The business world is a competitive place, and only the most aggressive command the largest share of the market. The only way to survive is by meeting the consumer’s needs in a unique way and rising above the competition.
You cannot provide consumers with what they need unless you study the market, assess the products that are already there, and come up with a solution that fills a gap. This data can be gathered through web crawling.
Web scraping involves crawling websites from all over the world and collecting an enormous amount of data about consumers, competitors, and the market in general. Using the right software program can make the data collection easier, faster, and more accurate.
Why Gathering Web Data is Essential for Businesses
1] Better Decision Making
Data gathering is essential in assessing the business climate and making informed decisions. Whether you intend to introduce a new product into the market or venture into a new location, data will provide you with the confidence to move ahead with the decision and achieve growth.
2] Web Data Keeps You on Top of Your Game
The business environment is always changing. And you have to change with it. By using web scraping to collect data, you can gather business insights, detect changes in consumers’ tastes, and stay relevant in the market.
3] You are able to Gauge Your Performance
Web scraping makes it possible to study competitors, especially in the areas where they are excelling. From data collected, you can learn from their strategies and build better strategies of your own.
4] You Can Improve Customer Experience
Customer satisfaction is essential for the success of any business. And you cannot enhance their experience if you do not understand what is missing. Data collection provides insights into the customers’ world so that you can detect loopholes and close them.
Are Web Scraping Tools Worth it?
To gather data that can benefit your business with insights into the market, invest in crawling tools. They are efficient and thorough.
Most of the web data collected is disorganized and messy. And organizing it can be a headache. Web scraping tools carry out the task for you, leaving you with clean, filtered information.
Web scraping tools save on resources. Crawling requires excellent programming and database skills. Hiring a programmer for this task can cost a lot, and the work will be subject to human error.
Web scraping tools’ produced results are accurate. They also work faster compared to humans.
Web scraping goes hand in hand with the use of proxy servers.
What is a Proxy?
Whenever you make a web request using your device, a web server will use your IP address to determine your location and the device in which to send the web content requested.
A proxy acts as an intermediary between your device and the website from which you are drawing information. Whenever you make the web request, it will go to the proxy server first, which then forwards it to the web server using a different IP address.
The data provided from the website is then sent back to the proxy server, which, again, forwards to your computer. It enables you to browse the internet anonymously.
There are several reasons why proxy servers are beneficial when crawling web data.
- It makes it possible to bypass geoblocking.
- You can comfortably make web requests to competitors’ sites.
- And You can make an unlimited number of simultaneous requests on the same site without being banned.
- You can use a proxy server to make a web request from a specific geographical location.
Here are five types of proxy servers.
1) Dedicated Proxies
Also known as private proxies, they are provided to one user at a time. They are stable and prevent the burnout of overused proxy IP addresses.
2) Shared Proxies
This is where a number of users are granted access to a pool of proxies and share its cost. It tends to be more affordable than dedicated proxies. Although more affordable they are much less trustworthy and easier to block.
3) Data center Proxies
These are artificial IP addresses. Data center proxies do not rely on your internet connection or ISP. They are created in data centers and are extremely fast.
4) Residential Proxies
These are very reliable proxies because they use legitimate IP addresses from real devices. It makes them hard to detect.
5) Static Residential Proxies
Static residential proxies are a combination of data center proxies and residential proxies. It makes them fast and reliable.
A business cannot thrive based on making guesses on what the market wants. You need data to gain insight into what they need.
Data collection through web crawling and sorting it into useful information is a labor-intensive task that could cost a lot in terms of time and money. Investing in the right web scraping tool will not just save your resources, but it will produce accurate work.
An equally important tool is a proxy server. You need the right proxy IP address to access restricted sites and crawl the web pages without interruptions from bans.