Web scraping follows a procedure that is quite cumbersome when performed manually. First, you have to identify the website(s) from which you want to harvest data. Next, you must send an HTTP or HTTPS request, and, in return, the webserver(s) will send HTML files for each web page included in the requests. You will then have to find the relevant data within the file, convert it into a structured format, and save it as a CSV or JSON file. Finally, if you intend to analyze this data, you still have to transfer the CSV or JSON file to the data analysis software. This process, when done manually or step by step, is cumbersome. Fortunately, you can automate the whole process using a scraper API.
What is a Scraper API?
A scraper API is a sophisticated pre-built solution that is capable of automatically extracting publicly available data from any website. This tool functions by being integrated with other third-party programs via an API (Application Programming Interface). The scraper API automates the entire web scraping pipeline. It also offers numerous features that improve the web scraping capabilities of the connected application.
For more detailed information about Scraper APIs, read this article from Oxylabs.
Features of a Scraper API
Depending on the service provider and the subscription price paid, the scraper API also offers numerous features and capabilities that guarantee a high success rate, sometimes as high as 100%. These features include:
- CAPTCHA-solving capabilities anchored in artificial intelligence
- Proxy rotation, which periodically changes the assigned IP address to limit the number of requests that originate from the same online identifier; usually, service providers have a large pool of quality IP addresses to facilitate the rotation
- The vast network of IP addresses also enables scraper APIs to access geo-blocked content or collect country-specific or city-level data
- The scraper API can support thousands of requests per second made via the integrated application. This means it is ideal for large-scale web scraping applications. This capability comes in handy when scraping search engine results pages (SERP) or e-commerce sites. The world’s largest e-commerce platform, for instance, had roughly 1.9 million active sellers as of 2021 and over 12 million unique products across three dozen product categories. With popular segments having hundreds of thousands of unique products, extracting data on such products or the number of sellers would take unnecessarily long if the scraper API were not capable of supporting or making thousands of requests per second.
- Some service providers offer different types of scraper APIs, listed below, which are designed to deal with specific sites. SERP scraper APIs, for example, can deal with the differences in the way search engines present results. Depending on the search query, a search engine may present a list-based snippet, images, a map, or reviews. The SERP scraper is designed to handle such changes.
- The scraper API stores the parsed data in structured file formats such as CSV or JSON
- This advanced scraping solution automatically sends the CSV or JSON files to third-party applications based on the settings the user has selected
Benefits of a Scraper API
Scraper APIs offer many benefits because of the features that their developers include. These benefits are listed below:
- Scraper APIs promote smooth and successful web scraping because of CAPTCHA solving and proxy rotation capabilities
- They are fast and reliable because they can support numerous requests at a time
- The integrated proxies enable them to collect country-specific data; it also allows them to access otherwise geo-restricted content
- The various types of scraper API individually offer numerous benefits, as detailed below.
Types of Scraper APIs
There are three types of scraper APIs:
- SERP scraper APIs
- General-purpose scraper APIs
- E-commerce scraper APIs
Each of these types offers numerous advantages. For instance, SERP scraper APIs provide data on relevant keywords for a given topic, enabling companies to develop search engine optimization (SEO) strategies.
The site deals with the matter EarthWeb mentions that general-purpose scraper APIs, which are used to extract data from any website, can be deployed to collect feedback from review sites or social media platforms in a process known as review monitoring. tract data from any website, can be deployed to collect feedback from review sites or social media platforms in a process known as review monitoring. When analyzed and acted upon, such data can help companies improve their products or services, thus improving the customer experience.
Lastly, e-commerce scraper APIs can be used for price and competition monitoring. They provide data that enables businesses to stay ahead of the competition.
A scraper API is a web-based application that automatically extracts data from any website. It is meant to be integrated with other software, facilitating communication between the two software. The scraper API offers numerous benefits, including CAPTCHA-solving capabilities, integrated proxies, proxy rotators, and more.