It is said that knowledge is power; and especially in recent years, it is encountered increasingly in form of digital data sets – structured as well as unstructured. The more data and information that you possess, the more perfect are your plans, better are your decisions, planned are your tactics and strategies, and success is unlimited.
However; this reminds of what Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once said, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
Now the catch here is where is all the data? How to get accurate data? Is it a tough task? Yes, it is a really daunting and tough task.
Outsource web scraping to experts, as they have been there and doing it since long; the one that we fondly know as web harvesting, data mining, screen scraping, or (web) data extraction. The process is simple as they know how a large amount of data from websites can be extracted and then saved to a local file on a computer, database, or spreadsheet for further strategic and referential use. These third party web scraping service providers are equipped with macros and bots to automate the process of copying and pasting selected sections of a web page or the entire website, which is required to be reviewed and analyzed for futuristic use.
Web scraping experts extract the chosen data which can be copied, parsed, searched and reformatted. There are web scraping companies who are equipped to collect data from hundreds or thousands of URLs at the same time or may be in scheduled sequence – the way you want it. So basically one can rest assured that if they have partnered the right web scraping company, any data that can be viewed online – can and will be scrapped for them. But the benefits do not end here. There are new avenues to the entire web scraping thing.
7 reasons to outsource web scraping & how scrapped data works to advantage of companies
For marketing; web scraping helps traffic and lead generation
Irrespective of the fact whether you are selling products or services, or maybe something which everyone could use or designed exclusively for a very few; in order to succeed and grow the business – market it, is what is mandatory for you. In year 2017 and beyond, it means promoting online and working with digital data. In a very interesting survey, it was revealed that “65% of marketers say generating traffic and leads is their biggest challenge”. Web scraping solutions is one of the preferred ways out of both challenges. First, we will see how it helps traffic because the increase in traffic usually increases lead generation as well.
1. Search engine optimization
The traffic that your website witnesses can be from a wide array of channels including direct, paid, social, email, referral etc.; and it is a surprise that there still exist companies that are not only surviving but thriving too, only on organic search. Yes, organic traffic which originates from search engine inquiry. This traffic is believed to be the most relevant and highest converting, may be because these visitors were looking exactly for services or products that you know of, or can offer.
Companies may opt for one of the numerous ways to boost organic search traffic; however, ultimately all of them are likely to bring you to the doorsteps of search engine optimization (SEO). Time and again it is proved that web scraping SERPs for SEO management has the potential to take your SEO analysis up a notch or two.
To start with, one can track the page ranks over time by scraping several search engine result pages for a particular keyword or query. It will give results in terms of where you rank for each targeted keyword, also it will show in case you are moving up the ladder and continue doing whatever you are doing; in case you have slipped down – change the course immediately.
The next step is to check out on the competitors. See what keywords and phrases they are ranking for and targeting. Don’t be surprised to find some that you and your team never even considered including. Web scraping by experts and text analysis of their entire site content will unleash the magic of keyword lists and strategies that have been working to their advantage. If as a company, you find that they are generally ranking higher than you, there is nothing wrong in switching to a few of theirs. Scrapped content data sets can work to your advantage with insights into keywords and its density, title, descriptions, visual elements, link counts; the list is too long.
2. Market research
May it be launching, expanding or changing; business owners are ought to be aware that market research is part of their due diligence. It empowers them to collect, organize and analyze everything from opportunities, threats, trends, and predictions.
Web scraping companies extract required data for analytics providers, market research firms, directories, industry blogs or news sites and collect everything in a single spot. This activity ultimately makes market research quick and simple, from time-consuming and frustrating. These data management solutions providers also help companies organize cleanse and validate an extensive list of direct and indirect competition, potential customer base in a given area and much more.
Retail, BFSI, healthcare, media & entertainment, FMCG, eCommerce etc., can use scraped, sales and dealer pricing data to keep market trends and real-time competitive pricing structures abreast. Web scraping is and will always be an integral part to the success of such business models.
