Semalt Expert Elaborates On The Pros And Cons Of Content Scraping
Web scraping has become a very popular method of mining data from websites. It is usually an automated process where software extracts data from the source web page. The initial steps of web scraping are similar to the tasks performed by search engines when they crawl websites. Scraping, however, goes a step further. It gets the data and converts it into a format that can be easily transferred to a spreadsheet or database. The data can then be manipulated in any possible way to suit the intentions and plans of the webmaster.
There are many reasons behind scraping the content. Some webmasters (such as marketers) use scraped content from authority or more reputable sites assuming that adding the content to their sites will drive more traffic or serve other long-term strategies. Other uses of web scraping include gathering real estate listings, email address gathering for lead generation, scraping competitors' products reviews, and collecting trending news from social networks.
Scraping content has its set of upsides and downsides. If you are planning to use web scraping, it's crucial for you to understand these advantages and disadvantages.
Major advantages of content scraping from the web
1. Web scraping is an inexpensive method of collecting and analyzing web data, especially if you need to do it regularly. Web scraping does the data extraction job efficiently and in a budget-friendly manner.
2. A scraper is easy to implement provided the proper mechanism has been deployed. You invest once in a web scraper, and it will help you to collect huge amounts of data even from an entire domain.
3. Web scraping technologies don't require frequent maintenance and thus saves you time and money that would otherwise be spent on maintenance routines.
4. High speed and accuracy: errors are inadmissible in data extraction since a simple error could make the entire data set less useful or completely misleading. Web scraping allows for accurate extraction of data and is thus preferred when sourcing information for business decision making.
Disadvantages of content scraping from the web
1. Scraped data still needs cleaning and analysis: tasks which make take a lot of time and energy.
2. Content scraping comes with a potential risk of violating a site's access guidelines.
3. Some sites don't allow site scraping. However, the high-quality data on a protected site may be, web scraping services are completely useless in such a case.
4. A slight change in the code can interfere with or completely stop the working of the scraping service.
When scraping the content REMEMBER to adhere to these scraping rules:
The content you plan to scrape should not be copyright protected.
The scraper doesn't violate the term of use of the site.
Your scraping activities don't affect the functioning of the site being scraped.
Make sure the scraped content adheres to standards of fair use.
Scraping content is undoubtedly a powerful tool for gathering web data. Even with its potential downsides, it provides many webmasters with a simple, less time-consuming and budget-friendly way of extracting data. Do you regularly need to extract huge amounts of web data? Is the data you need spread across many web pages? Do you want to get notifications when information of a certain webpage changes? Learning the basics of content scraping can help you do these things comfortably and conveniently.