The online world is a pool of information that could enhance or help a brand to outsell better than its competitors.
With the social world rising in numbers ‘’Social media statistics from 2019 show that there are 3.2 billion social media users worldwide, and this number is only growing’’ this clearly states that B2B businesses today are depending on the social world to help capture leads as it has now become the hub of their target audience.
While data is available online, it isn’t easily accessible. For instance, if you wish to have knowledge about what the online prospects believe in new product launches, you will be able to find out about your audience, but not of your competitors.
At this stage, imagine what would happen if you have these answers from your competitor’s front? Not only would it give you clarity, but it would also help you to strategize and plan your product launches in a more refined manner which would appeal to your audience.
This is exactly why your brand needs a process that will help you conduct this action more smoothly and easier without you having to break your head. Here is when web scraping can help you.
Interesting Read : 5 Tips for Selecting SEO Rank Tracking Tools
To conduct efficient web scraping, it is essential and wise to continue this process with a tool that will ensure your complete security and your identity is hidden to avoid any risks of being caught. Which is why web scraping with proxies is a better option.
To answer all the questions about how you can conduct such activities and how it would be beneficial, this article has been backed up with information from the experts whose tips will guide you to conduct efficient web scraping activities on matters which will matter.
The experts mentioned below have answered questions curated by us which would help you understand this topic better. From the tools they use to what their opinions are about content scraping, we have got it all covered for you to get a better insight on the topic.
EXPERT OPINION ON WEB SCRAPING WITH PROXIES FROM SOCIAL MEDIA/SEO EXPERTS
We asked the below social media/seo experts the following questions related to content scraping:
- What problems occur in content scraping?
- How web scraping helps in competitor analysis?
- What steps to take to prevent any discrepancies in data after scraping?
- Is there any specific tool you use?
Each of them shared unique answers which will provide you the right insights about the topic and the process itself.
1 . STACY CAPRIO
Founder, Growth Marketing states, ‘’I don’t do it myself, I have a tool/team you can request modifications from’’
2. BRETT DOWNES
SEO specialist at DFY Links speaks of the problems that usually occur whilst content scraping. He states the following:
Access has always been the biggest issue in website and content scraping.
The biggest problem we used to face was encountering Ajax which made it difficult and sometimes nigh on impossible to scrape certain websites, thankfully modern websites have veered away from this archaic practice.
In more recent times, people are becoming savvier to blocking crawlers. PBN sites will hide their backlinks and thus tend to block all crawlers all together.
Bot blocking and captchas can and do block scraping of certain web pages, so you don’t get to scrape all pages of a site, so there will be incomplete data from your scraping.
He continues to speak how revealing data related to competitor analysis can be retrieved successfully via web scraping:
‘’For content opportunities, we will identify high-value competitors bloggers and guest authors, and track the history of all the content they have produced for other sites. This gives us warm leads on high-quality sites that accept guest posts, as to which we pitch for them to mimic and gather high-quality coverage and backlinks for our sites also. This is in addition to our guest posts on other unique sites.’’
He also mentioned what steps can be taken to prevent discrepancies after scraping:
‘’The simplest and most effective method is to normalize the data and combine datasets where possible. Having consistency in culling and segregating data is essential in collating data accurately and being able to trust the accuracy in your conclusions.’’
He ended the information by revealing which tool he uses himself to make use of this process:
‘’We utilize scrapebox software.’’
3. WILLIAM CHIN
An SEO consultant for pickfu.com also has similar insights just like Brett on this topic. He has been in digital marketing for eight years, with six of those years being in SEO.
In the last 2 – 3 years of his career he has been using web scraping resources to gather copious amounts of data from competitors and non-competitors alike.
Speaking about issues in content scraping he states:
Some problems that occur when it comes to content scraping are:
1 . Content encoding – sometimes, when my scrapers are gathering the content, there might be different types of encoding in the content that I am scraping. Therefore, when I output the content into a document it is not cohesive and the data is not clean.
- Crawling protection – Usually, if you want to scrape A LOT of content in the shortest amount of time, you will try to maximize the amount of threads available to your software. However, many domains have crawl protection (whether it’s re-captchas or network protection like Cloudflare). This usually means dialing down the juice on your crawler, which really can slow down your process.
