Web Scraping vs. Web Crawling – Comparison

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Web Scraping vs. Web Crawling

Web Scraping vs. Web Crawling – Comparison

William Lucas

92 Posts



Web scraping vs web crawling, this comparison is often discussed. However, there is a difference. Web scraping and web crawling are two related but distinct methods of gathering information from websites. While it is true that these concepts are very close to one another, they differ significantly in some important ways.

Let’s break down the definitions of web scraping vs. web crawling and examine their differences.

Web Scraping vs. Web Crawling

Quickie: Web scraping is extracting data from one or more web pages, while crawling focuses on locating URLs or connections on the internet.

Usually, crawling and scraping need to be combined in web data extraction tasks. To scrape the data from those HTML files, you must first crawl—or discover—the URLs and obtain the HTML files. In other words, after discovering the data, you extract and use it for something, like saving it in a database or processing it further.

What is Web Crawling?

Web crawling is similar to a spider crawling, except that this time the location of Crawling is the web. It reads online pages to create entries for search engine indexes.

What is Web Crawling

Web crawlers, also called spiders, are the devices used for online Crawling. A series of web pages are analyzed to extract information, and connections to the pages on those pages are then followed to find even more links.

Web Crawling Example

Web crawling is a process used by search engines (like Bing or Google) to gather all the data from a website and store it. By doing so, Google can determine which pages will contain the information you’re searching for.

Some examples of web crawlers used for search engine indexing include the following:

  • Amazonbot is the Amazon web crawler.
  • Bingbot is Microsoft’s search engine crawler for Bing.
  • DuckDuckBot is the crawler for the search engine DuckDuckGo.
  • Googlebot is the crawler for Google’s search engine.

What is Web Scraping?

In web scraping, data is extracted from websites and saved locally in XML, Excel, or SQL. Web scrapers are devices used for online scraping. They can quickly take the data from any website based on the provided specifications.

What is Web Scraping

They work in four steps:

  • Sending the request to the target page.
  • Getting a response from the target page.
  • Parsing and extracting the response.
  • Download the data.

Web Scraping Example

As an illustration, a Real Estate firm will scrape MLS listings to create an API that automatically adds this data to their website. In this manner, when someone discovers this listing on their website, they get to represent the property as the agent. An API produces a real estate website’s majority of listings on autopilot.

You can also use it for SEO because there are many methods to use web scraping for SEO. You can research competitors, discover backlink opportunities, locate influencers, and scrape SERPs.

Web Scraping vs. Web Crawling – Detailed Distinction

Going deeper, there is a significant distinction between the functions and goals of these two entities.

A web crawler will typically browse every page on a website instead of just some of the sites. On the other hand, web scraping concentrates on a particular data set on a website. Product specifications, stock prices, sports statistics, or any other data collection could be included.

In Short: Web Scraping has a much more focused approach and purpose, while Web crawlers will scan and extract all data on a website.

Is web scraping easy?

Yes, web scraping is easy! If provided with the proper tools, anyone—even those without programming experience—can scrape data. You don’t necessarily have to blame programming if you cannot scrape the required data.

Closing Thoughts

In short, web scraping vs. web crawling is navigating through the web to collect data, while web scraping is extracting specific data from websites using software tools.

If you’re looking for a web scraper for your next project, check out our guide on the best web scraping software or contact us.

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