Content scraping is a process that entails gathering crucial website data from various sources with or without owners’ consent. It can be manual or automatic extraction depending on the company’s needs. However, automatic content scraping is an ideal choice because of its speed and efficiency.
There’re various techniques that you can use for content scraping. This article will focus on the various techniques you can use to scrape content on websites in 2021. You can outsource content scraping to experts, but it is always good to know what it entails.
Here’s everything you need to know about it.
Copying and pasting is the only manual content scraping technique on this list. It has proven irreplaceable despite many people preferring automated techniques to it. Copy-pasting is repetitive, requires lots of effort, and is more time-consuming than automated techniques.
Website owners often design their defense mechanisms only for automated scraping techniques. That makes it easy to scrape content with this technique and go unnoticed. However, automated techniques are better because they’re fast and cost-effective.
Website owners need to master this technique as it is sometimes the only available option if automated scraping bots get blocked by security tools.
2. DOM Parsing
DOM is a short form of Document Object Model parsing, an automatic content scraping technique. This technique is ideal for the content scraper looking to get a more in-depth view of a website. You can do it by parsing a website’s contents into a DOM tree and using a program to retrieve the data efficiently.
This technique defines a website’s structure, style and also shows the content of XML files. There’re lots of tools that you can consider for data retrieval from the DOM tree. Besides, you can extract part, or all, of a site’s content. The best thing is that this process is quick and simple to implement.
Another vital automatic web scraping technique you can consider is XPath. XML path is a query language that makes it easy to understand XML documents. As mentioned earlier, XML documents come with a tree-like structure that can be difficult to navigate, but thankfully, XPath can help you do it.
This technique uses various parameters to choose nodes that it extracts. The best thing about it is that you can use it together with DOM parsing effortlessly. You can also configure it to extract and transfer the entire website or part of it to a destination site.
4. Google Sheets
Another popular technique among content scrapers is the use of Google sheets. This technique is highly effective and fast, becoming one of the most used in the content industry. The essential function that Google sheets has is the IMPORT XML (,).
It makes it easy to scrape as much data as you need from any website. But then, it becomes more effective if the user already knows the data patterns they’re targeting. The function mentioned above can also help you to detect any scraping bots deployed on your website. That also makes it a great defense mechanism against scrapers.
5. Text Pattern Matching
You may also consider text pattern matching as your technique to gather content from sites. Many scrapers find it effective in data extraction because it is fast and reliable. It uses the UNIX grep command that searches for a string of specified characters in a certain file.
Text pattern matching is popular with website owners that understand various programming languages. It uses popular languages like Perl or Python, to scrape websites and deliver the desired results. This technique is equally fast and reliable for content scraping.
6. Web Scraping Software
There’re lots of software options you can use for content scraping. Many of them are effective whether you’re looking for specific data or scraping entire webpages. The effectiveness of web scraping software differs, and you need to choose what works for you carefully.
The downside with web scraping software is that websites have defense mechanisms against them. You’ll get blocked if trying to scrape content using such software. Thankfully, you can explore a SOCKS proxy as a potential solution. Proxies can help you bypass these restrictions and access the data you need.
7. HTML Parsing
This technique is quite popular among website owners looking to scrape competitor sites. In general, parsing is all about dividing content into small patches and describing their syntactic roles. For this technique, you divide content and determine whether it is syntactically correct or not.
A parse error in HTML parsing comes about when two points fail to match. Conversely, a document gets termed as an HTML file if it is in HTML syntax at the end of the process. There’re many purposes that this technique serves, such as resource and text extraction and screen scraping because it is fast and robust.
8. Vertical Aggregation
Vertical aggregation is another reliable automatic content scraping technique you should consider. Companies create aggregation platforms to target specific verticals. The platforms require large-scale computing power to extract huge data volumes and sometimes run on the cloud.
The automation of bots created through these platforms makes this a reliable method. The entire process requires no human intervention but depends on their knowledge about the intervals they’re targeting. The best thing about this technique is that it is highly efficient and reliable.
Users can measure this technique’s efficiency by comparing the quality of the extracted data against their initial expectations.
Content scraping as a practice has continued to grow in popularity. It can happen with good or bad intent, and many websites usually try to bar it. Although other people use it for malicious intent, many businesses are using it to access crucial data that enables them to grow their practice and become better.
But then, content scraping has never been a straightforward task. You need to employ the best techniques to get reliable and trustworthy data from it. The techniques mentioned above will help you to achieve your goals successfully.