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How Web Scraping Can Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

How Web Scraping Can Improve Your Digital Marketing Strategy

Businesses of all sizes rely on data in today's digital age to make well-informed choices while enhancing their marketing strategies. On the other hand, the tremendous amount of data available online can be daunting and time-consuming to acquire and evaluate. 

This is where web scraping allows you to swiftly and efficiently collect website data. 

You can acquire significant insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and competition activity by harnessing the power of web scraping. This blog will look at the advantages of web scraping and how it may help your digital marketing approach. 

This guide will give you the knowledge and resources to take your advertising campaigns to the next level, whether you're an entrepreneur with a small company or a seasoned advertising professional.

What Is Web Scraping?

What Is Web Scraping

Web scraping is the process of automatically getting organised data from the web. It's also called web data extraction or scraping by many people.

The most common ways to use web scraping are to track prices, get price information, track news, find leads, do market research, and so on.

For instance, scraping data from social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn, among others, is known as social media scraping. Social media scraping differs from other types of web scraping in that social media sites' interfaces, algorithms, and policies are frequently updated, making it difficult to scrape data from these platforms.

People and businesses use social media scraping to get helpful information from freely available web data and make better decisions.

Suppose you've ever manually copied and pasted information from a website. In that case, you've done the same thing a web scraper does, except you did it by hand. 

Web scraping uses innovative technology to get hundreds, millions, or even billions of data points from the internet, which has no end. This is in contrast to the time-consuming process of getting data by hand.

You'll need to know more about the basics of web scraping or web data extraction, whether you use a web scraper to get web data or hire a web data extraction partner to do it for you.

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Basics of a Web Scraper

A web scraper makes getting information from other websites easy and quick by automating the process. The extracted data is given to you in an organised way, which makes it easier to understand and use in your projects. 

A web crawler and a web scraper are the two parts of the process that make it work.

The scraper is the wagon, and the web crawler is the horse. The crawler guides the scraper through the internet as if done by hand. The scraper then gets the data that was asked for.

Benefits of Web Scraping in Digital Marketing

Benefits Of Web Scraping Digital Marketing

Web scraping can be a helpful technique in digital marketing for gathering data on consumer behaviour, industry trends, and competition activity. This paper will look at the advantages of web scraping in digital marketing.

Provides Valuable Insights Into Consumer Behaviour

One of the key advantages of web scraping is the potential to acquire a substantial understanding of consumer behaviour. 

Marketers can adjust their marketing initiatives to better match the needs of their target audience by gathering data on customer preferences, search trends, and purchasing activity. 

A store, for example, could employ web scraping to examine the products customers look for, the internet pages they visit, and the social media platforms they use. This data can generate better-targeted adverts and promotions more likely to pique customers' interest.

Helps Identify Market Trends

Another advantage of web scraping is the capacity to spot market trends. Marketers may stay current on the latest trends and upcoming technology by gathering data on industry-specific subjects. 

A fashion retailer, for example, could employ web scraping to track fashion blogs and social media accounts for information on current fashion trends. This data might then be utilised to create new lines of goods and marketing efforts that align with current fashion trends.

Helps Monitor Competitor Activity

Web scraping can also be utilised to track what your competitors are up to. Marketers can acquire insights into their competitors' methods and find areas where their campaigns can be improved by researching rival websites and online profiles. 

For instance, a restaurant owner could use web scraping to track their competitors' menu items and costs. This data might then be utilised to change their menu offerings and prices to remain competitive.

Saves Time and Resources

Web scraping can also help you save time and money. Marketers may extract vast amounts of data quickly and efficiently using automated tools and scripts. This spares them the time and money required to collect and analyse the same data manually.

Application of Web Scraping Strategies in Digital Marketing

Best Web Scraping Tools Octoparse

Businesses of all sizes rely on data in today's digital age to make informed decisions to enhance their marketing strategies. On the other hand, the tremendous amount of online data can be confusing and time-consuming to acquire and evaluate. 

This is where web scraping comes in, a powerful tool that allows you to swiftly and efficiently collect data from websites. We will look at the numerous uses of web scraping in digital marketing.

Improving SEO Strategies

Web scraping is used in digital marketing to improve search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies. Businesses can boost their website's SEO and online exposure by collecting data from search engines and researching keyword patterns. 

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Companies, for example, might spot weaknesses in their SEO strategy and adjust their content accordingly by monitoring the terms that competitors are ranking for.

Enhance Social Media Marketing

Web scraping can also help with social media marketing. Businesses can obtain knowledge about consumer behaviour, gauge sentiment surrounding their brand, and find industry influencers by scraping data from social media networks. 

A fashion retailer, for example, could employ web scraping to study the engagement rates and demography of social media followers to build targeted social media ads that are more likely to resonate with their target audience.

