When you access a website or any information on the internet, you may not be able to directly save or download it. You can, however, extract the information but it may not necessarily be in your desired format, converting which can be time-consuming.
The process of efficiently extracting data from websites is called web scraping. This scraped data or information can then be saved in spreadsheets automatically. Due to the increasing complexity and amounts of data, organizations now need to seek professional help to do the job. Therefore, more and more companies are looking to hire web scraping developers to extract their required text, videos, or target customer-related information from the web. Web scraping has automated the entire process that can be also used for business intelligence.
Through web scraping, a vast amount and different kinds of data can be extracted, such as text, videos, email addresses, phone numbers, personal details, and the interest of users. Web scraping can also help businesses extract domain-specific data related to real-estate users, financials, or competitor’s information. At the end of the process, you can get the data in JSON, CSV, or plain text formats that can be further used as per requirement.
Working on Web Scraping
As far as the working of web scraping is concerned, there are lots of ways to do so. Here, we will discuss the easiest ways of web scraping that are used in development technologies. The web scraping steps involved in the process are listed below.
- Parse and Extract
- Download Data
A web scraper who is efficient and experienced mainly requests the content from a specific URL.
In return, they receive the response in HTML format, which has all web page information in textual format.
Parsing is the complete process of taking out text and structured data from an HTML file. Here, the information includes paragraphs, page links, bold text, and headings. For parsing, the regular expressions are identified by the regular language. For regular language, a parser is always designed that can help in textual extraction and pattern matching.
Finally, the data is then saved and downloaded in CSV and JSON formats. In this way, the data can be retrieved and employed easily. The specific data can then be stored and retrieved from the web or your central database. This is how a web scraper usually works.
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Salary of Web Scrapers
A web scraping developer’s salary may range from USD 25,000 to USD 203,000 annually. Apart from this, the salary also depends on the industry for which the scrapper will work. Usually, IT companies are the best paying or biggest marketers.
Machine Learning for Web Scraping
In the machine learning technique, Computer Vision is used to harness the power of the web and identify the relevant information from web pages. Computer Vision is just like a human being. In this process, each classification is assigned a confidence score that can measure the statistical likelihood as it is specified in the training data.
In case the confidence score is low, the system again generates a new query to perform a web search and pull out the text that is more likely as per requirement. It compares all the texts retrieved from the internet and just keeps on repeating the step until it gets the desired results.
Applications of Web Scraping
Web scraping is used for countless applications and development industries. Almost every domain uses the concept and result of web scraping. Here, we enlist and explain a few of the relevant applications.
1. Lead Generation
Marketing is one of the key aspects of lead generation and therefore is a significant aspect. To market your product or service, you need to send it to your contact or target audience. This is how the lead generation process usually starts. Web scraping helps businesses in generating countless such addresses of your interest.
To execute a marketing campaign successfully, you need thousands of contact numbers, email addresses, etc. The information is widely spread on the internet. The surgical precision method of web scraping can generate such information accurately and at a lightning speed. The data is collected in the CSV file format that can be easily shared further.
2. Price Monitoring
Businesses usually use a competitive pricing strategy to decide the price of their e-commerce products. Your pricing strategy can provide success to your business if you decide it according to the market. Web scraping helps in price monitoring and getting success over the edges.
For any business, including e-commerce, you need to keep track of the prices of your competitors. You should then pitch the price as per your competitors to get a strategic advantage. Not only this, the product prices keep on changing and e-commerce businesses have to update the prices as per their competitors’ sites and offers.
3. Fetching Product Description and Images
Every e-commerce business needs to display product descriptions and images on their websites for thousands of products. This is quite difficult. Web scraping can make this step quicker and easier. Therefore, for e-commerce businesses, web scraping is an essential and integral aspect.
How Can You Hire a Web Scraper?
You may be wondering how you can perform web scraping. Web scraping can be performed either manually or through automatic tools. The developer should possess the perfect hard (technical) skills to execute the tasks properly. Moreover, organizations can hire human web scrapers or take the help of a tool to complete the task.
Manual Web Scraping
You can hire an individual for your web scraping tasks. Manual web scraping can be implemented in the following ways:
- Hiring your in-house developer
- Hiring third party web scrap service providers
- Freelance developers
While hiring in-house developers, you may need a host that can run the scraper round the clock. You may also need a robust server that can continuously run, access, and store the extracted data. The advantage of such a system is that you can store your desired and customized information with complete control. So, the in-house developers may have to be provided with a full-fledged setup.
You can also hire a third-party web scraping service provider. Then you will have to make some investment to harness their ability. These providers can understand your exact requirement and offer your desired information within a mutually agreed timeline. They also use some tools to extract the information through web scraping.
As a third option, you can also hire freelance developers. Freelance web scraping developers know how to work with web scraping tools. They understand your requirements and your specific needs. Here, you will have to consider that the developer you select must be able to understand your requirements perfectly and have a similar portfolio.
Hard and Soft Skills Required in Web Scrap Developers
Just like technical or hard skills, soft skills should be given equal importance while hiring web scraping developers. Some of the essential hard and soft skills include:
Developers have to solve many product or service-related problems, for which they must understand the requirements. They may also have to learn new skills and work in teams. The above-listed soft skills are essential and must be tested initially while hiring the developers.
The teamwork skills of the web scrap developers may prove their ability to work in an agile development environment. Many people are not team workers. However, the skill can be learned while working as well by them
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