The internet can be an abundant source of information and opportunities for countless businesses across the globe. With more organizations rapidly embracing the advantages of digital transformation, enterprises are moving their operations to the digital business landscape.
Naturally, this sudden transformation requires new developments and business models. Web crawling plays a vital role in the digital business realm as it helps digital businesses achieve many different goals, from getting access to updated information to beating competitors.
While many business internet users are familiar with web crawling, they don’t fully understand what it is or its benefits. So, let’s discuss what a web crawler is, how it works, and how it can help your business.
What is a web crawler?
Also known as a search engine bot, crawling bot, or web spider, a crawler is a program, a software tool that crawls (browses) the web looking for web pages to download and index the content.
A crawler can download and index any content from the web, but its primary purpose is to help search engines keep their web pages up-to-date for easier and faster retrieval. These smart little bots are designed to crawl the web, find new web pages, gather content, and retrieve specific pieces of information when needed.
They automatically, systematically, and methodically access the web, helping search engines gather sources and links depending on the search query. The internet wouldn’t be able to function without web crawlers. Click here to read the full article.
How crawling works
Since there are millions of web pages on the web, manually browsing all of them would take tremendous effort and an incredible amount of time. A manual process isn’t very practical or cost-efficient for businesses that collect vast amounts of data daily.
The internet is constantly expanding, adding more information every day. Billions of internet users generate staggering amounts of data daily, making it simply impossible to cope with all that data without using the latest technology. That is where web crawlers come into play.
Thanks to the power of automation, web crawlers can browse millions of websites in mere seconds. They can tell which websites to target and in which order to crawl them. This prioritization is essential for the proper functioning of search engines. That is why search engines like Google can display credible, accurate, and up-to-date information when needed.
Different use cases
Online businesses of all sizes can significantly benefit from web crawling. Regardless of your business or industry, web crawling is an excellent way to find the latest information and provide your marketing teams with new insights and data they need to achieve your business goals.
The most common use cases of web crawling include:
- SEO research – Since web crawlers constantly crawl the web looking for the latest data, you can use them to stay ahead of the latest SEO trends. They can help you learn how to implement them into your business website to optimize your online presence and improve your ranking on search engines. Increased brand visibility means more exposure and traffic.
- Market research – Businesses are as competitive as they are familiar with their markets in an online business landscape. Web crawling helps you gather the latest insights when conducting market research and learning more about the competitors and target audience to improve decision-making and marketing efforts.
- Product development – Web crawlers help gather information about the most popular products that are high in demand from your competitors’ websites. You can make your products better and more competitive, among many other things.
- Brand monitoring – The best way to improve your brand image and reputation is to know what people say about your brand online. Web crawling can gather feedback from review websites and social media to give you an accurate picture of what prospects think about your business on the web.
- Price comparison – Comparing your prices to your competitors’ allows you to adjust your pricing and attract more consumers by offering more competitive prices.
Web crawling vs. web scraping
While there are some similarities, scraping and crawling are very different. The two main differences are the goals and results. Scraping is all about gathering top-class data from the most relevant websites. You determine what you need to extract before the process starts.
On the other hand, crawling is about gathering website URLs and pages to download and index valuable content. Scraping includes extracting information from already targeted websites, while crawling is about discovering those websites.
Web crawlers are programmed to get you a list of the top URL addresses, while scrapers are in charge of extracting the information from the websites on those URLs.
Web crawling is necessary for the proper functioning of the internet. It’s essential for businesses and regular internet users as it helps them find the information and content they need in mere seconds.
Since they provide numerous advantages, web crawlers have become perfect tools for accessing the latest data and up-to-date web pages.