The key requirement of every digital company is data, and business only begins when a brand can consistently lay hands on a sufficient amount of relevant market data then analyse it correctly to make informed business decisions. Such well-grounded decisions and strategies are usually what sets brands apart from their counterparts and allows them to generate more revenue and grow successfully.
Fortunately for brand owners, there are several sources for the necessary data, with search engines such as Google and Bing becoming huge repositories for valuable public user data which companies can gather, analyze, and use to support growth.
And this source of data is important because, in 2019, a study indicated that search engines were responsible for 29% of the total website traffic. It, therefore, implies that certain data can only be acquired by scraping search engines.
Today, we will consider what search engine scraping is, how it can benefit your business, the challenges you may encounter on your way to scraping these data and how to overcome them.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping can be defined as the process of using sophisticated tools and software to interact with several data sources and glean a large amount of data from them repeatedly. This process usually employs scraping bots and well-known proxies to communicate with data sources and collect their data in HTML formats.
Some of the most common sources are search engines, websites, or social media platforms and sometimes, brands focus on one source at a time; other times, scraping is usually done on more than one source at a time.
What Is Search Engine Scraping?
Search engine scraping can be defined as the process of collecting key information from search engines. The process generally involves combining a scraping API and a proper proxy to collect information such as search engine result page (SERP) rankings and keywords.
The SERP ranking data is necessary to help companies see where they land and rank on search engines and what to do to improve it. Gathering this type of data is considered a continuous process, and ranking is usually fierce competition with other brands looking to outrank you.
Scraping for keywords, on the other hand, occasionally occurs, especially when a brand just recently ran an online campaign or ad and is trying to see if the infused keywords can cause the ad to be displayed when searcher type them or when trying to check if certain keywords would display their contents to internet users.
Either way, the information gathered can help your brand make several necessary shifts – from reshaping your SEO to reorganizing your digital marketing strategies.
How Does Search Engine Scraping Work?
When using a scraper API and a proxy, you will need to enter the URL address to kick-start the process. The request is routed via the process to bypass limitations and restrictions. Once the scraper reaches the target search engine, it interacts with it and collects the data in HTML format. The proxy then returns the results to you before the result is parsed, transformed, and saved.
The proxy also allows the process to go on anonymously, automatically, repeatedly, and discreetly. This keeps you and your data safe while eliminating the struggle involved in the task of regularly scraping data.
You may also need to use any of the Python libraries such as Selenium or BeautifulSoup for parsing the data, as well as DataFrame such as Pandas to convert the extracted data.
The use of proxies may cause some people to question the legality of this process; however, it is worthy of note to state that proxies do not breach any laws; they only help evade restrictions and bypass limitations. Hence, a process that is legal but difficult and almost impossible can be made easier using the process. Just remember to scrape only publicly available data.
How Scraping Search Engines Can Benefit Businesses
Many ways scraping search engines can benefit your business, and some of the most important are:
- Competition Monitoring
You can always easily use the data collected from search engines to monitor how your competitors are doing. For instance, seeing your competitor rank higher on a SERP will allow you to dig deeper to see what they might be doing differently. This can help you with strategies to do even better.
- SEO Monitoring
Monitoring your brand search engine optimization is valuable as it can help you craft even better contents that can help you rank higher on the SERP. Monitoring information such as descriptions, Meta titles, and snippets can help you create better content.
- Online Campaign
Another important reason to scrape the search engines is to direct the path you choose to take while running advertisements. Collecting information from search engines not only helps brands see the best performing ads (and therefore create even something better), but it can also help expose what most internet users are looking for (and then create something along those lines).
Challenges Of Scraping Search Engines
As it should be expected with every important online operation, search engine scraping comes with its challenges, including the following:
- IP blocks and CAPTCHA test
- Lack of expertise and experience
- Drudgery is associated with gathering a large amount of data
Solutions For Overcoming These Challenges
One of the most effective ways to overcome the challenges above is always to perform search engine scraping with the right type of proxies, for example, a residential proxy.
The trick here is that this type of a proxy can overcome all the above challenges at once and can be used by anyone in any part of the world. For instance, a French brand looking to collect keywords in the UK can use a UK proxy to avoid geo-restrictions, IP and CAPTCHA blocks while running automatically and with lesser stress. Read more about how to avoid geo-blocking while web scraping following the link.
Scraping search engines can give you enough data to change your brand ranks on search engines and how your digital campaigns perform. But you will need to use the right proxy type to overcome any associated challenges.
Passionate Writer, Blogger and Amazon Affiliate Expert since 2014.