Since the web has a significant role in our present world, data over the web has also become more vital. With that in mind, various companies that sell products or services through the internet or want to gain access to information via the internet are automatically a part of collecting data.
Web scraping becomes essential if data collection is vital to those companies. Also called automatic web data collection, this is where the desired pages are scanned using web scrapers or scripts to extract necessary data effortlessly. You can do this instead of manually checking websites and reading and extracting data on these pages.
For businesses, web scraping has opened up a lot of opportunities. Different companies can make tactical decisions on public data available on the internet. With data scraping, a company or business can analyze ads, research competitors, obtain organic and paid data, and check search engine optimization.
Altogether, if your company or business is deciding to incorporate web scraping as part of its process, it’s good if you know how to scrape search engine data. This article will tackle exactly that.
Use Google Sheets’ IMPORTXML Function For Data Scraping
As stated by Google’s support page, the IMPORTXML function helps import data from different structured data types, including HTML, XML, TSV, RSS, CSV, and ATOM XML feeds.
IMPORTXML is a feature that allows you to scrape structured data from web pages without coding knowledge. For instance, you can extract data such as descriptions, links, page titles, and more detailed information more efficiently by using IMPORTXML.
The function is relatively straightforward and only needs two values the URL of the web page that you like to scrape data from.
XPath stands for XML Path Language; you can use it to go through the elements and attributes in an XML document. For instance, to scrape the page title from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing, you can use:
=IMPORTXML(“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_Landing”, “//title”). This will bring back the value: Moon landing – Wikipedia.
Likewise, if you’re looking for the page description, you can try:
To note, here are some examples of the most common and helpful XPath queries:
- Page links: //@href
- Page meta description: //meta[@name=’description’]/@content
- Page title: //title
- Page H1: //h1
Use A SERP API
An application programming interface or API allows web applications to interact with each other. With regards to web scraping, a SERP API can allow you to deliver requests to various web pages on search engine results and obtain an answer (data). Any effective SERP API should place this data in your selected database for processing.
Likewise, know that Google had created a SERP API but later called it back. At present, they only provide a custom website search API. This resulted in the rise of 3rd party APIs for scraping Google SERPs. A 3rd party SERP API assists in collating data without the need to type in codes.
Note that there are pros and cons to having 3rd party SERP API such as:
- You don’t have to enter data or instructions manually
- Set out automatic data extraction at pre-specified periods
- Deliver data straight to your data analytics software—automate data harvesting and analysis
- Although you may receive trial offers, a solid 3rd party SERP APIs can be costly.
To note, 3rd party SERP APIs have changed how people mine data. By incorporating data analysis, you can instantly obtain insights that you need to have from collected data. Likewise, these SERP APIs update data by themselves also. As such, you can stay in the know with the vital aspects of your business such as market trends and SEO rankings by putting money on the most robust SERP API out there.
Use Dynamic Web Queries In Excel
Preparing a web query in Microsoft Excel would be a convenient and flexible data scraping approach to setting up data feed from an external site into spreadsheets.
- Open a workbook
- Click the cell that you want your data to be imported
- Go to ‘Data’ tab
- Select ‘Get external data’
- Select ‘From web’
- Remember the yellow arrows showing on the upper left of the page alongside the content
- Paste the web page’s URL that you’d import data from into the bar
- Select ‘Go’
- Select the yellow arrow beside the data you want to import
- Click ‘Import’
- A dialogue box would pop up
- Select ‘OK’
If you’ve adhered to these, you should see the data laid out in your Excel spreadsheet. What’s excellent about dynamic web queries is they don’t only import data as a one-and-done procedure; they constantly update the spreadsheet with the newest data version as it comes onto the source site.
Web scraping is the process of scanning web pages using web scrapers or scripts to extract data smoothly. This can help avoid visiting sites and manually checking and extracting data.
Note that there are ways to scrape search engine data, some of which are stated in this article. Overall, when you make the most of web scraping, it can help your business be more informed with its decisions because of the abundance of public data it can extract.
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