Web Crawling VS. Web Scraping
When browsing the internet a lot is going on behind the scenes, many companies are taking part in crawling, scraping and aggregating data across the web. Search Engines are optimizing information to make it faster and easier to find, ensuring results are more relevant to your search criteria.
Bots or crawlers are used to browse through pages continuously and provide the most updated data, indexing important data and caching it to ensure the best user experience. The process of doing this is called Web Crawling and it encompasses viewing every page, all of its links and indexing all of the available information.
Web Scraping, however, targets in on some particular type of information. It can be referred to as web data extraction and also uses bots or crawlers with very specific guidelines of what is to be collected. This could be links or certain HTML body elements, datasets or .jpeg files, where the exact data set identifier is known.
The difference between Web Crawling and Web Scraping is that crawling is more generic, it collects ALL available information and is more associated with the actions of a Search Engine. Scraping, however, is targeting key identifiers and honing in on them. This is more commonly done by companies looking to conduct deep data analyses for a very specific use.
Companies utilize this data to compare prices across different markets and locations. It is used to protect brands by ensuring the proper use of their intellectual content, insignia, and trademarks. Data mining is used for research including academic, marketing or scientific studies. Almost every company utilizes this vast network of information for market research, people data, competitive intelligence and more.
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