7 Use Cases For Website Scraping

Picture of Ander Rodríguez
By Ander Rodríguez · July 1, 2021 · 4 min read · Twitter
Ander is a web developer who has been working for several startups for more than 10 years, having worked with a wide variety of sectors and technologies. Engineer turned entrepreneur.

How can web scraping help your business grow? From market research to machine learning training, extracting knowledge can aid and guide any data-driven decision in any industry sector. You could easily demo this by taking one of these use cases and following it by hand, see that it works. After that, the remaining issue will be how to do that automatically.

1. Real estate

Do you still check every day for newly published houses in your area? Or looking for that bargain?

By tracking real estate websites, you could get all this curated information on time and without manual daily searches. What's more, you could track price history per feature or neighborhood by storing this information, giving you invaluable insights.

But no need to stop there either. Comparing that history to all new properties, you could detect the most cost-effective ones. Or check that some competitor is selling cheaper in a particular block.

We created a Real Estate dataset using a ZenRows Task. Fill in the following form, and we will send it to you for free. You could get your customized dataset effortlessly by following our guide to creating a Task.

2. Train machine learning models

Collect massive amounts of data, either text or images, by scraping topic-related websites. That information might come from scientific papers, newspapers, or social media, whatever fills your needs.

If your model consists of animal image recognition, you might be interested in getting tons of pictures. You could do that simply by searching on Google images, but you need a bigger scale, which you might get with website scraping. And what's best: why not tag the pictures for supervised learning? Images usually have labels or captions with descriptive text mentioning the animal.

You could scale these results to thousands of labeled images from many different sources. But advantages can go even further: a continuous stream of knowledge by recurrently doing this data extraction. Say, visit several nature magazines every week to extract all these pictures and add them to your collection.

3. Brand reputation

Related to the previous point, you could monitor your brand or competitors and use sentiment analysis to get what the market is saying about you or them.

Internally, this might get you complaints that are not reaching Customer Support. Many people complain on Twitter but don't reach out to you, thus denying you the opportunity to solve their problem and prevent it from happening again.

Externally, you can detect a problem in a competitor's product earlier than they do, giving you a huge advantage. You can tackle that customer's problem with your product or learn from their error before your's gets affected.

4. Track and rank influencers

An important marketing and branding asset nowadays, influencers are getting more attention than ever. Whether you are a brand or an agency, knowing who to contact is crucial.

Maybe you are targeting Instagram and have a reduced budget, so you cannot pay that notorious influencer who is so fashionable. You can probably use that budget more efficiently if you can segment your target audience and match it with several trendy influencers on that age range or topic.

Of course, you cannot track thousands of them, and that's where web scraping comes into play. Getting and storing all that information in an organized way is essential. Then take the best business decision based on the available evidence.

5. Product and price tracking

Pricing is always complicated. Even more when it is dynamic, and your competition is doing the same. Then add thousands of items to the mix. There is only one outcome: madness.

But you can do better. And price monitoring via data automation will help you achieve it.

Keep an eye on each of your products and its competitors, match them and get invaluable insights. Get notifications when prices change or when competitors add or remove items. Whatever you can do manually can be programmed.

Discover trends or new product categories as soon as one of your opponents launches them. Get a head start on seasonalities by checking your competition's history and be the first one to launch swimsuits this year.

6. Investing

Trends and data are imperative for investors, and there is no easy way to keep track of the whole business from the outside. But gathering the maximum amount of information before a decision can turn the scale.

If you were to invest in a new sneaker eCommerce, how would you compare the market? No one wants to invest blindly, and data is the proof you need. Collect stocks, mean prices per category, visitors, the average time on page, and many other metrics for your candidate and some established companies. Then match and compare, and only then make an informed decision.

Are you prospecting and not looking at any company in particular? No problem, you can do the same for your area of expertise and detect the early outlier.

7. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Start a campaign by planning it right from the beginning. Get all the relevant keywords and search terms before paying anything so you can start optimizing beforehand.

Avoid paying for overcrowded terms and look for less common ones. Maybe it pays off to invest in several less-used words than overpaying for the ones everyone is using.

You can also get awareness by checking "Related searches" for the terms you plan to use. You can do this by hand for a few ones, but not when there are dozens or hundreds of items to check and rank. Here is where automation comes in handy. And then the same to analyze results, no way of doing it accurately by hand.

Want to add competition or foresee new players? Automation is the only way.

Conclusion

Every extra piece of data a business can get before the decision-making influences the outcome. Every company can explore data-driven little by little, no need to go all in. But to get there, you need to extract that information, and website scraping is a great way.

Remember, you can do it manually the first time as a test. If it works and you think it is the way to go, join us for the next step: automation.

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