Crawl Bots and Understanding Web Scraping Services

  • December 27, 2017

    Crawl Bots and Understanding Web Scraping Services

    Crawler bots may sound like a creepy mechanical spider from a Terminator movie. However, in reality, it’s much less menacing. Crawl bots and internet spiders help tremendously when looking at structures of websites and for scraping data.

    What is a Crawler Bot

    Crawler bots, often referred to as internet spiders, automatically browse the internet for the purposes of indexing websites. Companies sometimes deploy web crawlers in order to update their own web content based on findings on other sites.

    Crawler bots can validate HTML code and hyperlinks. Typically, a crawler bot starts with a list of websites or URLs to visit. Then, it finds hyperlinks embedded within those sites and adds it to the “list” of sites to visit. If the crawler bot is archiving, it copies and pastes the content into a viewable format in repositories.

    Everyone sifting through vast information on the internet benefits from advanced web crawler bots. Google’s web crawling bot, also known as Googlebot, discovers new pages on websites to be indexed on its search engine results. Google bot uses algorithmic computer programs to determine which sites to crawl, the frequency of crawling and which pages to pull from websites to show on search results. It also picks up SRC (image URL) and HREF links and adds them to the list of relevant websites to crawl. You can see how links to your website on other external sites can contribute directly to search engine optimization.

    Benefits of Web Crawling and Scraping Services

    A Norconex article outlines how web crawling services can benefit businesses by saving time and finding relevant content for projects. Conducting random searches on the internet for content can take a lot of manpower. A crawler bot can quickly find, access and present pertinent information in a manageable format. Companies use this type of information for a plethora of reasons from generating content to finding reviews and comments about them on webpages and in social media.

    When using a web crawling service, you can even customize the format in which you receive information such as a csv file or an automated email.

    If you decide to outsource building your web crawler, you will want to work with a reputable company that respects and factors in the terms of use of public sites.  You will also want to clarify the maintenance responsibilities of your crawler to minimize the work your team needs to conduct to make changes to customizations or parameters in the future.