11 usages for web scraping

Dataset Jul 16, 2020

and why you should start scraping the web now

Many people ask themselves the question, how do I improve in the areas covered below. In a lot of the cases it's important to know that web scraping plays a major role in it and that it's actually rather easy to get started.

With web scraping you can extract data from any website and as some may say "Data is the new gold". There is so much important data to be gathered from websites that you can make great business decisions on.

Below are our 11 usages for web scraping and why you should start scraping now.

Build your new product

No Code tools are on a rise. They allow you to create certain flows, analyze data, create stunning websites and more without any knowledge of coding. You don't have to be a technical founder anymore to start a business. But what many people don't know about web scraping is that you can leverage it to use that data as input to your new application. For example, you want to create a mobile application that shows the latest cryptocurrency prices? No problem, it only takes an hour.

SEO

Having organic growth is next to direct traffic, the biggest source of traffic coming to your website. Sadly it's also the hardest one to optimize for. It requires a lot of persistence, monitoring and analyzing to get ranked among the top. Even when you're at the top you still have to optimize for click throughs on your links. Tough business! Luckily this is where web scraping is very powerful. It can help to decrease your workload and automate some tasks for you. For example:

and a lot more.

Dataset creation

One of the big tasks of a data scientist, computer vision specialist and others that need data is the creation of a trustworthy and well composed dataset. Web scraping can take any website list and compose it into a usable data stream that you can build on top of. If you have a great tool like Scraper.AI you can also monitor that data and keep your dataset up-to-date in the land of fast changing data.

Competitor tracking

Knowing the competition is one of the most valuable techniques there is. It helps you to connect to your audience but also makes you stay on top of your sector. Having a web scraper and being to extract the prices of a webshop of your competitor ensures you that you can be the cheapest out there.

For beginning startups they can for example monitor new comers in their space and see what approach they're taking. It might mean that they've found product market fit.

Discovery

Where it all starts, the starts with is replaced with a fancy arrow (➜)

  • Starting a business ➜ Discovering an idea
  • Getting started with SEO ➜ Discovering keywords
  • Knowing your competition ➜ Discovering your competitors
  • Investing ➜ Discovering what to invest in
  • Buying a property ➜ Discovering a property
  • Making money on stocks ➜ Discovering what stocks to buy
  • ...

This list can go on for a long while, an action almost always starts with the discovery of something. Discovering means that you want to get the data that justifies the decision you're gonna take to get to that action.

You might want to watch stock websites to get to learn about price changes of your favourite stock.

Web scraping can get these latests stocks, properties, and many more.

Product monitoring

You're a vendor, dropshipper, amazon seller or anyone that sells a product. A major part will be making sure that you're product fulfills certain demands. You want to watch for reviews, correct pricing, advertising, ... it's a lot of work.

Scraping reviews ensures that you can sustain you're high rating, act on low ratings and make sure that they get resolved correctly. Watching prices from competitors, analyzing your advertising metrics in one dashboard. They can all be automated with web scraping. In essence you're making your personalized software product.

Marketing automation

Finding potential influencers becomes a lot easier, you can go to instagram, facebook, quora, ... and get a list of comments or profiles with most views, likes, watches. The only thing you have to do is open up the scraper, select the names and you're ready to go. Most websites don't show emails anymore due to privacy reasons, but you can private message them or use some other tools to get the email for that user.

Lead generation

A great way to get interesting prospects for your business is generating leads. As soon as you have leads you can setup a sales pipeline and get these leads converted to customers.

Getting the leads

But getting these leads is not always straightforward. You first need to find your audience. Luckily there are already great tools out there like LinkedIn search, yellow pages, google maps, angellist, producthunt, ... They all have one thing in common. They show you a list of leads. Great! Because this means we can extract the data from that list and convert it to something usable for us, an excel file, csv, ... anything we need to get these leads converted and expand our business.

Investment optimization

As a Venture Capital firm you might be interested in startups that were backed by others VCs, you can just go to their page, spend an hour or so per day and get that list. Or you can scrape and monitor them. You can extract the data every day and get notified when a new startup gets added.

By also combining this with dataset creation you can go in the history of a startup and minimize the risk you take in investing in a startup.

Finance

Stocks, crypto, personal finances and more are something everyone has touched at least once. But it involves a lot of manual labour.

Cryptocurrency or stock investors might find themselves looking at listing sites hourly to get the latest prices and volumes. Monitoring these could come in handy and web scrapers can get you this information in no time, leaving you with more time to do the analysis. Some services also offer direct API endpoints making it as easy to integrate as possible

Your personal finances are important, you can scrape them and get notified when a bill comes through, a salary gets deposited and more. Become aware of any event that happens at any time.

Real estate monitoring

Buying a property can be painful, there are plenty of listing sites, aggregators, agents and more and they all have their own time schedule. And when a property gets listed it's a race to get there as the first potential buyer.

Automate this process and let it scrape every hour to get a list of new additions or updates and make sure that you're among the first to get there. Among the first I say because there are others doing exactly the same!

Summary

Web scraping is not new and has proven to be valuable. It can automate time-consuming tasks and leave you with more time in hand to focus on the exact problem you're trying to solve. Being from analyzing data to buying a property. Extracting data from the web has never been this easy and should be a must-do to get most out of your business.

Resources


Hey 👋, My name is Maxim from https://scraper.ai. Let us know what you think in the comments below

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