The online selling space has become highly competitive in a market saturated with various products with similar ideas and utilities.
Businesses that lead this market have developed different strategies to leverage market and big data.
This data is scattered across the internet in bits and bytes, and only a company that collects them can enjoy the full benefits of selling online.
The data can be harvested via web scraping, and this, depending on what tools and practices are used, can be challenging or effortless.
Hence, pulling out data is just as important as doing it the right way. This article will briefly examine the importance of extracting data the right way and some of the best practices of web scraping.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping is a process employed by businesses to extract large amounts of data from various sources on the internet. The data extracted is often publicly available, and the tools used usually have to be sophisticated.
Some of these tools include scraping scripts and proxies. The scraping tools perform the task of repeatedly interacting with the target websites to extract the data while the proxies clear the obstacles and prevent any form of blocking.
While there are several proxies, the most reliable are rotating ISP proxies built and hosted by an internet service provider. They, therefore, come equipped with internet protocol (IP) addresses that resemble regular internet users.
That way, it is less likely for the proxies, IPs, and locations to get blocked during data extraction.
Once the data has been obtained or extracted, it is stored, analyzed, and used to create meaningful business insights and back important business decisions.
Importance of Using Automatic Data Extraction the Right Way
As a result of the high competition in the market today, many digital businesses will not survive without regularly collecting data.
This need for data sometimes pushes businesses to go overboard with their extraction techniques causing some to break protocols and harvest data incorrectly.
But there is the need always to stay civil and collect data the right way, and below are some of the importance of doing so:
- To Avoid Legal Charges
Most of the data collected during web scraping are available to the public and, by implication, available for collection.
However, some information must not be collected to avoid legal cases. A brand could get sued for collecting the wrong information, and this is why it is always good to exercise caution during web scraping.
- To Boost Productivity
Going about web scraping the wrong way can also affect your overall productivity. It leads to a waste of time and energy as you often end up with data you don’t need or can’t use.
Hence, it is often advisable to use proper web scraping as it helps to save time and energy that can be channeled into other areas of business.
Getting data automatically the right way also helps to reduce errors and improve data accuracy.
- To Prevent Server Crashing
This particular advantage is for the target servers and websites. Very often, when data is harvested the wrong way, the target servers get overloaded, overwhelmed, and crash as a result.
This can cause significant loss to the hosting business as their customers can get frustrated and stop patronizing them.
Fixing crashed servers also cost time and money – resources that could have been channeled into other aspects of the company.
Using the proper practices helps to avert this so that brands can get the data they need without harming the serving businesses.
10 Best Practices of Web Scraping
Below are 10 of the best practices of web scraping used to collect data the right way without hurting the servers or breaking any rules:
- Always check for robots.txt files on the website and follow their instructions if they are available. Doing this allows you to scrape by the website’s rules and standards.
- Always switch scraping patterns. Using bots to scrape is fast, but it is also easily predictable as they strictly follow certain laid down principles. Therefore, you will need to set intervals when the crawling pattern changes to confuse the anti-scraping mechanisms.
- Try to scrape at off-peak hours. These are periods with lower traffic rates when excessive data collection will not interfere with regular server usage or overload the system.
- Always route your requests via tools such as rotating ISP proxies.
- Always use natural user agents and request headers, then rotate them as necessary to avoid blocking.
- When necessary, use cache mechanisms to avoid sending requests in instances where you can get the data from caches.
- Use proper web scrapers to avoid falling into honeypot traps. These invisible links exist on most websites and can identify and block web scraping when you follow the link.
- Use services that help you solve CAPTCHA tests while scraping data from different platforms.
- Reduce the speed and frequency at which you scrape. This may require you to set intervals when the scraper takes a break. It helps to allow the servers to breathe while still making you harmless.
- Never violate copyrights or other legal issues. This doesn’t only lead to bans but also legal charges against your brand.
Extracting data will give your company the edge it needs to perform globally, but doing it the right way will save you time, energy and avoid court cases.
The practices described above are ways to carry out web scraping without problems. You may use some or combine all at your discretion of the best possible results. Also have a look on Is Downloading From Softonic is legal?, How Long does it Take for Water to Freeze? and What is Tumbler, and What is Tumbler For?