The world of data is at our feet, information is available everywhere and all we need to do is to extract it and take it in. Data scraping has become one of the best known functions for marketing and also for business direction. Some of the top companies recognize this functionality and prioritize it over spending money on other marketing methods. Come let us inspect data extraction and what it entails.
In this article we are going to discuss how to mine data from a website, can excel pull data from a website, and vba pull data from website.
What is Web Scraping?
Web scraping is the act of extracting a layer of information from a website, once the data is gathered, you receive it in readable factual format. It can then be used for whatever purpose you wish to use it for. We will take a look at some different use cases a little later in this article.
Web Crawling vs Web Scraping:
Web Crawling is when the web is searched by an internet bot, and the information gathered is indexed. They are usually operated by search engines.
Web scraping is the gathering of information without manually typing and comparing information as you read it on the site. It is user error free as it works on a technological structure.
Different Use Cases for Web Scraping
Extracting data from a website can be extremely beneficial to your marketing or product strategies. Let’s take a look:
- Price monitoring. Comparing product prices over various platforms is part of marketing on another level.
- Social media. The main place for information gathering and communication is from social media. Scraping this area can bring you deep insight as to people's wants and needs.
- Real Estate. Property listings can give you a real indication of what is available in your area.
- Lead Generation. In business you can stand out if you know more than your fellow competitor in a market. Lead generation can be done to the correct target market once you identified the niche and approach you need as per the information received.
- Search engine results. SEO is a crucial matter and if you do it wrong or don't do it at all, then you might be a slow growing, if even growing company.
If you take into account what price monitoring, social media, real estate, lead generation and search engine results could do for you, you could find a gold mine of information to put your business ahead of your competitors.
How To Extract Data From The Website With Code?
If you are a tech company and have the resources to extract data using code, this is the best way to go. Writing your own web scraping code is the most effective and reliable option. Using script to pull data from a website is not that difficult if you already have your basic coding knowledge, it is not going to take the most qualified IT guy to do.
Here are a few things to consider regarding your web scraping stack:
- Proxies. They are central to any web scraping operations. Websites will display different data based on the country origin of the IP address. If you’re using a proxy, you may need to use a proxy within the country you want data from.
- Headless browsers. Many websites nowadays are built using front-end frameworks such as Vue.js, Angular.js, React.js. They use back-end API to fetch data. The three most used APIs to run headless browsers are Selenium, Puppeteer and Playright.
- Extraction rules (XPath and CSS Selectors). This is the logic used to select the HTML element and extract data. Your developers will spend a great deal of time here. Websites often update their HTML therefore you will need to update those XPath and CSS selectors regularly.
- Job scheduling. Job scheduling and error handling can be done using any message broker such as Sidekiq in Ruby or RQ in Python.
- Storage. After extracting the data, you will need to store it. The scraped data is stored either in JSON, CSV, XML, SQL or noSQL database formats.
- Monitoring. It is very important to extract data from the web at scale. Splunk is a great tool for analyzing your logs, setting up your dashboard and alerts.
If you want to pull data from website Python is a great web scraping tool to use, that offers all of the above features and functionalities to make the process easier.
How To Extract Data From The Website Without Code or Low-Code?
If you don’t have any developers in your company, you can still scrape data from any website without code or by using low-code. This method is very effective if you need data on your server for a once off project and not recurring.
- Data brokers. If you want a list of all online shopping companies such as Amazon, you wouldn’t be able to scrape the entire web to get the complete list, but you can buy it from data brokers such as builtwith.com.
- Website-specific APIs. Using an existing website API would be beneficial if you want to pull data from a specific website as opposed to all over the web. You won’t have to handle the maintenance when it updates its HTML. No monitoring required by you, no extraction rules updates and you don’t have to deal with proxies getting blocked.
- Web Browser Extensions. This can be a super efficient way of extracting data, especially well-formatted data. DataMiner offers ready-to-use scraping recipes for websites such as Shopify, Amazon, or Ebay.
- Web Scraping Tools. Tools such as ScreamingFrog or ScrapeBox are great for extracting data from the web, and even Google. Depending on your use case, it may be the easiest method.
- Outsource to Web Scraping Agencies or Freelancers. There are many web scraping freelancers who can help with your data extraction needs. You can search sites such as Upwork.com to find freelancers. Another great option is using a web scraping agency, they are able to perform large-scale scraping.
How To Pull Data From Website Into Excel?
To pull data from a website to Excel VBA is quite easy. You simply go to your standard excel application and find the data tab. After clicking on it you will go to the external data category. In the address bar you can type the URL in and the fun starts here. In the navigator window, select display options, and you will see a preview window open under the table view tab. After it’s loaded, you are all set to read your data! See, the guide on how to extract data from websites to excel automatically is quite simple.
How To Pull Data From Website Into Google Sheets?
Google Sheets, among some of its other great functions, offers an ImportHTML function that imports data from a table or list within an HTML page. This function can be used for pulling data from a website and placed automatically into a Google Sheet.
Well there we go, now you can be productive while you are sleeping. Well, not you as such, but you get what we are saying. Information gathering and sorting surely went from 100 pages open doing manual research and copy-past boredom to even being able to automate information gathering. Data is available all around us and if we use it wisely, this information could be gold dust waiting to be melted down into bars.