No matter what category or type of industry your business happens to fall into, you’re always sure to be on the hunt for a competitive edge. And it’s no wonder why; that edge is crucial if you want to stay afloat in the uncertain times in which we live.
With a seemingly endless supply of related companies/products making their entrance onto the market and consumers having more freedom of choice than ever before, any sort of helping hand should be a welcome thing for any business. However, some are certainly more useful than others, and one of the best around happens to be search engine scraping.
The Basics Of Scraping
Just what exactly is search engine scraping? Well, if you’ve not encountered the term before, it’s not all that difficult to understand. Search engine scraping is simply a form of web scraping – a means of extracting web data with software – that focuses specifically on data acquired from search engines.
Essentially, search engine scraping uses automated means to gather publicly available information on popular engines like Google, Bing, etc. The specific type of information will vary case-by-case, but items such as URLs, site descriptions, meta titles, industry-relevant keywords, and other general search engine results pages are common targets for search engine scrapers to round up.
All in all, it’s pretty general stuff. However, depending on the use case, specific images, news tab results, shopping prices, and product names can all also be pulled into a spreadsheet, JSON, or CSV file for further analysis.
How a company or group goes about acquiring this information can vary just as significantly as the types of data themselves. Perhaps the easiest way to do so is by leveraging specialized SERP scrapers like those developed by Oxylabs, Specrom, and SERP Master. However, Python can be used for a more simplistic approach, no third-party software required, or you can utilize various bots for a more customizable experience should you be on the more tech-savvy side.
The most crucial point, though – no matter what technique you’re using for search engine scraping – is always to use a private proxy and disable/clear cookies regularly. Failing to do so will likely get one blocked, as sites can’t really distinguish between good and bad bots. Taking precautions by rotating IP addresses and avoiding server overloading is a simple way to protect yourself/your company and can even help in accessing location-restricted data that might not usually be accessible!
Point Of The Process
The general idea of search engine scraping isn’t super difficult to parse out. However, knowing the basics of how it works still doesn’t answer any questions about why. What even is the point of this kind of data acquisition? When you get down to the brass tacks, search engine scraping is done because it’s great for business.
As with just about any web scraping, the collection of SERP data can give you a beneficial birds-eye view of the industry as a whole. For example, gathering information from Google’s news tab through news scraping (an offshoot of both search engine and web scraping) can give you deep knowledge about current trends and what might currently be on offer from competitors.
You can then use this to your advantage, letting it inform the types of products/services you put out and ensuring your company always shows off what makes it different from the other faces in the crowd. Likewise, pulling on popular keyword searches through search engine scraping can also be a major boon for any wanting their venture to truly flourish.
After all, learning about how customers search for the things you supply and what language ranks high within the internet’s top search engines perfectly demonstrates how you should be marketing your business for maximum exposure. Alter your SEO strategy accordingly, and your company will reap the rewards. In the end, you’ll gain a broader audience and increased revenue – both of which are a hallmark for any long-lasting, lucrative business.
Some of search engine scraping’s biggest benefits lie in how it opens up the market before your eyes. It plainly displays some of the information that may otherwise be shrouded in mystery, and that can dramatically change how your company operates, creates content, and markets itself. But SERP data gathering isn’t only useful for a better offensive strategy; it’s critical for a good defensive strategy, too.
To speak more plainly, search engine scraping offers powerful brand protection on top of fantastic SEO monitoring and marketing since this subset of web scraping will wade through thousands, maybe millions of images and shop listings. If any brands are using your images, product names, or ideas illegally, you will find out and can then take sensible steps to keep plagiarism, copyright infringement, and all other manner of theft firmly at bay. This seriously makes search engine scraping the enemy of counterfeits, and we love it all the more for that.
A Quick Look At Legality
A great way to grow business while protecting it from some of the problems that inevitably come with that growth (we’re looking at you fake Amazon products!), search engine scraping can be a handy tool. But just looking at it on the surface makes it simply seem too good to be true. There’s got to be a catch, right? Well, there is, and it’s that search engine scraping exists in a sort of legal grey area.
Now, this isn’t to say that it’s automatically something you can’t do or should actively avoid. The facts of legality around the process are incredibly complex and widely debated, and there are indeed situations in which searching engine scraping – or web scraping overall – are perfectly legal. The key here lies almost purely in intention and the kind of legal sum of its parts.
Is there malicious intent behind your search engine scraping? Are you violating any laws by accessing gathered material? Are you infringing on someone else’s intellectual property rights? Are you collecting data to merely gain more reliable market-trend knowledge, or is there some underhanded corporate espionage happening behind the scenes?
Your answers to these questions will all affect the legality of what you’re doing. It’s a complicated, confusing thing to traverse even on a good day. Because of this, we highly recommend consulting with a professional before you get started with any web scraping. A good lawyer or legal advisor should be able to better assess your particular situation and guarantee that any scraping you’re engaging in is kept safe, secure, and fully legal.
If you are interested in even more business-related articles and information from us here at Bit Rebels, then we have a lot to choose from.