Strengthen Email Marketing Campaigns

Web scraping can also help to improve email marketing strategies. Businesses can increase the performance of their email marketing operations by scraping information from email campaigns and monitoring open and click-through rates. Companies may enhance engagement rates in future efforts by evaluating the subject letters and content that produce effective email messages.

Blog Content Scraping

The scraping of blog content is another vital part of modern marketing. Good evergreen content is one of the few things that can repeatedly bring low-cost traffic to your website.

Blog posts, like how-to articles and help guides, can get your business on the top page of Google and bring in a steady stream of visitors and sales.

So, it's good to know what your rivals have done in the past when planning your content strategy.

You could do a simple project with a web scraper to get your competitors' blog names, URLs, meta tags, and more.

This would give you a good list of themes and topics to start working with immediately. Get to work and start writing!

Different Types of Web Scrapers

Self-built or pre-built web scrapers, browser apps or software web scrapers, and cloud or local web scrapers are just some ways that web scrapers can be broken down.

Self-Built Web Scrapers

You can make your Web scrapers, but you must know much about code. And if you want your Web Scraper to have more tools, you need to know even more. On the other hand, pre-built Web Scrapers are scrapers that have already been made and are easy to download and run. You can also change some of the more complicated settings on these.

Browser Extensions Web Scraper

Add-ons for browsers Web scrapers are computer add-ons that let you get information from the web. These are easy to use because they are built into your browser. However, because of this, they are also restricted. Browser extension Web Scrapers can't run any fancy features beyond what your browser can do. 

Software Web Scrapers

On the other hand, Web Scrapers are unlimited in this way because you can download and run them on your computer. These are more complicated than browser-based web scrapers but also have advanced features that your browser can't do.

Cloud Web Scrapers

Cloud web scrapers run on the cloud, an off-site server usually provided by the company where you buy the scraper. These let your computer do other things because it doesn't have to use any of its resources to get info from websites.Β 

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Local Web Scrapers

On the other hand, local web scrapers run on your computer and use local resources. So, if the Web scrapers need more CPU or RAM, your machine will slow down and can't do other things.

Web Scraping Best Practices to Enhance Your Digital Marketing

Web Scraping Illegal Misunderstanding Web Crawling Data Extraction Myths

Web scraping is helpful in many fields, such as marketing, real estate, travel, finance, and many more, because it makes it easy to collect data automatically from online sources. On the other hand, some sites want their information to be free of scrap. 

Websites use various anti-scraping techniques to stop and limit web scraping to their material. Aside from problems with anti-scraping, other things make it hard to scrape websites, such as CAPTCHAs, changing content, and honeypots.

Parse and Check Extracted Data Regularly

For web crawling to work appropriately, the data that has been parsed must be checked constantly.

Data processing is changing data from one format to another, like HTML to JSON, CSV, or any other format you want. After you get info from web sources, you have to “parse” it. This makes it easy for data scientists and developers to look at the collected data and figure out what to do with it. 

Once you collect data from multiple websites will likely be in different forms, such as informal or unstructured, making it easier to read and understand. A data parsing tool goes through text sources and uses rules already set up to build a data structure. Scraped data must be parsed before being analysed further and used to get value.Β 

Data parsing can be done at the end of the search process. Still, users might notice problems after that happens. We suggest manually checking the data parsed automatically and regularly to ensure the crawler and parser are working correctly. 

Discovering that you've scraped many pages would be a disaster, but the data you got from them is useless. These problems happen when the source websites mistake traffic from scraping bots for traffic they don't want and give the wrong information to the bot.

Choose the Right Web Crawling Tool for Your Website

Web crawling tools are necessary for collecting data from websites, but selecting the proper tool can be difficult. We will look at the aspects you should consider when choosing a web crawling tool to ensure that it matches your goals and gives the desired results for your website. You can build your own web scraper or use one that is already made to get information from web sources.

Making Your Web Scraper

Python is a popular computer language that can be used to make a web scraping bot. It is a good choice for beginners because it has a large and growing community, which makes it easier to solve issues. 

There are a lot of web scraping tools for Python, like Selenium, Beautifulsoup, Scrapy, and others. You need to choose the one that works best for your project. Here are the five basic steps you need to take to make your web scraper in Python:

  • Choose the website with the information you want to get.
  • Check the source code of the page to see the page's parts and look for the info you want to get.
  • Type in the code.
  • Run the code to ask the target website to let you join.
  • Save the collected data in the format you want so that you can analyse it later.
  • You can change your web scraper to meet your wants. On the other hand, building a computer scraper takes time because it takes work. 
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You must use a proxy server with your web scraper to get information from well-protected websites or scrape many web pages. Residential proxies and ISP proxy servers would be the best ways to keep web scraping safe and solve IP bans problems.

ISPs (Internet Service Providers) that belong to real people give out the IP addresses of home and ISP proxies. Compared to data centre proxies, they give you more privacy.

