Data scraping and data crawling are two terms that you often hear interchangeably as if the two words are synonyms. Most people in everyday speech refer to the two as if they were the same task. Although they can appear to deliver the same results, both the methods are very different. These are important for data recovery, but the process involved and the type of information requested differs in different ways.
It may appear the same, but there are some critical differences between scraping and crawling. Nevertheless, these two words are closely intertwined. Both scraping and crawling go hand in hand in the entire data collection process, and typically when one finishes, the other follows.
Let’s start with the definitions.
What is Data Scraping?
Data scraping is defined as collecting data and then scraping it. It extracts data directly from a page or a website.
Do note that data scraping doesn’t just pull data from the web; it collects it from wherever the data resides. It may include spreadsheets, storage devices, etc., anywhere, where data is present in any form.
This process is needed to filter and separate various types of raw data from different sources into something usable and insightful. Data scraping is much more precise than data crawling with what it collects. It can pull things out, such as commodity prices, and harder to reach details. One of the minor annoyances of data scraping is that it can result in duplicate data because the method does not exclude this from the various sources from which it extracts the data.
What is Data Crawling?
Data crawling digs deep into the World Wide Web to retrieve the data. Think of crawlers or bots, scavenging through the Internet to figure out what’s important to your search. Crawlers are working on an algorithm to obey the instructions. Web browsing systems run a lot like Google or Bing. Links to several different sites accompany the crawling cycle. Crawlers are scraping data in this process. Not only do they browse through pages, they gather all the relevant information that indexes them in the process, they also look for all links to the related pages in the process.
To conclude, we may say that data crawling purpose is to deal with massive data sets where you build your crawlers (or bots) that crawl to the deepest of the web pages. Data scraping, on the other hand, refers to the extraction of data from any source (not necessarily the web). More often than not, irrespective of the methods involved, we refer to the retrieval of data from the site as scraping (or harvesting), and this is a significant misunderstanding.
Comparison and Contrast
Data scraping tools have a narrow functionality that can be modified or tailored to any scale. Data scraping will pull current stock prices, hotel rates, real estate listings, etc. At the same time, data crawling is even more complex and goes deep into the intricacy of researching. They will search all backlinks and not stop until it checks everything that is remotely linked. Data crawling is done on a wide scale that needs extra precautions so as not to offend the source or violate any laws.
Data scraping and data crawling are related methods so that you might get confused about it.
But after reading this blog, we hope you will be clear about the meaning, the points of difference, and the use of both.
So, data scraping vs. data crawling–let’s sort out all of the significant differences between these two:
It only “scrapes” the data (takes the selected data and downloads it)
It only “crawls” the data (goes through the selected targets)
It can be done manually by using a system
It can be done only with a crawling agent (a spider bot)
Duplication of data is not always necessary as it can be done manually, hence in smaller scales
A lot of content online gets duplicated, and in order to not gather excess, duplicated information, a crawler will filter out such data
Services for Businesses Are Required
To understand which of the two is ideally suited to your business needs, one must obtain qualified advice to ensure that secure and legal data extraction is carried out with care and accuracy. It is important to the success of your business that you use the best web-based scraping services/crawling tools available today. This way, you don’t have to waste long hours that result in a poorly done job that includes facing legal difficulties. If done correctly, by the people who know what they’re doing, these programs will give you the important support you need to get ahead in your industry.
A lot of people don’t understand the difference between data scraping and data crawling—this ambiguity results in misunderstandings as to what service a client wants. We hope to bring an end to this uncertainty here. Please feel free to add to the comments section below.
To recap, the important data scraping vs. data crawling differences: crawling means going through the data, and analyzing it while scraping means downloading the data. As far as terms web or data are concerned, if the term web is used, it includes the Internet. Unless it consists of word data, the Internet does not necessarily have to be involved in the crawling activities.
Data scraping is necessary for a company, whether it is for the acquisition of customers, or business and revenue growth. The future of data scraping looks promising too. As the Internet becomes the key starting point for companies to gather information, more and more publicly accessible data will be needed to scrape to get market insights and keep ahead of the competition.
If you want to know more about data extraction solutions or are already interested in data scraping and want to launch your data/web scraping project, please get in touch with us today.