Brought to you by Scraping Robot:
Have you ever heard of web scraping? If you have, there’s a good chance you associate the technology with “hacking” or invasions of privacy.
But the reality is this: travel conglomerates, search engines, online retailers, and many more highly-respected businesses are web scraping all the time. Google, the fourth largest tech company in the world, is only able to exist because it indexes the entire internet through web scraping. And yet, Google takes actions against companies that try to scrape it.
Data scraping is a necessary and increasingly common tool that is transforming business intelligence. It’s part of the table stakes for competing online, especially in online retail. And it’s as easy for you to use as it is for the Alphabet corporation.
What is Data Scraping?
Data scraping – also known as “web scraping” – is the process of collecting publicly available information from a webpage. The name comes from the idea that you “scrape” the data that’s valuable to you from the rest of the content on the page.
For example, let’s say you’re an online retailer who wants to use a price scraping tool to analyze changes in competitors’ prices in real-time. You simply give the tool a list of URLs of some competitors’ eCommerce pages (Amazon product pages, for example), and the tool will automatically find the prices on that page and return the data to you.
How to Gather Competitive Intelligence with Scraping
The goal of every business owner is to constantly improve. Improve your products. Improve your content. Improve your marketing strategies. Collecting competitive business intelligence lets you see what your competitors are doing right (so you can do it too) and what they’re doing wrong (so you can avoid it.) Basically, you’re profiting from their experience and learning from their mistakes.
One of the things that stumps a lot of business owners is how to gather competitive intelligence. How do you collect the data you need without spending a lot of time and resources and hurting your business?
A cheap (or free) web scraper with a low barrier to entry is the answer. Scraping is the easiest way to collect a large volume of data in a short amount of time. You can use it to compare prices (as mentioned above), get publicly-available information from competitor websites, collect sentiment analysis from social media platforms, check your search engine rankings, and much more.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time for the small business owner to reap the benefits of big data just like the huge conglomerates are already doing. It’s time… for scraping!