He reveals how this process can help in competitor analysis:
‘’This is pretty much one of the main reasons you scrape at all. Scraping helps keep track of all of your competitor’s content, their strategies and any little tips and tricks they might be doing to grow their domain’s authority. It also allows you to vastly shorten your content gap as well since you can see the type of content they’re adding by comparing crawls.’’
How can you prevent any issues in data after scraping:
‘’I usually do a spot visual comparison of some of the content that I scrape on random URIs (to ensure the content is being scraped properly). Also, I will crawl a site more than once and usually compare the content pieces through a text differential software.’’
And revealed the tool he uses:
‘’I mainly use ScreamingFrog to crawl main competitor’s sites. However, I also have my node script that will gather back content from target pages based on a keyword in Google.’’
From English blinds too shared his knowledge on the topic:
He stated the problem of content scraping as:
‘’The main problem with content scraping is that website owners usually don’t like scrapers, and will sometimes take steps to prevent it – and they may exercise the use of certain country-specific laws in some situations too.’’
He continued to speak the vital benefit of web scraping:
‘’Web scraping can provide essential insights to assist with competitor analysis, and this is part of the reason why many sites are proactive about preventing scraping from occurring in the first place. Web scraping can help you to see what keywords your competitors are targeting organically and even those they’ve paid for using AdWords, give you a broad idea of how much they’re spending on PPC ads, and check out their pricing tiers for products like yours, among other things.’’
He offered clarity on how data discrepancies can be eliminated:
‘’To prevent data discrepancies, always review the information you’ve collated personally and objectively. Does something seem anomalous, unusual or out of context? Dig deeper and find out what. Over time you will start to get a feel for the norms across the types of sites and content you scrape, and what is different or incongruous.’’
He also shared which tool was ideal for him:
‘’VisualScraper and ParseHub are tools I keep going back to, but I do tend to try out a variety.’’
Marketing specialist at Software Path shared her own views on the topic as well.
Now since you have a clarity of what our experts have to share on this topic, let’s begin addressing our topic to reach the complete solution by starting with the basics first.
She stated the problems which occur in content scraping:
‘’Google values unique content in SERP results, so generating content via scraping is unlikely to result in positive results from an SEO perspective for smaller sites. Aggregated content sites run under slightly different rules and depending on authority level, but these tend to be news related websites which have time sensitive content: i.e. their SERP results aren’t meant to last. If you want to build content with SERP results that sustain over time, you won’t get there by scraping all content.’’
She clarified how web scraping helps in competitor analysis:
‘’Web scraping can be useful in terms of trend analysis, if performing a scraping over specific periods of time you can see what seasonality competitors have in terms of topics they write about and see any similarities or differences between them.’’
She explained the ideal steps to take to prevent any discrepancies in data after scraping:
‘’There’s always the human element of checking your publication, providing you’re not publishing hundreds or thousands of pieces of scraped data.’’
Lastly she mentioned that she doesn’t use any specific tool for this process.
WHAT IS WEB SCRAPING?
Web scraping is the process of extracting information from another website to serve individual purposes. For instance, if you want to launch your product and want to understand what prospects expectations are, you can simply extract that information from your competitors who have conducted this action earlier and analyze the plus points from the data to improvise your product better.
With web scraping, you can easily scrape through any data you want from any of the sources without having to copy-paste anything. All you need to do is choose which information you want, which place you want to retrieve it from, scrape the data and save it in the format according to your choice. You can choose formats such as CSV file, XLS sheets and many more.
To make your work easier there are many tools available that can help you automate this process or help you conduct this process easier and quicker. With web scraping being a popular demand in the 2019 market, using this process can only help your brand to cater to your prospect’s needs better as well as let you enjoy the benefits of having data which will matter in every step of your selling decisions.
HOW WEB SCRAPING CAN HELP B2B BRANDS?
- PROVIDES YOU QUALITY DATA
You need data to sustain your brand in the heights it’s hanging upon. With data, you will be able to cater to your prospect’s needs much quicker and better. With web scraping this is possible. You can easily extract data from any website with efficient tools that support this action and finally save it in your system or any document to analyze. The data is crucial because it is data that has a prospect review check.
