Modern businesses are now backed by data-driven strategies, which have helped them thrive in an increasingly competitive industry. These companies use various web scraping tools to extract the data they need online and analyze it so that they can implement them in their business strategies.
However, you’ll still encounter a fair share of challenges when web scraping online, especially in terms of website access.
Fortunately, there are numerous pieces of advice online that can help you overcome these obstacles and successfully extract the data you need.
Benefits of Web Scraping for Businesses
Before we discuss the obstacles you might encounter when web scraping, let’s first take a closer look at the benefits you can enjoy from the process.
1. Monitoring Your Competition
The competition has become fiercer in the business industry over the years, which means business owners need to adapt if they want to survive and thrive. This is where web scraping comes in handy.
With web scraping tools, you can easily monitor what your competitors are up to and adapt your strategies to stay ahead. You can also use these tools to scrape information about pricing, ad campaigns, and trends to remain at the top of your game.
2. Generating Leads
Another benefit of web scraping is that you can generate additional leads for your company and expand your database of potential customers. This will also allow you to broaden your brand’s reach and discover the right people to market your products and services to.
3. Optimizing Your Products
You can also use web scraping to gather relevant data online and ensure that your products actually meet your target market’s needs and demands.
With web scraping, you can extract relevant data from your market, such as customer sentiments, market trends, and more, to optimize your offers and improve your chances of a successful product launch.
Successful Web Scraping: the Top Pieces of Advice to Follow
Web scraping offers many benefits to entrepreneurs, but you should note that there are challenges that come with the territory.
One of the primary obstacles businesses face when web scraping is the possibility of getting banned or blocked from a website they’re trying to access. Websites have different security measures in place to detect suspicious activities and ban the source.
So, how can you avoid being banned and successfully extract the information you need online? Here are the top pieces of advice you need to follow:
1. Rotate Your IP Address
One of the primary ways websites detect and flag suspicious activities is when they receive multiple simultaneous requests from a single IP address. Your IP address serves as your identification online, containing information like your location, browser type, among others.
So, if you want to avoid getting blocked or banned when web scraping, you will need to use tools that will rotate your IP address to make it look like the requests are coming from different users instead of just one.
Proxy servers are excellent options for this, but you can also use a scraper API to mask your web scraping activities. You might be wondering, “what is API?” and “what is a scraper API?”
An API or Application Programming Interface is a system that allows two software solutions to communicate with each other. It serves as the “messenger” between you and the website you’re asking for information from.
On the other hand, a scraper API is an API that’s designed explicitly for web scraping purposes. It’s designed to extract large amounts of data at once. Scraper APIs also implement security mechanisms that prevent you from getting banned, such as rotating your IP address. If you’d like to dive deeper into this topic, this article shows how APIs work. Dive in to answer the question, “What is API?”
2. Slow Down the Process
With automated tools, you can extract the data you need in the shortest amount of time possible. However, the danger to this practice is that websites are more likely to flag your web scraping activities as a bot-like activity since regular browsing tends to be slower than what automated tools do.
So, if you want to avoid being banned from a website, make sure you slow down the process by adding a short delay in between requests. There are online tools that can add these intervals automatically so that your web scraping tools don’t spam the website with multiple requests.
3. Use Different Patterns for Web Scraping
Another way you can avoid being detected for web scraping activities is by varying your tools’ patterns when extracting data from a website. Using different web scraping patterns will closely resemble typical online user behavior and avoid sounding the alarms.
To do this, you can include random clicks or mouse movements to mimic how web users browse online.
4. Utilize Real User Agents
Websites can also analyze the HTTP headers of your web requests, and they can use the information they find there, such as your operating system and software, to determine whether or not they should ban you from the website.
You can avoid this by utilizing the most common user agents in your web requests to mimic organic user behavior online. Common user agents contain the most popular web requests configurations that enable websites to identify bot-like activities on their servers.
Web scraping is undeniably helpful for businesses since it allows them to extract valuable data from online resources that they can use to optimize their own operations. However, the process has its own challenges, including the possibility of getting banned or blocked by the websites you’re trying to access.
With that said, hopefully, these pieces of advice have helped you learn more about the benefits of web scraping, as well as what you can do to safely and successfully obtain the information you need.