3. Lead generation
Now that we have discussed, search engine optimization and market research, it is time to discuss what makes them important – lead generation. Depending on the nature of your business, a lead for your company can simply be a name and contact details of a prospective client. Social media, Quora answers, speaking events, conferences, guest posting, lead magnets, paid ads etc. and web scraping too, but how?
An organization’s basic requirement is a contact info that fits the profile. But what if the requirement is a list of dentists? What about a car seat design which is far safer than conventional ones, and needs a list of parents with young children. Web scrapers or data scrappers can collect all these necessary details, names and email addresses, URLs, contact numbers; fondly known as contact scraping. Data validation or data cleansing experts, as counterparts of web or data scraping team, go one step ahead to qualify those leads by searching or filtering the data keywords, demographics, and other such criteria to reach out to exact buyers of your product or services. So that not just leads generated, but qualified leads – a gold mine as we may call.
For competitor analytics
Businesses or companies now know for sure that keeping an eye on the competition, is really important. This includes what marketing strategies competitors are following, what kind of content are they pushing in the market on the internet, which all keywords and phrases are helping them rank (as discussed above), the pricing structure they are using, and what do their customers think about them. These were merely a few of the questions that should be asked. And for answers to such questions, companies can once again turn to outsourced web scraping services.
4. Reviews and sentiment
Web scraping companies scrape required data from Google, Twitter, Facebook, Amazon, Yelp, TripAdvisor, Trustpilot, etc. to see customer reviews and comments about the service or product provider.
Companies with help of web harvesting, data mining, screen scraping, or (web) data extraction, can turn to social media platforms to search by brand or product names to get additional data. They can even leverage sentiment analytics to get insights as to how people feel about certain businesses and products.
Data scraping of business profiles and corresponding reviews for insight and assistance for reputation management. Web scraping ultimately helps in taking advantages of weaknesses and complaints of competitors, to develop better solutions for themselves.
5. Content approach and followers
Blogs and social media accounts happen to be a great and right place to assess the content marketing tactics used by your competitors. Supposedly, it might open up doors for you to use the skyscraper technique and take off from and like – they did. It also helps you to see who has followed or liked them, which in turn gives you the opportunity to get in touch with those followers and offer a better deal to make that much-required switch.
6. Price comparison & tracking
Web scraping for price comparison and tracking is also one of the aspects, companies have opted big time for. What your competition is charging for the same or similar products? Consumers are hell bent on comparing brand A with brand B. 51% of campaigns today include a comparison or ranking because pricing has the power to make or break an enterprise, organization or a company. You need to be competitive. Give it every advantage possible.
It should not come as a surprise to know that leading grocery stores such as Tesco, Waitrose, and Sainsbury – use web scraping extensively to develop and execute their pricing strategy. Scraping those 33 items in the Consumer Price Index food basket, every morning has been their routine since long. Expert web and data scrapers extract approx. 5000 quotes related to those 33 items, and 150,000 every month.
This entire activity empowers them to stay competitive and well within those acceptable pricing standards, without having to send someone to manually collect price data points, which used to be standard in the industry, a few years back.
7. Change detection
Last but not the least, if the scraper is an expert and is good at his task, he or she can detect and scrape website changes as well. This helps companies keep their finger on the pulse of competition and know instantaneously when they have new products, lowered prices, beginning of a special promotion; and even when a new blog post is published and activities alike. With such data at your disposal, companies can react, adjust and respond appropriately and quickly.
You can use data & information to help your business, only if you know how to collect it.
One way of doing it is to navigate from site to site, page to page, shortlisting and picking the details you need for your purpose, and copying the relevant data and information to another word or excel file or spreadsheet before you hop to the next website or page or paragraph. That’s the classic method because there were no options available. However; now with web scraping experts at your disposal, outsourcing web scraping and various other data management tasks have become a convenience for companies, businesses, and organizations.