As many business owners in the digital age have realized, data is everything. With enough information at your disposal, you can adapt and change many different facets of your business to become successful. There are a few different ways businesses can collect data, but web scraping is by far the most effective.
By using a web scraper along with a US proxy from a reputable provider like Smartproxy, you can quickly scour the web to gather large amounts of public data. Businesses can then use this information in their marketing, budgets, price and product intelligence and more. The US proxies you use with your web scraping will also keep your identity safe and make it appear you’re accessing the internet from within the USA while using these tools or browsing the web.
What Is Web Scraping?
Web scraping, also referred to as web harvesting or web data extraction, is a method of collecting data across many different websites. This can be done manually by having a person go through these sites and collecting the information into a spreadsheet. However, this takes a long time and is not the most effective way of harvesting data.
There are web scraping tools and software that does all the work for you to make the process easy and accessible for businesses of all sizes. When combined with a US proxy, these tools can be an extremely valuable data gathering force for your business.
Why Should Businesses Make Use of Web Scraping?
There are many different benefits for businesses that use web scraping. Businesses have reported increased profits from web scraping operations of 300% due to higher quality data and faster data acquisition. If the potential of increased profits alone is not enough to tempt you, here are more benefits of using web scraping for your business.
- Web scraping can help you conduct effective market research.
- Web harvesting can help your business generate valuable leads.
- Web scraping can help with product and price intelligence.
- Data extraction can help businesses analyze competitors.
- Web scraping can help businesses monitor their brand.
- Web harvesting can help businesses with financing and identifying investment opportunities.
Why Do You Need a Proxy When Scraping the Web?
A proxy is an essential tool for any business. By using a proxy for your business, you can increase connection speeds, meaning that your customers can access and navigate your website faster and easier. Another major benefit is that they hide your IP address. This means you can browse the web anonymously and securely without being tracked. Finally, using a proxy also grants you access to certain geo-restricted content. For example, a US proxy will make it appear that you are accessing the web form within the US, even if you’re in another part of the world. The same goes for China or India.
You can choose between datacenter proxies or residential proxies when picking proxies. We recommend using residential proxies as these are linked to real IP addresses of existing devices, thus providing higher quality data collection and less chance of getting blocked. These residential networks are 2,000% larger than datacenter proxy networks, giving them a worldwide reach for penetrating the truly global data market valued at $36 billion.
If you attempt to scrape the web without a proxy, you may find that your connection speed slows down tremendously as you are running multiple requests through the same IP. You may also get blocked from sites, leading to ineffective or inaccurate results in the data you collect.
How Do You Use Residential Proxies for Web Scraping?
Before even getting started, let’s clear one thing up. You’re probably wondering if web scraping is legal? After all, the term sounds a bit suspicious. However, web scraping public data is completely legal. However, never attempt to scrape private or personal data, as this is where you might get into trouble. As long as you scrape information available to the public, i.e. what anyone could see if they went onto the website, you are acting within the law.
The first thing you’ll need before getting started is a web scraper and a residential proxy. For the web scraper, you can build your own if you have some programming knowledge. There are also many open source codes available to get you started. If you are not familiar with programming, there are web scraping tools such as Octoparse and Parsehub that you can use. We recommend only using reputable sources for the residential proxy and never going with a free proxy. Although these might sound like they save you money, they put your entire network at risk and could potentially cause a lot of damage, which may easily be more expensive than using a good quality proxy.
Once you have both, you can open your scraping tool and input your search parameters, i.e. what data you want to collect. You can also specify whether you want to scrape just specific websites, or the types of websites, or even the original location of websites if you’re targeting data in specific locations. Once you’ve filled in all the parameters of what you want, you need to connect your scraping tool to your proxy to ensure anonymity and security.
Web scraping might sound like a complex process, but it can be easy to implement with the right tools. When combining a web scraper with a good residential proxy, such as US proxies, you ensure your security and online anonymity while still gathering useful public data. The data you collect through web scraping can help your business analyze the market, identify and make critical business decisions.