With the rise in e-commerce and increasing global internet penetration comes the need for web scraping.
And as an entrepreneur, you cannot afford to be left behind.
There are plenty of opportunities that web scraping presents, and in this article, we will cover some of the opportunities, along with seven prominent use cases for web scraping projects.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping is the act of using programmed bots to obtain data from specific websites, mobile phone applications, or an Application Programming Interface (API).
7 Best Web Scraping Use Cases
While web scraping has been made popular in e-commerce, its range of applications spans various sectors. As a business owner, however, you can benefit from web scraping in different forms, including:
- Competition monitoring
- Lead generation
- Price optimization
- Brand and reputation monitoring
- SEO tracking
- Review monitoring (customer sentiment analysis)
- Website testing
1. Competition Monitoring
Web scraping can let you in on what your competitors are doing in the market. This can include everything from how they market their products, interact with customers, the range of products and services they offer, or even their pricing policy.
This information can allow your business to stay ahead of the competition, ultimately winning over new customers and keeping existing ones.
2. Lead Generation
Having learned what competitors are doing, web scraping can then help your business to tap into leads that could convert to potential clients. With such a powerful tool as a web scraper, you can get a hold of information from various sources that have high lead activity.
3. Price Optimization
It is easy to see what your competitors are doing through web scraping from a marketing and pricing standpoint. This information can inform your business’ pricing structure and fill you in on what customers are willing to spend for a similar product or service in the market.
4. Brand and Reputation Monitoring
Keeping one ear on the ground as a business owner is crucial. This means monitoring social media and news outlets to identify comments that may tarnish your brand. Alternatively, you can use web scraping to verify ads, especially if you are undertaking an international marketing campaign. Ad verification ensures that only brand-friendly sites display your digital ads, thereby protecting your company’s reputation.
5. SEO Tracking
With Search Engine Optimization (SEO), every business is out to increase traffic to their site and convert visitors into leads. However, you can take your SEO game to another level with web scraping. For one, it will allow you to collect a vast amount of data quickly, and with this, you can know what words to optimize and what not to.
6. Review Monitoring
Data is getting pricier with every passing day. But you do not have to purchase data on consumer insights. Instead, you can easily retrieve such data by scraping e-commerce sites for customer feedback. Tracking reviews posted under your competitors’ products can enable you to create targeted marketing campaigns or products that solve the issues highlighted.
7. Website Testing
Before launching your website, you can use web scraping tools to test it for functionality and performance. This also applies once you’ve added any new features or have conducted any maintenance. It guarantees that everything functions as it should while also allowing you to identify any new issues that might need fixing.
Web Scraping Challenges
Even with the benefits of web scraping, this process is no stranger to its fair share of hiccups and challenges. For starters, websites are constantly integrating new features to prevent scraping. These include:
- Use of CAPTCHA
- Login requirements
- IP blocking and blacklisting
- Dynamically changing content
- Complex website structures
How To Resolve These Challenges
The best way to deal with these challenges is to pick a scraper API that best suits your needs. One can choose from various options, but you must do your due diligence and go with one that would give you a significant upper hand in your web scraping process.
The right scraper API allows you to efficiently and effectively rotate IPs, making it harder for websites to flag a specific one and block it after that. It also offers CAPTCHA solving services. In addition to the scraper API, you can use headless browsers and real user agents. Head over here to get more info.
Web scraping is more critical today than ever before. As a business owner, you need to understand how it works and how you can tap into its potential to realize growth within your enterprise. The seven areas of application are an excellent start but do know that there are way more ways you can make the most out of web scraping. Also, technology is evolving quickly, and as such, you must stay up to speed on new developments in the web scraping space to stay ahead of your competition.