Web Spider – What You Need to Know

A web spider is a helpful tool that can help with web data extraction. It allows the user to extract data from target websites. One of the most common forms of web spiders is search engine spiders that go through websites, read their codes and collect information to add to search engines.

As the technology advances, a web spider is now use in other ways, such as screen scraping and data mining. Businesses use the technology for web data extraction to give them an advantage over their competitors.

A web spider can scan and copy data from web pages. It can do web scraping on websites to copy the HTML code and other content. Some web spiders are used by businesses to look at the content of the websites of their potential clients. Businesses can also use spiders to check online shops and compare prices, brands they carry, quantities of items they have on hand, and more.

Web spiders are automated programs or bots that go through WebPages to scrape site information. The user can provide a list of sites that the spider will visit. It will then copy the site content and data, look for the hyperlinks on each page, and add them to the list of sites to go to next. The web spider can be programmed to go back to sites at set intervals. The data is copied and can be analysed offline.

iHarvest provides software that allows you to conduct web crawls. The user can specify the websites to visit and the data to look for. Any visible text on the web page can be extracted through screen scraping. Even images can be downloaded and provided to the client in a zip file.

Web data extraction involves collecting data from web pages. There are different languages used to create web pages. These are HTML, XHTML, ASP, PHP, and more. Scraping uses API that is built to help make extracting data from websites easier. But an APIs not necessarily needed to extract data from any website. The data extracted can be presented in various formats, such as MS XLS, XML, CSV, and SQL Insert Statements.

Reasons Why You Should Do Scraping (using a Web Spider)

 Websites are more vital than their APIs. Website owners care more about the way their websites look more than maintaining their data feeds. There are also some websites that change the nature of their APIs without informing the users. Sometimes the feed goes down, and no one notices it. But if the website goes down, somebody will deal with it right away.

Websites don’t have any rate limiting which makes scraping a better choice than API. Businesses don’t have defences against automated access after the initial captchas on sign up pages. Screen scraping would not be viewed as a DDOS attack, and you would probably be dismissed as just someone who really likes the website.

Web Spider

Why use a Web Spider for Data Extraction?

  • Visualise  your competitors “in stock” items multiplied by the price to get a stock evaluation.
  • Get a complete list of all brands sold.
  • Get a complete list of sections and sub sections of products.
  • Analyse brand size proportions in a competitors catalogue.
  • Compare brand size saturation with your own store.
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  • Look for products on offer and calculate the percentage of the price reduction.
  • Monitor the competitive landscape.
  • Have the insight to make fair and accurate price comparisons .
  • Combine SKUs (Product Codes) to make like for like comparisons.
  • Make better decisions for your business.

More References


Screen Scraping

Save 100’s of hours manually inputting

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While there are logs that can track your behaviour on websites, you are only known as an IP address and through cookies. HTTP requests make you anonymous unlike using an API that requires you to register to get a key and use the key with each request.

Web data extraction can be beneficial for companies, organisations, or any entity that wants to gather data from any particular industry. A marketing company uses data scraping to do marketing for a specific product or to reach a target market.

Information is vital in this day and age. The internet has given us a way to collect data easier. No matter what industry your business might belong in, web spiders can help you collate pertinent data to help with your business. While the volume of available data can be overwhelming, the tool can help you determine the relevant ones and provide them in an organised manner.

Web spider is an important tool for businesses. There are various programs offered by companies on the market today, but only iHarvest provides the right software that suits your needs. All you need to do is to point the web spider to the right direction, and it will do the web data extraction for you. Utilise the tool to give your business an upper hand over your competitors.