Data plays a crucial role in any business. It helps in analyzing and getting useful insights for making crucial business decisions. There is a wide variety of enormous data available on the web. There are different ways of extracting this data from the web such as web scraping and web crawling. Here’s a detailed look at web data scraping vs web crawling and what makes them different.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping is also known as web data extraction, and it is quite similar to web crawling wherein it finds out and locates the data to be extracted from the web page. The main difference between web crawling and scraping is that in web scraping we know the data identifier such as the HTML element structure for the pages that are being fixed for extracting the data.
Web scraping is an automatic way of extracting particular datasets with the help of bots known as scrapers. Once the required data is collected with web scraping it can be used for verification, analysis, and comparison depending on the specific business needs and goals.
Use Cases of Web Scraping
Data plays a crucial role when it comes to any type of research project whether it is for academic purposes, financial purposes, marketing, or business applications. The capability to collect data in real time and figure out behavioral patterns can prove to be helpful. It can help in stopping a global pandemic and identifying a particular target audience.
2. Retail/ E-commerce
Companies in the e-commerce space must regularly perform market analysis for getting a competitive edge. Useful and relevant data that back-end and front retail businesses collect consist of reviews, special offers, pricing, inventory, etc.
3. Brand Protection
Data collection has become an essential part of protecting a brand from fraud, brand dilution, and finding out malicious elements that are illegally profiting from corporate property such as logos, names, and item reproductions. Collecting data helps a company supervise, identify, and take required action against cyber-crime.
Benefits of Web Scraper
Web scrapers help in eliminating human errors from the operational process so that one can remain confident about the information is 100% accurate. WebDataGuru is one of the leading data extraction companies providing the best services. Accuracy is one of the unique and exceptional benefits of web scraper. Now, we all know that errors always make a task more difficult and longer.
2. Cost- efficient
Web scraping is cost-effective as usually, you would need a lesser staff for operating. In fact, in most cases, you can enjoy access to an automated solution which requires no infrastructure on your end.
Many web scrapers enable the user to filter for the exact data points that want. You can make sure that on particular jobs they collect only images, not videos or only pricing data and not descriptions. It can help in saving time, money, and bandwidth over time.
What is Web Crawling?
Web crawling is also known as indexing. It is used for indexing the information available on the webpage with the help of bots, called crawlers. Crawling is exactly what search engines also do. The process is all about viewing the webpage as a whole and then indexing it. When a bot crawls on the website, it explores every page and link till the last line of the website, collecting the information.
Web crawlers are usually used by major search engines such as Bing, Google, Yahoo, online aggregations, and statistical agencies. Web crawling tool captures the generic information while web data scraping helps in collecting specific data snippets.
Benefits of Web Crawling
Web crawling consists of in-depth indexing of the target page. It can be helpful when trying to unveil and collect information from the deep ocean of the World Wide Web. Web crawling can be used to verify the accuracy and authenticity of online content. By crawling websites and comparing information across sources, web crawlers can detect inconsistencies, false information, or copyright violations. This can help businesses maintain quality control, ensure compliance with regulations, and protect their brand reputation.
2. Real- time
Web crawling is a preferred choice for companies that want real-time screenshots of their target data as they are more adaptable to current events. It allows businesses to access and analyze information as it happens, enabling timely decision-making and quick response to emerging opportunities or issues. Real-time data empowers businesses to stay agile and make informed decisions based on the most up-to-date information available.
3. Quality assurance
Web crawlers are considered better when it comes to content quality assessment. It is a tool which offers benefits while performing QA tasks. Crawlers can scan websites to identify broken links, check website performance, validate HTML code, and ensure proper functionality. This helps businesses maintain a positive user experience, improve website performance, and identify areas for optimization.
Difference Between Web Scraping and Web Crawling
The short definition is web scraping extracts the data from one or more websites but web crawling is about discovering the URLs or links on the web. In web data extraction projects, one needs to combine scraping and crawling.
When comparing web scraping vs web crawling, it’s important to note that web scraping refers to the process of extracting targeted data from websites, whereas web crawling involves indexing and navigating through web pages.
The usual process is about crawling first or discovering the URLs, downloading the HTML files and scraping the data from these files. A company first extracts the data and stores it in a database or processes it further!
Web scraping is about the data; the data fields that you wish to extract from particular websites. During web scraping, you know the target websites. You might not know the specific page URLs but you know at least the domains.
On the other hand, with crawling, you don’t know the URLs and domains either. It is here that crawling comes into the picture as you want to find the URLs. For example, search engines crawl websites so that they can be indexed and displayed in the search results. For people wondering what is Web Spider Vs Web scraper they have remarkable differences and varied outcomes.
With web crawling python, the output is typically a list of URLs. Though there can be other fields or information as well, links are a dominant by-product.
In web scraping, output can be URLs but there is a lot of scope and variety of fields such as:
- Product price
- Number of views/ shares/ likes
- Customer reviews
- Images collected from advertising campaigns
- Search engine queries and results
- Competitor product start rating
If you are wondering is web scraping same as web crawling, the above-mentioned information shows that both are quite different. Web crawling is data indexing while web scraping with Python is data extraction. In spite of the differences between web scraping and web crawling, they both face mutual challenges such as collection limitations, data blockades, and labor-intensive nature.
There are several cutting–edge solutions in the market that can help in performing web scraping and crawling. The choice of software depends on the specific needs of a business.
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