Using a Web Scraper That's Already Made

Web Scraping Google Trends

Many open-source and low-code/no-code web scrapers are already built. You don't have to write a single line of code to get information from various websites. You can add these web scrapers as browser extensions to simplify web scraping jobs. If you need to learn more about writing, low-code or no-code web scrapers could be very helpful.

Suppose security is the most important thing to you when you're web scraping. In that case, you can use a VPN to protect your IP address and private data while extracting data. Both proxies and VPNs hide the actual IP address of a client and give them a new one. Unlike proxy servers, VPNs encrypt all information between clients and web servers.

See if the Website Has an API

APIs create a data pipeline between clients and target websites so that clients can access the target website's information. Since APIs give approved access to data, you don't have to worry about being blocked by the site. They are provided to you by the website whose info you want to get. So, the first thing you need to do is see if the website has an API.

You can use free and paid web scraping APIs to get website information. For example, Google Maps API changes its prices depending on how often and how much a requester uses it. Using APIs to get website data is acceptable if the scraper follows the website's API rules.

To Escape Request Throttling, Use Ips That Change and Proxy Servers

Different anti-scraping methods are used by websites to control how many web crawlers visit them and to protect themselves from destructive bot activity. Web servers can quickly tell the difference between bot traffic and human traffic based on the number of page hits, the length of a session, etc. 

For example, suppose you try to connect to the same website multiple times quickly without changing your IP address. In that case, the website will think you are sending “non-human traffic” and block your IP address. 

Proxy services hide their clients' real IP addresses, so websites can't find out who they are. Proxy servers are split into two groups based on how often their IP address changes: static and changing. Rotating proxies, which are different from regular proxies like data centres and ISP proxies, change the IP addresses of clients every time they request the target website. Sites will likely notice and block bot activity from a single IP address.

Pay Attention to the ‘robots.txt' File.

A robots.txt file is a list of rules that tells web crawlers which parts of a website can be accessed. Websites use files called “robots.txt” to control how many crawlers visit them and keep their web servers from getting too busy with connection requests. 

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Websites, for example, can add a file called “robots.txt” to their web server to keep videos and pictures from showing up in Google search results. The Google bot can still crawl the source page, but the images are no longer shown in search results. By putting the type of bot as the user agent, you can give different bots different directions. 

Utilised a Headless Browser

A web browser that doesn't have a user interface is called a “headless browser.” Regular web browsers show a website's parts, such as scripts, pictures, and videos. Headless browsers don't have to turn off visual content to show everything on a website.

Let's say you want to get information from a website with much media. A web browser-based scraper will load all of the page's visual communication. A regular web browser-based scraper would take a long time to scrape multiple websites. 

Web scrapers that use a headless browser don't show the images in the page code. It gets information from the page without showing the whole page. This makes scraping the web faster and helps the scraper get around traffic limits.

Make Your Computer Fingerprint Less Unique

When you browse the internet, websites use different “browser fingerprinting” techniques to keep track of what you do and learn more about you to give you more personalised material the next time you visit.

When you ask your web browser to show you the text of a website, for example, it sends your request to the website you want to see. The target computer server can see your digital fingerprint, which is made up of things like:

IP address, Browser type, Operating system type, Time cone Browser add-ons, User agent, Screen size, etc.

Your target web server will block your IP address to stop you from scraping if your fingerprints show that your behaviour is strange. Use a proxy or VPN to prevent your browser from leaving a trail. When you try to connect to a website, a VPN or proxy service will hide your IP address so your machine isn't found out. Consider exploring the best VPN browser extension to enhance online privacy and security, ensuring a safe and anonymous browsing experience.

Legal Considerations When Web Scraping

Regarding web scraping, it is critical to evaluate the legal consequences and guarantee that you are not infringing on any laws or copyrights. While there is no definitive answer to whether online scraping is legal, it is critical to follow the website's terms of service, follow the robots.txt file, and avoid collecting private or sensitive data. 

Furthermore, obtaining permission or a license to use the scraped data is critical, especially if the material is copyrighted. Web scraping may also breach data protection and privacy laws in some situations. Thus, it is essential to be aware of these laws and seek authorisation from the persons collecting data. 

Businesses can use this powerful technology ethically and responsibly by understanding the legal implications and best practices for web scraping.

Closing Points

Web scraping has become a vital tool for digital marketers wanting to gather insights into customer habits, market trends, and competitor activity. Businesses may improve their SEO strategy, social media marketing, email campaigns, and competitor monitoring by scraping and evaluating data from numerous web sources. However, organisations must know the legal issues and best practices for online scraping to avoid privacy violations and copyright infringement. Finally, organisations may obtain a competitive advantage in their field and drive profitability for their digital marketing efforts by embracing the potential of web scraping and employing it ethically and responsibly.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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