Before we start, just letting you know that many of the things mentioned below you can do yourself. You don’t necessarily need to hire someone to do it you can use a scraping software if you want. It really depends on the kind of field you are in. Though if you want to make sure you get quality and accurate data then you should find a freelancer or (for bigger jobs) a scraping service provider.
If you own or work for a business that is somewhat in relation with the internet(well 99% of businesses) then you should have already heard about web scraping. Web scraping is the art of transforming publicly available web data into something useful and insightful so you can make more money, boost the ROI or gain other benefits. We’ve been actively in the web scraping business for four years now. We have seen and done many kinds of web scraping for different purposes. In this article I’m gonna cover some of the web scraping use cases how companies leverage web scraping so you might get inspired and wanna try it for your own stuff.
Price tracking, analysis
In the eCommerce and retail world web scraping has been becoming inevitable to remain relevant. Why is that? Because when it comes to online shopping there’s one major factor that can make or break your business. It is price. Even for smb ecommerce companies it’s incredibly worth it to actively watch and react to the competitors’ price changes. Now, a person cannot do it. It’s not possible to sit at a desk 24/7 and check competitor websites for price changes. The good news that you don’t even have to. That’s where web scraping comes into play. As a retailer we can setup our own web scrapers to monitor competitors. This web scraper can alert us if something happened on the market that we should check out. Going just a little bit further, It also can create insightful analysis using competitor data. Icing on the cake is to build a dashboard that gives us a clear high-level view where our products positioned in the market. This way we can make up-to-date data driven pricing decisions.
I would bet that this is the type of web scraping job that is the most requested on freelancer sites. No matter what kind of business you are in you have to find and convert leads. If you cannot find a way to continuously find leads for your business you’re essentially dead. Now if you just start up and try to get things going you don’t need a scalable way to find potential clients. But later on, you will have to do it better and faster. In my experience, companies tend to like web scraping for finding leads because it’s cost-effective, fast and scalable. We have to find one or multiple websites that contain contact information of our potential customers. Then we can build our scraper that fetches this information and stores it in a database or a CRM preferably. Next, when you reach out, try to do your best not to be spammy and offer real value.
For content marketers this is specifically useful. There’s a huge amount of written content on the internet. This trend is not gonna end soon. You can use web scraping to gather content around a given topic and do some research. For example, you can find the best kind of title for your article by web scraping the most popular posts and analyzing their titles. You can figure out which words work the best. If you want to reuse content from the web be aware that simply republishing someone else’s work is unethical and illegal. But you can use it for your own research and study.
Some companies are using web scraping to boost their SEO. We can setup a scraper that search for our website’s main keywords and checks our rankings. It’s a great way to get real-time and accurate info about our SEO position. Another way to advance our SEO is to scrape the full content of a competitor’s website and find the main keywords they are optimizing for. With this information in our hand, we can choose wisely what keywords to rank for and which ones to avoid. Also, we can fetch data like meta descriptions and image titles to recognize patterns and ultimately do a better job on our own site.
Real Estate listings
Scraping real estate data is getting more and more popular among real estate agents and real estate service providers. Web scraping enables these companies to keep an eye on the real estate listings close to realtime. This way we can gather trustworthy data which can boost our business. Also when it comes to buying real estate, pictures are super important in the decision making. With web scraping, it’s not a big deal to scrape images as well as other parameters of the property. It can impact your business decisions greatly.
Product ratings and reviews
There’s a bunch of websites that we can get customer rating and review from. Either we’re looking to figure out the opinions about our or a competitor’s product web scraping is our friend. We can almost realtime get notified how well a product performs on the market in overall. Scraping ratings from numerous websites like Amazon, ProductHunt, we see the big picture and get a sense how much the customers like the product. Going much further, we can also apply sentiment analysis on the scraped reviews to figure out what exactly people feel about the product.
This way of using web scraping is popular as well. We can build a huge database of the same kind of data from several websites. For example, we could track job opportunities across arbitrary number of job posting websites. Or a website that aggregates news from a dozen of other news sites. Trivago.com is also a great example that gathers room prices from multiple other sites. Building a catalog of health physicians based on their specialization or region is also a widely used practice.
We have covered some of the areas where web scraping can make a huge difference in businesses. I hope you got some inspiration how you can take advantage of publicly available web data. If so, make sure to implement those ideas as soon as possible because today it helps you defeat your competitors and arise from the crowd. But soon, it won’t be so efficient as each business will need to use web scraping to keep up.