Web Scraping Vs. Exploring the Web: Key Differences and Facts


Usually brands need data and lots of it. And most of the time, when we talk about the source of a large amount of data on the Internet, we often use the terms “web scraping” and “web crawling” interchangeably.

Maybe it’s nobody’s fault and, on some level, correct. This is because before web scraping can even begin, some form of web crawling (to find web pages with relevant data) needs to take place. So technically speaking, web crawling usually precedes web scraping.

However, web crawling and web scraping exist as separate concepts and have their differences. Today we are going to see what these differences are and what a web crawler is.

What is web scraping?

The web scraping process can be defined as the extraction of specific and valuable public data from multiple sources such as websites, markets, social media platforms, etc.

Scraping the web involves using data mining tools to interact with the target server, read its contents, retrieve what is needed, send the data back to the host computer, and then save it in a usable format.

The extracted data can then be further analyzed, interpreted, and even used to make key business decisions that drive brand growth.

In today’s competitive market, it is believed that business successes are directly related to the extent to which their decisions are driven by data. This makes web scraping a crucial part of any business adventure.

What is web crawling?

Web crawling is also sometimes referred to as a “spider web” and is defined as the process of using tools called robots to read, copy, and store public content on websites. Crawling consists of going on the Internet in search of data requested by the Internet user. Once found, explore even deeper using the included links and urls, then finally link it all together creating indexes and collections. The process plays an essential role in indexing and archiving data, two essential aspects of machine learning.

The technique of web crawling is typically used by giant companies and search engines such as Google and Bing to extract data, create copies, and index them to facilitate web scraping for brands.

What is an index robot?

A web crawler, also often referred to as a “web spider,” is defined as a bot that can be used to search the Internet for important content. The bot browses the web and systematically crawls web pages using internal links and URLs, exploring in detail everything the website has to offer before properly indexing all the information it collects.

Generally speaking, web search engines are used by search engines to crawl a website, learning all about its content. They go from page to page, collecting links and URLs as they go. Then they explore the links afterwards. You can get more information about web crawlers by visiting the Oxylabs website.

The above process could save endlessly for a set of policies that control the operation of the web crawler. To make the process more coordinated and efficient, web crawlers are usually designed to follow the following rules:

  • Explore websites based on the materiality and relevance of each webpage instead of checking all publicly available data
  • Constantly review websites to make sure recently updated content is also indexed
  • Check the robots.txt file. before crawling to make sure it follows specific rules.

Main difference between web scraping and web crawling

Indeed, web crawling is closely linked to web scraping. It is also true that web crawling naturally leads to web scratching. The two processes are quite similar, hence the reason why many people use the terms interchangeably. Still, there is a world of difference between the two, and below are the main ones.

Web Scratch Exploring the Web
The main goal is the extraction of data from specific websites The main purpose is to find, collect and index web pages on the Internet.
Typically used by small and large businesses Mainly employed by large companies only
This involves visiting only specific pages and downloading data without making copies of the pages. This involves searching for content and then finding other relevant content and, in most cases, duplicating the content
This is a dual process involving a crawler to find the content and a crawler to return the data This is a one-time process that only requires a web crawler
Web scraping finds application in brand and price monitoring, brand protection, retail marketing, etc. The main application of web crawling is to help search engines deliver more useful search results to Internet users.
Web scraping does not need to follow the robots.txt rule Browsing the web should always follow this rule.


Web browsing and scraping; two roads leading to the same end. They even work the same, but it’s important to know what web crawlers are as well as the differences between web scraping and web crawling to help you understand what processes or tools your business has. requires.


Rosemary S. Bishop