Technology has changed how businesses extract competitor information. While previous routines required manual extraction of data, you can now easily use automation tools to get information.

Data extraction has now become a crucial part of business expansion. It is through web scraping that a brand can determine where they stand with their competitors. Web scraping tools have also made available information about the prices, products, and analytics of top brands.

And with competitor data playing a vital role in where you appear on search engines, this article seeks to discuss the relevance of web scraping in the SEO world

So, let’s begin.

What is Web Scraping?

Web scraping is the process of extracting data from a website. The routine involves the collecting and exporting of data in a format that can be more useful to the user. The formats that the data mostly appear in include CSV files, Excel, and Google Sheets.

Most of the people who use web scraping are businesses that want to see competitors’ data. In most cases, they’ll fetch information that improves their SEO campaigns. Data that most businesses would be looking for include:

  • Market research and insight
  • Price intelligence and monitoring
  • Lead Generation
  • Product details
  • Sports stats for betting purposes
  • List of business locations
  • Content and news monitoring

Web scrapers are excellent for allowing you to discover gaps and successes in your SEO journey. If, for instance, you have been creating content and not ranking on the top pages of search engines, the scraped data can help you develop a successful digital marketing strategy

How You Can Use Web Scraping to Boost Your SEO Campaigns

With so much competition in the SEO world, it’s important to learn web scraping routines that can boost your performance. 

1. Collect Keyword Results

Keywords form the basis of a successful SEO campaign. Keywords are one of the major factors that determine where you rank on search engines. By extracting your and your competitors’ keyword results, you can determine what attracts or distracts traffic from your sites.  

Web scraping also helps in targeting. It helps you discover personas that competitors might be reaching. By revealing the buyer personas, you will know if a user searching for keywords like yours will discover your website first.

Note: Some web scrapers cannot extract keywords from every website. This is because some websites use proxies to block web scrapers. But even so, there are counteractive proxies that can still bypass the restriction. Some proxies, such as the rotating proxy, deliver requests with different IP addresses. This makes them unnoticeable and convenient for data extraction.

2. Extract Data for Guest Blogging Opportunities

Guest blogging is a great way to improve your online visibility. It’s ideal for building relationships, getting exposure, and improving your search results through backlinks. But often, getting relevant information from certain sites is not easy.

Finding a site that shares similar blog styles with you is a rigorous process. First, you have to go through the site to find content that relates to your request. Next, you have to create topics that would resonate with their audience.

Luckily, web scraping tools can help you advance your guest blogging opportunities. Automatic tools can help you filter and extract data that are only relevant to your campaigns. Using web scraping tools, you can pitch and develop content that helps you rank higher in Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).

3. Discover Your Best Ranking Categories

There’s so much that goes into creating content. While most of the content creation efforts are geared towards appearing on the first page of SERPs, sometimes, this does not happen. Some content categories may do well, while some struggle to even get to the second page of search engines.

To discover which category is most influential, run a web scraper on your website. You can use the tool to find your best-performing categories. A web scraper will also help you organize and analyze the content based on specific metrics.

Most interesting is how the tools help you discover your most engaging and shared content. Using this information, you can scale down the categories you use in your website. Better still is how web scraping tools can help you discover additional categories from a competitor’s website that could improve your ranking. 

4. Get Accurate Data for Your Content

Web scraping extracts data directly from the source. This creates better chances for the data to be accurate. If, for example, you want to compare the pricing of certain products, then data scraping tools deliver fast and accurate results for your campaign.

The scraped data can then be used to create outstanding content. You can even compile data from sites like Statista to create graphs and charts for your blog posts. This information will boost the quality of your content and improve where you appear on SERPs.

Top Tips for Web Scraping Without Getting Blocked

The reason for using web scraping tools is to research your competitors and scale your SEO strategies. Therefore, consider these few tips on how to carry out a web scraping process without getting blocked.

Consider IP Rotation

The first thing websites look at to discover scrapers is the IP address. If you are using a standard IP address for most of your searches, you will likely get flagged and blocked from most sites. To make sure that your IP address is hidden from the public, use premium proxies. 

This is how proxies work; Every time you send a request, the proxy server will receive the request first. The proxy server then uses its unique IP address to send the request to the target website. 

Once the target website receives the request, it will deliver a response to the proxy server, and the server will then send the reply to you. During this time, your IP address is not available to the destination server. 

The benefit of a proxy in web scraping is that your IP address is not detectable. Some proxies, such as the residential proxy, go further to deliver advanced circumventing to geographical restrictions. When you use premium proxies, you get to bypass restrictions on even the most advanced sites like Amazon.

Use a Headless Browser

A headless browser has no graphical user interface. It’s ideal for use on websites that are difficult to bypass. Websites that detect simple elements like Javascript execution, browser cookies, extensions, or web fonts require the use of a headless browser. 

The browser tricks such sites by simulating a human user. It crawls on a page like a regular browser thus avoiding any detection. The headless browser then processes all the Javascript data and renders them to you. 

Include a Web Crawler

If you are using a web scraping API, this is the right tool to associate it with. A web crawler works by delivering URLs to the Scraping API, so it knows what to extract. With a web crawler, you can set the rules as you go. You can give commands on what you want to be scraped and what you want to be left out. Even better is how you can update the URLs as the scraping is going on.

Final Thoughts

Web scraping in the SEO world is a vast topic. It’s been growing and is expected to keep expanding in the coming years. With data playing a crucial role in where websites appear on search engines, it’s important to leverage your web scraping skills. Spend your time learning the best practices for productive web scraping routines.

SEO Checklist 2017

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