People are often confused about the difference between web crawling vs web scraping. With so many definitions out there, it is hard to understand the key points that separate one from another.
If you are thinking about investing in a tool to help you build your business and keep it successful with the right data on your hands, then you must learn what the difference between these two is, and which one to choose. The right tool can help you make business decisions and plan your marketing strategies according to precise and valuable data extracted from the web.
We would like to explain both concepts to you so you will understand what makes one different from another, and like that to choose the one that will fit your plans.
Defining These Often Confusing Concepts
The simplest way to define these concepts is to break down what both of them were designed to do and how they do it. We will mention the key points that make the difference in web crawling vs web scraping.
- Web Scraping
Web scraping is an automated way of extracting data from websites. It uses bots to “scrape” useful information or content from any site added to its list. It locates and collects data from sites and goes deeper and fetches it from any virtual storage found. The data you’re scraping for can be anything like the price of certain goods, or even a market trend on one specific product.
For example, some of the best applications of web scraping are in the real estate market, where you can get data on the prices around the place you are trying to sell. That way, you can plan your approach when estimating the price of the real estate you’re selling.
It will analyze deep layers of the content and provide you with data in HTML code that you can later download and save in CSV or JSON format.
Web scraping is a much more targeted process than crawling. It will provide you data only relevant to the specific search entry you’ve set.
- Web Crawling
Web crawling is a concept you are most likely to understand. This concept is a part of any search engine like Google, Binge, Yahoo, or others. It indexes the web pages with a bot named “crawler”, and compared to web scraping, it analyzes the whole page from top to bottom and fetches all the data from it.
A bot will then find new URLs relevant to your search and fetch data from them until the last one. It will analyze deep layers of the content and provide you data from billions of websites online. There would never be Google without the web crawlers.
Crawling also does a specific search of data like scraping, but it does it by collecting a huge amount of data that’s useful for many businesses while looking for other sources of information.
Which One Is More Suitable for the Business Application?
Well, both of them can work well, but if you are in the retail business, then web scraping is the way to go. It is the best way to collect the specific data you will use to plan a business strategy and put it to work. If you have any doubts about how you should approach certain markets, you can let the bot research for you. With the right information, you’ll have the tool to dominate the competition if you use it properly.
How to Figure Out Which One You Need?
It is all about the business you are running and what kind of information is useful to you. Like we said above, if you are in the retail business, you will find scraping much useful. However, do not think of crawling as a worse choice in all regards. That is not the case, because crawling is also an effective way of data collecting. Sit down with your team of analysts, and discuss which approach is better for the service you’re providing.
Might You Need Both?
Well, why not? If you want to invest in both tools, you will have benefits of both. One will complement each other, and you will end up with a huge database of different statistics. That can only help your analysts create a better picture of what should be your next step forward.
Both tools have their key points that separate one from another. We hope that you got a better picture of what makes them different when compared. If you are planning to invest your resources in tools like these, there are no limits on what you might get as a result. Go ahead and take the first step for your business to reach its full potential.