Web scraping extracts information from websites. This process can be redundant in thousands or even millions of websites. Web scraping is a vital process for SEO. It’s used for various reasons including but not limited to auditing websites and providing context to web analytics.

Once the data has been extracted from its source, it’ll be structured into an easy-to-read format. Data analysis or processing isn’t part of the process yet.

What is Web Scraping And Data Extraction?

Web scraping automates the process of getting the data shown by websites. This can be done either to a database or to your computer.

Web Scraping

Web scraping has the capability of gathering significant volume of data from different websites. This gathered data is oftentimes unstructured. They’re normally presented in HTML format. From there, it’s converted into structured data saved in a database or spreadsheet.

There are countless ways of performing web scraping. Some popular options are by using API, online services or creating your custom web scraping code.

Data Extraction

Through data extraction, consolidating, processing and refining data becomes possible. Once completed, it can now be saved in a centralized location. Such locations might be a cloud-based server, onsite server or perhaps, a hybrid of the said options.

Big organizations and companies in almost every sector and industry will have to extract data sooner or later.

Is Web Scraping Illegal?

Web scraping publicly available data online is totally legal. It becomes illegal when you start scraping for intellectual property or private data.
It’s not illicit or shady as what others would see it. However, much like any activity, there are limitations on to what we can and we can’t do with scraping. Hence, avoid scraping practices for private data or intellectual property.

What Is The Difference Between Web Scraping And Web Crawling?

In essence, web scraping is focused on data extraction of multiple websites. Crawling on the other hand is discovering or finding links or URLs on the internet.

Web Scraping

Web scraping is all about data fields that you wish to extract from certain websites. With scraping, you almost always know the target websites. While you might not have idea of the specific URLs but at least, you already know the domains.

Web Crawling

data gathering using web spiders
There is a big chance you neither know the specific URLs nor the domains. This is exactly the reason why you should be using crawling – because you want to look for URLs. These URLs you found will then be used for something in the future.

An example of this would be search engines. Search engines are crawling the internet so it’ll be able to index pages. From there, it can display them from its search results.

How Does Web-Scraping Help SEO?

SEO competition is tough. It is imperative to be quick in learning web scraping techniques. To help you in the process, web scraping tools will be necessary. After all, the goal for using such tool is to aid in market research and your competition regarding their existing SEO strategies. From there, you can do your own campaign and start scaling.

What To Use Web Scraping & Data Extraction For?

Web scraping and data extraction have tons of uses. Collecting keywords, linkbuilding, finding contents, analyzing your niche, and automating data extractions are only some of it.

Collecting Keywords

You don’t have to do everything from scratch. You simply have to improve what is out there. Say that your rivals have a blogsite, just scrape their page to find out the keywords they’re using or targeting. Copying the keywords they’re targeting is okay. What is not okay is copying their blog content by the word.

Say you have an eCommerce store. You can scrape for keywords on the products they offer by scraping its product data. This process allows you to create a list of keywords to work on.

Linkbuilding Opportunities

using linkbuilding opportunities to be discoverable

Your SEO efforts will not be complete without linkbuilding. Its purpose is to help search engines uncover new websites and determine which among these are going to rank up. Today, there are several ways to take advantage of linkbuilding opportunities like guest posting, broken linkbuilding and niche edits.

Guest Posting

Writing content for website of another company within the same industry is what guest posting is about. This is heavily used in SEO to generate traffic back to the homepage, improve domain authority by utilizing external links to known domains, increasing brand awareness and credibility and also, to build strong relationship.

This creates a win-win situation both for the website that is hosting the content and the guest blogger.

This strategy is commonly used to gain quality backlinks. SEMRush and Ahrefs are two of the popular tools used to see what websites are linking to your competitors.

Broken Linkbuilding

Data extraction is one of the most powerful tools out there for broken link building. With data extraction, you can quickly and easily identify broken links on other websites in your niche and use them to your advantage.

First, you can use data extraction to find broken links on other websites. Once you’ve identified them, you can contact the webmaster and offer to provide a replacement link to your website. This strategy works particularly well if the other website is in the same niche as yours.

This can be a great way to build your backlink profile and boost your website’s visibility. This follows a 4-stage process:

  1. Finding broken sites that have backlinks
  2. Vetting the backlinks
  3. Creating a replacement site
  4. Performing outreach

Niche Edits

Data extraction is an invaluable tool for niche edits. It allows you to quickly gather data from a variety of sources, making it easy to create targeted edits for your content.

For instance, you could use data extraction to find blog posts/page related to a particular topic, and then use that data to gain strong backlinks.

Find Content Opportunities

Web scraping is effective for market research and for SEO articles. Through this, it can give idea on what keywords to write on and even discover what your competitors are using or working on. It helps in closing the content gap with your competition. Better yet, be the leader in your niche or industry.

Mapping and analyzing your customer’s journey in your website are an effective way to fix/close content gaps. You can support this by writing informative articles and helpful tutorials on the service or product you’re offering.

Web scraping can greatly help with filling out the content gap by showing you many new keywords and therefore content opportunities. You can do this either by analyzing competitors or your own website and identifying so called “low hanging fruits”, these are keywords website is already ranking for but usually with less related piece of content.

Analyze Your Niche

Performing analysis on your rivals lets you discover new angles on how have an edge of the market. Analysis demands proactiveness.

There are countless things you can learn from your competitor. For example, it lets you know whether they’re planning to introduce a new service or product, learn about their ways of generating traffic, how they do lead conversions, an idea of their advertising and marketing strategies and so forth.

