Web Scraping For Non-Programmers: Semalt Expert Explains
If you have been working with data and use the Internet as the primary source of a dataset, then you should have heard about web scraping. The web scraping starts when you are unable to extract data from the desired websites. Here we will also talk about the three tools you can use to scrape or extract the data as per your requirements.
What is web scraping?
Web scraping refers to the technique or method of extracting useful information from different sites. This information can be extracted both in the text form and graphic form. Once collected, you can use the information for different purposes: from the academic research to business growth on the internet. An important thing that distinguishes web scraping from web crawling is that web scraping always focuses on the transformation of unstructured information, typically in the form of HTML. On the other hand, web crawling is the procedure of indexing information in search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
The practical benefits of web scraping are endless because all the persons and businesses can get benefited from this technique in one way or the other. For example, web scraping helps find the right data on the internet for academic and research purposes. It also helps marketers conduct online research and know how their competitors are growing their businesses.
Three web scraping software or tools for non-programmers and developers:
1. Table Capture (Chrome Extension):
It is a Google Chrome extension that can be added to your web browser and helps you navigate through the web pages. It lets you quickly access and copy the HTML tables to your clipboards and spreadsheets such as Google Docs, Open Office, and Microsoft Excel. Once installed and activated, you will have to go to the Google Chrome Extensions page and look for the "Table Capture" option to get this extension added to your web browsers.
2. Clipboard to Table (Firefox Extension):
Just like Table Capture, Clipboard to Table is a comprehensive extension that works with the Firefox browser in a better way. It is pretty much similar to the Chrome extension in its features and properties, but the only difference is it allows you to select specific rows and columns of HTML table only. Scraping the web data with this tool is very easy: you just have to place the mouse cursor over the table and click on the option titled as Table2Clipboard. From here, you can choose to copy and paste the whole table into your specified Spreadsheets.
3. Google Docs Spreadsheets:
Only webmasters and digital marketers know the significance of Google Docs Spreadsheets. These have been through various improvements with time, and among the different features are the possibilities to extract data from the HTML tables and import it to the spreadsheets. In your Gmail account, you can easily access the Google Docs. Once you log into your account, you should go to the Google Drive page and click the Create--> Spreadsheets button. The coolest feature of this data scraping tool is that your HTML tables are updated on the website automatically.