is the easiest way to obtain significant amounts of data that fit into specific parameters, with minimum of resources involved. Regardless of the type of information that a business needs, a web scraper is a simple, effective, quick and easy to implement solution, which can be customized according to the particularities of a company. Furthermore, the information extracted can be stored into a CSV file, database, XML file, or any other source with the required format, which enables a straightforward data manipulation process. It’s worth mentioning that the information can be stored for future references and it gives a company the possibility to discover correlations and patterns, customer and market trends, as well as to track the website data changes over a pre-established time frame. Even social media channels are used for data collection lately, especially since one user’s account can be connected to several channels; moreover, they are the ideal environment for the collection of personal data from the users, who post their preferences and various other contents online. This isn’t to say that privacy boundaries are crossed, but web scraping data tools can analyze the type of information you use on social media channels and that you search for online, and utilize it to predict trends.
The fact that the information is stored in a database or in a required format makes it easy to understand and interpret the information, to generate accurate conclusions in a timely manner and thus, to save many resources in terms of time, money and effort. A cutting-edge web scraper is loaded with many features that enable it to perform web data extraction at high standards, which is beneficial for any organization, company or firm, which needs data from any particular industry, information about targeted clientele, particular companies and so on. Often times, web scraping techniques are used to support marketing campaigns for particular products and services and to reach the targeted audience.
All in all, a web scraper that is designed by a genuine company, with vast experience and expertise in this field of activity has great chances to become an essential factor that boosts business growth. Web scrapping can take many forms and even though it is sometimes used for less ethical purposes, it remains a powerful and highly effective tool that performs a wide range of functions.