Interesting Read : 11 Most Frequently Asked Web scraping questions by market researchers Answered
- SELLS SOLUTIONS QUICKER
With thousands of prospects in the online world waiting to be reached out to find a solution for their needs, web scraping helps to make this process simpler. It helps you to identify what your prospect’s actions are such as their purchasing behaviour pattern, their likes and dislikes, their opinions and many more which can help you to strategize and build your solution much better and ideal according to their preference. When you have a solution exactly created according to your target audience’s needs, selling becomes a hassle-free process.
- BALANCES WORKFLOW BETTER
Previously, to scrape data many brands would take the idea of copy-pasting each information they require. This would not only take up so much time but conducting it manually would be exhausting. This also keeps you at a distance from completing other relevant work which requires your attention. With web scraping, this is solved. Many brands in the market conduct automated web scraping practice ensuring that while the relevant data is being scraped from multiple websites, there is also work being completed that will help enhance your brand’s productivity better.
- NO TIME WASTED TO RESEARCH
Researching is a crucial part of any brand. With the right data, you cannot assist your prospects well. If you are even half aware of their needs, you will still not be able to assist them completely. This is a crucial problem in 2019 the market is growing and booming and every brand is taking minute opportunities to trigger the attention of any possible leads. To ensure that you are on track and can cater to the potential leads, web scraping can help you. Since it is a process that doesn’t require much manual attention, you can easily scrape through data, apply it in your strategies and begin selling the solution your prospects were expecting to see. This will grow your brand quicker and help you tap potential leads much faster.
- RETAINS A BRAND’S HIGH POSITION
What makes a brand to continue to stand on success for a longer time? The fact that the brand’s being nurtured every time. You may have a good number of lead captures and have converted multiple potential leads but that doesn’t mean your job is over here. The markets will keep changing and your prospects will soon move away from the old trends and into the new ones within a shorter time, if you won’t be able to monitor and keep track, how will you retain your brand’s high position? With web scraping, this can be conducted easily. You can conduct frequent web scraping practices so that you always receive information about the new trends and will soon be able to take the necessary actions even before your competitors hear about it.
You now know both worlds, expert opinion on this topic and how web scraping is an ideal process for the B2B sector. As mentioned in the beginning, web scraping is great but it becomes even better when you have a secure tool that could help you conduct the process by eliminating minor or major risks along the way.
WHAT ARE PROXY SERVERS?
When you want to visit s website, you send a request via your web browser to view it. But instead of going directly to the website it passes through a proxy server who hides your identity and lets you access the website without the fear of being spotted.
Think of it in this way, when your web scrape your competitor’s website, not all the information will be accessible to you. For instance, you want to extend your brand in the global market, so you will collect data that will help you get a clear understanding of how to get started. But what your global competitors are doing, they are restricting your country from viewing their data which is why proxy servers are here. You can use web scraping and a proxy to easily scrape through data from any restricted websites without the fear of being spotted. Your competitors will think that you are a residence of their country and immediately allow access. That’s the power of a proxy server.
With the help of the finest experts as mentioned above, you now have an idea of the topic in brief, apart from their words, you will now be able to understand the other crucial factors of how having a web scraping process and a proxy server, is the perfect blend to a brand’s success rate.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU BLEND WEB SCRAPING WITH PROXIES?
- SECURED DATA EXTRACTION
Scraping the online data available is easy when you have access to it. But with the increase in cyber attacks, ‘’Cyber Criminals will steal an estimated 33 billion records in 2023’’ which means that if scraping data is not only risky in 2019 it can also trigger your attention to extracting data from malicious websites. To keep you on track and ensure that your process is conducted smoothly, you can conduct web scraping with proxies so that you always secured. With proxy servers, you always receive content which does not cause any harm to your systems.
- KEEPS YOU ANONYMOUS
While scraping from your competitor’s website, it doesn’t look good when they catch your brand conducting this action. Hence to avoid even the minute of traces, it is essential if you conduct web scraping with proxies during this process. What it will do is change your IP address so that the website will never know who it is coming from. While you scrape the relevant data, a proxy server ensures that the process is being conducted without any trace of your identity.
- DOESN’T HINDER SPEED
Web scraping with proxies can be conducted without any hindrance when you invest in a great tool that lets this happen. What happens is during web scraping sometimes the connection loses track and you might lose all the data that was being extracted which will again have you to conduct this process again. You must have a proxy server that had a good bandwidth and internet speed so that you can conduct web scraping activities without any hassle.