Save Time Compared To Manual Extraction

improved data collection via automation

Unlike if it is automated, you can use this time to more important aspects of your SEO campaign. You can also streamline comparisons for better data analysis.

Automated data extraction enables you to download data in easy-to-read format like in:

  • XML
  • JSON
  • CSV
  • Excel

How To Extract Data Without Getting Blocked?

Web scraping efforts mainly requires third-party sites to extract data. Its purpose as well as the lengths in which the website will try to block your attempts is a different story. Luckily, IP rotation, headless browsers, and web crawling can prevent this from happening.

IP Rotation

visit websites using different IP

Sending a thousand request using the same IP on your target website will have you identified as a threat. At the same time, it’ll be the cause for having it blocked from accessing the page. Using proxy rotation, it’ll appear as if you’re from different users. This is going to significantly reduce your odds of being blocked.

Headless Browser

Headless browsers provide means to interact with your target website programmatically. There are sites that are just a bit challenging to scrape. These are the sites that’ll be checking for the tiniest details including:

  • Web fonts
  • Browser cookies
  • JavaScript
  • Extensions

These elements are checked in determining whether it’s a legitimate request or not. If you are serious in web scraping, a headless browser will be very useful.

Web Scrape Slowly

Scraping data as fast as you could is an appealing proposition. However, browsing speed of a person is fairly slow in comparison to web crawlers. This practice will have web owners detect that you are scraping. Optimize your web crawlers to prevent this from happening.

Consider adding random sleep delays between HTTPs requests as well as adding random delays/breaks while interacting with JavaScript content. This creates an impression that a real person’s behavior.

Tools For Web Scraping & Data Extraction

Extracting web information is the primary purpose of web scraping tools. It’s otherwise referred to as web harvesting tools. These are pretty useful for teams and anyone who is attempting to gather information from the internet.

What a Data Extraction Tool Does?

Before, developers were writing their own extract, transform, and load (ETL) tool in extracting and replicating data. This is okay if there’s single or a few data sources. But when there are more complex sources needed, following this approach can be time-consuming. Plus, it is not scalable.

There are now cloud based ETL tools available. This connects both unstructured and structured data sources to the target location without maintaining or writing codes. All this while eliminating compromising data loading and extraction. In return, there’s easier data access to anyone who needs it for data analytics.

Google Autocomplete

You’d notice that Google automatically populates your search suggestions after typing a word, or at times just a letter. That is exactly the function of autocomplete. It is programmed to make faster searches.

The main objective of autocomplete is to reduce the time that users spent typing through predictions. This is also applicable to websites by using Google’s built-in Custom Search Engine.

SEO Minion

SEO Minion is a browser extension for Firefox and Chrome. It’s useful for streamlining various SEO tasks like broken link checking, SERP preview and on-page analysis.

  • Broken link check – you’ll be notified of any broken link with this feature by highlighting it. There are a total of 7 categories for broken links. For instance, a purple highlight indicates that redirect is not working, then if red, the link doesn’t exists while white means there’s unknown error. Using this feature, you can do real-time analysis of websites.
  • SERP tool – this tool enables you to have a preview of how your page looks like in various search engines. Using the SERP tool, you can determine whether you have a meta title or description that is too long or too short. You have the power to preview get a preview of your website’s image, URL, etc.
  • On-page SEO Analysis – this feature sends alerts in the event that your title is either too long or short. It’s capable of detecting if your meta descriptions and headings have the necessary keywords. If needed, it can be used to perform thorough analysis of your website from the images used, open graph, title, URL and many others.

Keywords Everywhere

Keywords Everywhere is another extension tool for Chrome and Firefox. Using this tool, you only have to load the content you want to check and click on “Analyze Page”. From the results, you’ll be presented with vital information like CPC, keyword competition, check volume search and of course, the keywords detected.

SEO Search Simulator

SEO Simulator was developed by Nightwatch as a Chrome extension. This simplifies tasks for those who like to check website positions in Google. This extension execute neutral search requests on Google straight from your browser. It is straightforward to use and doesn’t need users to be in incognito mode, use proxy or even VPN.

SEO Simulator is aggregating data from multiple search engines and other important SEO. From there, it generates an easy-to-read report. This can be used improving SEO campaign and other efforts to rank up. Other tools that can be used to support the simulator includes but not limited to traffic change tracking and backlink monitoring.

Web Scraper Chrome extension

Web Scraper Chrome extension is a tool that can be used for website data extraction. The extension tool follows the Sitemap to scrape data from given websites. The tool is going to scrape websites that is coded from Ajax and JavaScript. The output data will be stored in either JSON or CSV format.

SERP Analyzer

SERP serves as the foundation of everything you’d do that’s related to SEO. The analysis focus on studying SERP or Search Engine Results Page. This is important in figuring out why and how top-ranking sites are doing well in search query. Using SERP analyzer tool, your team can have deeper understanding of the challenges and opportunities in targeting specific keywords.

Some information it can collect are keywords that generate maximum conversions, strategies used by competitors and even analyze the traffic source. These data can be used to develop a strong plan in improving online presence and attracting organic traffic. If done right, this will yield new traffic to your website.

Conclusion: Should Web-Scraping Be Part of an SEO Plan?

how web scraping can help in SEO

Search Engine algorithms are very dynamic. One day your SEO campaign is delivering promising results and then the next, it’s nothing. To sustain growth, there will be a need for constant stream of data. Checking competitions on their strategies, keyword used, and other campaign efforts is a must to stay on top of your game.
Integrating web scraping as part of your SEO plan will be crucial to achieve your goals. This deliver the needed data in an easy-to-read format without the time-consuming process of doing it manually.

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