Companies gather data to understand market trends, customer preferences, and competitors’ activities. They need valuable data to make strategic decisions. As per a 2019 survey, search volume accounted for 29% of all website traffic across the world. These figures show that search engines are full of useful public data.
This, as a result, has made search engine scraping a trending topic everywhere. It is an automated process of extracting public data like URLs, descriptions, and other information from search engines. However, many challenges will arise when scraping processes scale, which can make the data extraction process difficult.
In this post, we’ll discuss the top five challenges that come with search engine scraping and their ultimate solution.
Top 5 Search Engine Scraping Challenges
Scraping search engine results page (SERP) data brings great value for businesses of all kinds; however, it also comes with challenges that can make the scraping processes complex. Let’s have a look at the five key challenges in detail:
With no proper planning, IP blocks can cause a number of problems. Search engines can find the user’s IP address. During scraping, scrapers send a large number of requests to the server to access the needed information. If the requests always come from the same IP address, either the IP will be banned, or the access will be restricted since it is not regarded as coming from regular users. In addition, there is IP blocking via geolocation. This happens when a website is protected from attempts to extract data from certain locations.
CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing to tell Computers and Humans Apart) is another popular security measure. When a system suspects that a user is a bot, the CAPTCHA test pops up and asks users to perform logical tasks or identify objects in pictures for verification. This allows distinguishing a human being from a robot as humans find it easy to solve, but scrapers don’t. The measures designed for overcoming CAPTCHA can help with data acquisition, they could also slow down the scraping process.
Obtaining public data is one thing. All your efforts may get wasted if the extracted data is hard to read and understand. Considering this, it is important to think about what format and structure you want your data to be delivered in before you choose a scraper.
Real-time data extraction is important when it comes to comparing prices, tracking inventory, etc. Data changes in a flash and may lead to massive profit gain for a business. For this, scrapers need to perform monitoring and scrape data repeatedly. Still, it has some delays since the data requests and delivery take time. Also, retrieving large volumes of real-time data is a big challenge in itself.
Data from Multiple Sources
At times, data is available from different sources and formats. The scraper works in such a manner that it collects all the information from one service. In such a scenario, it gets difficult to collect and structure the data as some of it may be missing completely. Also, it takes a lot of time.
How to Deal with Scraping Challenges
Though common, search engines come with a host of challenges. And the above-mentioned ones are just a few of the key scraping challenges to overcome. While there are multiple ways of dealing with these challenges, a simpler and more efficient solution is the use of a search engine scraper for extracting SERP data. It is a robust tool that helps extract huge amounts of publicly available data in real-time from main search engines. The tool helps with keyword research, ad tracking, and brand protection.
Here is what you can do with search engine scrapers:
- Gather the key data points from the main SERPs – You can extract relevant data pieces, such as ads, photos, news, featured snippets, etc., to detect counterfeit and enhance your SEO rankings.
- Target a location on a coordinate level – Since the tool is powered by a proxy network, you can select any location worldwide and gather the data down to the city level.
- Obtain Structured Data – With this tool, there is no longer a need to struggle with messy datasheets. As soon as the data is extracted, you can get to the data analysis, thanks to the JSON and CSV formats.
- Store the scraped data anywhere – After the successful scraping, the obtained results will be delivered directly to your cloud storage account.
If you’re curious to learn more on the topic, be sure to check out Oxylabs article on search engine scraping as well!
Today, businesses depend on data and its quality as it helps them stay competitive in the industry. Though scraping search engine data is legal, there are so many challenges. Tools like search engine scraper make a great scraping companion to overcome the most common search engine scraping issues and extract the required data fast and in high quality.