Web crawling Open Source is commonly mentioned in discussions about data mining. But the meaning is often not expounded on, and as a result, many people confuse it with data scraping. Some people use the two terms interchangeably.
The process of web crawling Open Source, however, is different from data scraping, although the two can be used simultaneously for efficient data mining. It involves indexing information from websites for easier use and reference in the future.
Web crawling Open Source is commonly used by search engines like Google and Bing to index the websites you get in your search results. It is, therefore, best to first understand how the search engines crawl the internet and how you can use the process to better your business.
Web crawling Open Source and how search engines use it
Automated web crawling is done using web crawlers, which are also known as web spiders, bots, etc. The crawlers’ mode of operation can be likened to a library in that they access websites, assess the information, and categorize or index it.
The indexed catalog makes it easier for you to look up the information in the future for evaluation. Just like a library, the catalogs guide you to the relevant sections that contain the book you are looking for.
To understand this better, let’s look at search engines. When you enter a search item on Google, how does the system decide which websites to present to you as the search results? How do they know if those websites contain the information you need?
The results that a search engine gives you are from a catalog or index that has been created over time through web crawling Open Source.
To start the process, the crawler bots are sent into the popular sites where they assess and index all the information. Once done with the initial site, the bots follow the links in the site into other websites where they repeat the process. The information the bots get in the subsequent websites is added into that was created in the first website.
The process is virtually perpetual to make sure that the index always has fresh and relevant information. That is why if you search for a particular item today and tomorrow, you might find different sets of websites on the first page of results. This means that the search engine crawlers updated the indexes between the two searches.
Web crawling advantages for your business
To grow your business, you need to identify trends in the market and understand your competitors and customers. To do this, you need data – lots of it.
Today, thanks to e-commerce, there is plenty of information you can get online related to the industry you are involved in. For instance, a quick glance into your competitors’ websites can tell you how their pricing compares to yours. But let us say you sell 500 products. There is no way you can carry out a price comparison for each of these products manually, especially if you have many competitors. Browsing through the websites also would not give you information about how the customers interact with the product.
You can get all this information, and much more, within a short time using web crawling bots. The bots will access the websites and index the information for you to analyze later using other tools.
The spiders can be programmed to either crawl in one website or multiple websites at the same time. The bots can also be coupled with other tools. Such as parsers and data scrapers for efficient extraction of the data.
If you want to understand better how web crawlers work, read more about it on oxylabs blog.
Web crawling Open Source advantages with proxies
Some websites are not enthusiastic about having web crawlers access their data. And have set their security systems to block spider bots. Using proxies, you can crawl in such websites without detection and being blocked. The proxies will mask your real IP address and present their own IPs instead.
Ideally, rotating residential proxies are the best for use in web crawling. You just need to have them programmed to change the IP address within a short period. Before the website identifies the bot-like behavior from one IP to block it, you have already changed to another one.
Proxies also allow you to access websites in other regions. If you want to evaluate the market in Dubai, and you are in the US, a lot of the Dubai websites may not be accessible. Using a proxy whose IP is in Dubai, you will be able to access the same websites for web crawling.
Web crawling Open Source can be a great source of data for your business if you do it well. For maximum efficiency, you need to first decide what type of information you need from the site. You also need to determine whether you want to crawl one site or multiple sites beforehand.
If you want to get the pricing details from several websites, you will need the crawlers to be programmed for that purpose. Similarly, you may have the crawlers index a wide range of data from the same website.