Exploring the Web Can Help Your Business Grow Faster
Web crawling is the collection of digital data from a website and indexing it for a specific purpose. The data can be stored in Excel or any other format as you need. Indexing is an essential part of crawling because it helps you find relevant data easily, like a catalog would help you find a book in a library.
You can then analyze the classified data and use the findings to improve specific aspects of the business.
It is possible to do web crawl manually by copying information from the site and pasting it to a spreadsheet or other formats. This, however, is not only time consuming and unprofitable, but is also prone to errors.
Automated web crawling uses computer programs known by various names, such as exploration agents, crawlers, or spider robots. The programs go to specified websites, download data, and then categorize the information for you into relevant categories or indexes for easier retrieval in the future. The process is automated and continuous, ensuring that the data is always up to date.
Use by search engines of indexing robots
Search engines are among the most frequent and efficient users of web crawlers. So how do they work so efficiently that they can answer your online queries in fractions of a second?
When you enter a search element on a search engine, the search engine does not search the World Wide Web for your answer at that time. Search engines have automated web bots that are constantly crawling websites for data.
The spiders begin to crawl the most popular sites or sites that were already in the index and identify specific and relevant words and data.
Web pages are interconnected by hyperlinks and spiders use these links to jump from one site to another. Exploration is complete when the links do not lead to any new sites. The information on these sites is indexed to ensure that when you do a search, you get the most relevant results.
Web crawlers constantly crawl web pages to identify if any changes have been made that could corrupt the index. This keeps the index up to date, taking into account the content of new sites and older sites that have been revised.
Is web crawling similar to web scraping?
While some people use web crawling and scratching interchangeably, the two terms are technically different.
Web scraping refers to the use of bots to access the HTML code of a specific website and download it from the page usually without permission. Many web scrapers intend to use the downloaded information for malicious purposes. While some believe this practice is unethical, it is not illegal in the United States.
Web crawling is different in that it is less specific but instead just crawls from one site to another by following the hyperlink. Web scrapers, on the other hand, can be programmed to target only specific websites. Web crawling is also an ongoing process, unlike web scraping which ends once the desired information has been obtained.
Using the proxy crawler for your business
You can get a lot of data about the market, your customers and your competition through web crawling. Analyzing this data can help you adjust your business operations for better profits, better customer service, etc. Browsing the web is therefore an invaluable tool for your digital business.
Unfortunately, some websites have systems to identify and prevent your web crawlers from accessing this data. These sites typically block a range of IP addresses or specific IP addresses that have been reported because they exhibit crawling activity.
By using a proxy, you can easily beat such systems. And your chances will be even better if you use specialized solutions such as a crawler proxy.
A proxy is a program that links your browser to the site you want to access while hiding your IP address. Since the site can only identify the IP address of the proxy crawler and not yours, it cannot block your access. This allows you to explore and get the data you get from the website.
Types of powers of attorney
Proxies can be classified into two main groups:
1. Residential agents
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) assign you an IP address called Residential IP when they begin to provide you with Internet access. So when you connect to the internet using their service, the IP can be traced to your home.
This means that if a certain website has blocked the IP addresses of the geolocation in which you reside, you will be blocked. Therefore, you cannot browse the web using your IP address.
If you use a different residential IP address from another location to access a certain site, it is called a residential proxy.
Residential proxy crawlers are particularly effective and stable if you want to access large sites that have blocked certain geolocations.
2. Data center proxy
Data center servers contain and provide IP addresses that you can use to access any site with minimal restrictions. Sensitive sites can identify data center IP addresses and can block them if they find that you are using one of those IP addresses to access the site.
To avoid such an event, you should use different datacenter proxies at different times so that the site registers them as access by different users.
How web crawling can help you grow your business
Every business does better when decisions are made on the basis of evaluating adequate and correct information. Exploring the web gives you additional data about your competition, your markets, and even your customers.
This includes information such as:
- Topics covered in the media and social networks about your business
- Information about your competition, including pricing, and how their products are doing
- Contacts for potential clients, or partners
Professional analysis of this data will give you an indication of the direction your business is taking, either generally or about a specific business dynamic. Based on this guidance, you can then make decisions about what to change, adopt, or maintain in your business practice.
In business, and perhaps in all other spheres of life, it is always best to make decisions based on information.
Since many businesses are conducted online, the data you get through web crawling is enough to educate you about the internal and external environment that could affect your business.
With such knowledge, you are more than equipped to make short and long term decisions for your business.