What is Web Scraping used for ?

What are the practical uses and advantages of web scraping

The Internet is a data store of world's information - be it text, media or data in any other format. Every web page display data in one form or the other. Access to this data is crucial for the success of most businesses in the modern world. Unfortunately, most of this data is not open. Most websites do not provide the option to save the data which they display to your local storage, or to your own website. This is where a Web Scraping software can help you.

The uses of Web Scraping for business as well as personal requirements are endless. Each business or individual has their own specific need for gathering data. In this article, we discuss some of the most common usage scenarios.

Uses of Web Scraping

What is Web Scraping?

Web Scraping is the process of automatically downloading data displayed by websites to your computer or database. A Web Scraping Software can crawl multiple pages within a website and automate the tedious task of manually copying and pasting the data displayed. The data is usually downloaded in a spreadsheet (tabular) format.

Know more : What is web scraping?

Most Common Uses of Web Scraping

1. Lead Generation for Marketing

A web scraping software can be used to generate leads for marketing. Email and Phone lists for cold outreach can be built by scraping the data from relevant websites. For example, business contact details like phone number and email address can be scraped from yellow pages websites or from Google Maps business listings.

Scrape email addresses and phone numbers from Yellow Pages Scrape business contact details from Google Maps Listings

2. Price Comparison & Competition Monitoring

Companies catering products or services need to have comprehensive data of competitor products and services which appear in the market every day. A web scraping software can be used to keep a constant watch on this data.

3. E-Commerce

Web Scraping can be used to periodically extract data of products from various e-commerce websites like Amazon, eBay, Google Shopping etc. Product details like price, description, images, reviews, rating etc. can be easily extracted using a web scraping software.

Scrape product data from Amazon Scrape Google Shopping Product Data Scraping AliExpress Product Details

4. Real Estate

Property details displayed by real estate websites like Zillow, Realtor etc. can be extracted using a Web Scraping software. In addition to scraping property details, web scraping can also be used to scrape agent and owner contact details.

Scrape real estate websites for property data

5. Data Analysis

You might want to collect and analyze data related to a specific category from multiple websites. The category might be real estate, automobiles, electronic gadgets, industrial equipment, business contacts, marketing etc. The different websites which belong to the specific category displays information in different formats. Even with a single website you may not be able to see all the data at once. The data may be spanned across multiple pages (like google search results, known as pagination or paginated lists) under various sections.

Using a Web Scraper you can extract data from multiple websites to a single spreadsheet (or database) so that it becomes easy for you to analyze (or even visualize) the data.

5. Academic Research

Data is an integral part of any research, be it academic, marketing or scientific. A Web Scraper will help you gather structured data from multiple sources in the Internet with ease.

6. Training and Testing Data for Machine Learning Projects

Web Scraping helps you to gather data for testing / training your Machine Learning models. Quality of your machine learning models depends on the quality of training data used and when the data is not readily available you can employ web scraping to collect it from various websites.

How to get data for Machine Learning Projects using Web Scraping?

7. Sports Betting Odds Analysis

Web scraping is used to collect betting odds values by various bookmakers from sports betting websites like OddsPortal, BetExplorer, FlashScore etc.

Scrape betting odds from OddsPortal Scrape FlashScore live scores and betting odds Scrape betting odds from BetExplorer

7. Other uses

  1. 1. Scrape hotel/restaurant ratings and reviews from websites like TripAdvisor
  2. 2. Scrape hotel room prices and details from websites like Booking.com and Hotels.com
  3. 3. Scrape tweets related to an account or hashtag from Twitter
  4. 4. Scrape profile data from social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn etc. for tracking online reputation.
  5. 5. Scrape hospital/clinic websites to build a catalog of physicians including their contact details
  6. 6. Scrape images and profile data from Instagram
  7. 7. Crawl forums and communities to extract data from posts and authors
  8. 8. Scrape articles from various article/PR websites
  9. 9. Scrape data from various Government websites, most of which do not provide an easy way to download the data which they display.

Scrape data from any website using WebHarvy

WebHarvy is an easy to use, visual web scraping software which can scrape data from any website, without limits. WebHarvy can scrape text, images, phone, email/website addresses etc. from multiple pages of websites and save the data in spreadsheet format to files or databases.

If you are interested in knowing more, we highly recommend that you download and try the FREE 15 days evaluation version of WebHarvy.