Net surfing might be the only thing you have done until now, but web scraping is a way to take your online searches to a whole new level. There are multiple web scraping projects that you can take on as a newbie. Particularly, if you’re running a business or planning to start one, you might be wondering what other people are up to in a similar domain and how you can beat your competitors with something better.
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Web scraping, however, requires the use of proxies (IPs) for added security to extract the data. This works by hiding your original IP address and using a ‘middleman’ to connect to the website. It keeps the process anonymous and prevents from revealing the identity of the scraper. In this regard, many scrapers implement IP rotation as it changes the identity every time on each website and lets you transgress anti-scraping measures. This also helps surpass data scraping limits.
There are several web scraping project ideas as well as proxy options in the queue, but first, you must get yourself familiar with the process.
What Is Web Scraping?
Also called web data extraction and web harvesting, Web scraping is the process of skimming and collecting information from websites and utilizing it for different purposes. This is mainly done through the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) or internet browsers.
Web scraping is all fun up until you look farther than the on-page data. It’s a complex practice, however, and needs a programmer to perform the necessary coding. Many programming experts use python web scraping projects to automate the process of collecting public data via HTML files. Nevertheless, all thanks to the web scraping tools and web scraping projects tutorials, this daunting task has become much quicker and easier.
Why Is Web Scraping done?
If you’re still thinking about the need for web scraping, we’ll tell you why you need web scraping in the first place. The answer to it primarily depends upon the kind of information you need to extract from similar websites/service providers. Your goal defines the purpose.
Companies usually use web scraping as a tool to analyze their competitors and draw industry-targeted insights using massive online data. This information can include product specifics, customer reviews, stock prices, lead generation, price comparisons, and much more. In the world of digital marketing, corporate giants such as Apple and Amazon, invest massive amounts in deriving customers’ persona to run personalized ads and market the right way.
Well, you must be wondering that if data can be copied and pasted manually on the paper, then why should you look for data scraping tools? Well, it’s because tools collect the relevant data quickly and export them into more useful formats such as a spreadsheet. As websites have different layouts, web scrapers also vary in their functionalities.
To learn about the wondrous benefits of web scraping and which method you can best opt for your web scraping projects, stick to reading further. You’ll also find how to implement IP rotation for personal web scraping projects.
Which Proxy Type to use for Web Scraping
Mainly, there exist two types of Web Scraping proxies when talked about how they are assigned;
- Residential Proxy
- Datacenter Proxy
None of them is deemed as the ‘best one’ to use for web scraping, however, the type of proxy you use depends primarily upon the web scraping project. The utmost considerations involve anonymity and security.
1. Residential Proxy
The salient features include:
- Hides IP address with that of a real one
- Tracks back to a genuine location
- Unable to be detected and obstructed as a proxy
Residential proxies being exceptionally safe to use, are ideal for scraping huge amounts of data. For instance, a challenging project like the accumulation of travel fare from numerous websites will require the use of Residential proxies.
2. Datacenter Proxy
Datacenter proxies get their IP addresses from large servers. These proxies get their location from cloud service and give high-speed internet hence benefitting your web scraping project. They are also available at a cheaper price than residential proxies.
However, it may get blocked by the sites owing to its less security. Web scraping projects such as market research, email, and brand protection may make use of these proxies.
Apart from these two, Shared and Dedicated proxies can be used owing to their user amount. Shared proxies come in cheaper as they allow multiple users to scrape the same site and hence can be blacklisted. Whereas dedicated proxies are expensive and restricted to a single user only.
How to implement IP rotation for personal web scraping projects
To avoid getting yourself blacklisted from the website amid scraping, IP rotation is normally practiced. It doesn’t let a site doubt one scraper extracting a lot of information; however, it gives the notion of multiple browsers reaching the site.
IP rotation is useful in the case of proxies that are free and limited to use. Also, to skip getting blocked due to the single IP address limits set by the website, dynamic proxies will help do the task.
Web Scraping Projects
Now that you are knowledgeable about Web Scraping, we’ve assorted a list of interesting web scraping project ideas. You can pick according to your business needs or personal preferences.
1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
To better understand web scraping for SEO, let us first explain what SEO is. Search Engine Optimization, widely known as SEO, is a way to rank your website on Google. We all click on the first few links for our searches and it’s all about topping the search algorithms for the relevant keyword. Well, it’s not an easy task and it’s where scrapers dive in.
To make things easier, people scrape high-ranking websites for their keywords. Once the list of keywords is extracted, website owners use this information to rank better on the search engine.
2. Market/Consumer Research
This could be performed for several reasons and all businesses do this before entering the marketplace or uplifting their trades. It’s important to read your consumer mind and know their preferences by drawing insights into your competitors’ businesses. For instance, to increase your sales, you’d want to know the consumer persona better and hence what novelty could be presented. To run a successful business, reaching potential clients and knowing their pain points is the key.
To execute consumer research, social media and review sites are the best places to scrape data from. Affiliate blogs are another good source to extract product information, its pros and cons, gaps, and much more. This information greatly helps in driving successful digital marketing campaigns.
3. Job Portal Scraping
One of the most common web scraping projects is extracting relevant information from job portals. Well, this is the best application of data science in human resources.
This helps people get relevant job data or even create a recruitment database. This works by quickly scraping the entire recent job posts in all the professional sectors. Multiple such websites exist with aggregated information of vacancies, and this is where a scraper can start extracting the job information. Many web scraping tools give the option to scrape and bring for the best and the latest job openings.
4. Product Price comparison
Once you find the product to buy or sell, knowing the best product price is the next big thing to do. If you manually hunt for prices online or visit stores to see the price variations, this could take forever. Sounds true, right? Therefore, one of the most useful web scraping project ideas is to run scraping tools through the product sites and gather all the prices in a matter of minutes.
In addition to this, keeping track of the price drop or rise is another important aspect. This could also be applied to scraping the rise or fall in stock prices, currency rates, and other such commodities.
5. Scrapping online communities
In the era of social media and online communications, hundreds of sites offer people to form a community and ask questions, provide opinions, and give reviews about anything and everything. Many of them are legitimate forums where millions of people share legit information.
Web scraping of such sites can yield a great deal of personalized information on any aspect. Sometimes, the discussion of professionals at such forums is quite valuable to get benefit from. Plus, it’s a very good project for beginners.
Is Web Scraping Legal?
This question might have been asked more times than the web scraping has been done itself. It’s a cheap and quick way to gather all the necessary information but, is it legal or illegal? Let’s have an insight.
In the past, many companies sued other businesses for scraping their data and utilizing it for some purpose. The objection had been ruled out multiple times since it didn’t count as ‘unauthorized access’ to the information. Later, however, many court cases were opened to sue web scrapers for hijacking data and its legality has forever been questioned.
However, if you are extracting the publicly available data from a site, a business, or a personal account, web scraping is deemed legal. If you try to steal the data that’s been hidden by a website, it can land you in hot water.
Trying on various web scraping projects is a fun thing to do. If you perform it properly and in a systemized manner, this could do wonders for your business. Honestly, this is the best way to fuel your startup or increase sales. Nonetheless, be aware of any illegality in the process. Else, you are good to go!