Website Scraping – Extract Your Data


Website scraping, also known as Web Data Extraction, Web harvesting or Screen Scraping is the process of extracting large amounts of data from any given website, which is then stored locally in the local disk of the computer or in the form of a spreadsheet format. Data that is displayed by most websites can mainly be used for the purpose of viewing by consumers. These data are not open for copying on a large scale process locally. In such cases, one might be forced to copy the relevant data and simply paste in the computer file location. However, this is a tedious job as it takes up hours, days and even months, depending on the size of the date needed to be downloaded. This is where website scraping comes into the picture. Website scraping helps to automate this process of copying and pasting by loading and extracting the relevant data from many website pages at a single time, thereby saving man-hours and manpower.

The various techniques of Web Scraping

  1. Human copy paste – Some websites set up intricate barriers that do not allow Web Scraping to mine data from those websites. In such cases, human copy-pasting is the only method that comes in handy to get the desired data.
  2. Text Pattern Matching – The UNIX grep command or regular expression-matching facilities like Python offer simple methods of matching texts that have been set to be mined from the data, thereby facilitating easy web scraping.
  3. HTTP programming – In the case of static and dynamic websites, socket programming is used to post HTTP requests to the remote web servers to allow seamless data mining.

Benefits of Web Scraping

  1. Businesses require data on e-commerce websites to learn about the prices, discounts, and quality of products provided by them to get a better idea about their rivals and improve their own situation in the business market.
  2. Data mined regarding an individual or a company can be later used for statistical processes like analytics, comparisons and even investment decisions in the future.
  3. All websites depend on the choice of the consumers. The reputations of the websites depend on the liking of its users. So, by scraping data from the social media pages, the online website company can get a clear picture about its position in the market, what changes it must accomplish in order to satisfy customers and draw in new customers into the website.
  4. Online shopping mainly depends on past reviews. In order to catch fraudulent fake reviews that may affect the business in an adverse manner, web scraping comes into play to detect and locate such fake reviews.