If you are looking to scrape data from a list of URLs in automation, web scraping is the best solution to get this done. Scraping the web using web scraping is being widely used by companies to extract data for business intelligence, content aggregation, brand monitoring and many more similar use cases. When it comes to scraping data from websites, there are many options available from DIY scraping tools to fully managed web scraping services.
How to scrape data from a list of URLs
Web scraping is done by manually coding a crawler setup that can extract data from the source websites. Since different websites could have different structure and design, it is not possible to create a dynamic program that can scrape every website alike. The crawler is set up by identifying tags that hold certain data points in each of the source website. These tags are coded into the crawler in order to extract them. Once the web crawler has been set up, it can be deployed on dedicated servers to be run. The crawler setup will fetch and save the data to a dump file locally or on the cloud.
This data would usually contain noise and needs to be cleaned up. Noise is the unwanted html tags and pieces of text that gets scraped along with the required data. A cleaning setup can be used to remove the noise, leaving only the relevant data behind. Once the data is free from noise, it has to be structured. Structuring is done in order to make the data machine readable. This will make it easy for the analytics system to read the data with context. It also helps you easily import this data into a database.
Prerequisites for scraping
- List of sources
- Sound technical knowledge
- High end servers to run the crawler
- An extensive tech stack
Data extraction at scale is a complicated process that requires skilled labour and high-end resources. Depending on web scraping services is an easier option when it comes to data extraction for business.