Google scraping is the process of gathering and retrieving data from SERPs, short for search engine result pages. Basically, it’s the page you see after searching for anything on Google.
One can use manual methods such as copy/paste and commands like “export to Excel” to extract images, text, or links from a website to a spreadsheet. However, browsing through the internet to collect information using only your keyboard and mouse can be tedious. The manual process is prone to human errors too. To scrape Google SERP data quickly and with high accuracy, people now use automated methods and software known as data scrapers. A data scraper can be a simple browser add-on or a standalone program.
A General Overview of How to Scrape Google SERP Data
There’s a series of steps involved in a data scraping process. Whether you use software or harvest data manually, you will:
- Identify the target URLs
- Select a suitable proxy server- this step is necessary since some websites you crawl may employ anti-data harvesting tools. So, consider a scraper that can obtain a new IP address from where your computer will deliver requests.
- Send requests to target URLs to obtain HTML code
- Determine the location of information in HTML code using locators
- Parse the information string
- Modify the harvested data to a manageable format
- Save the harvested information to your designated storage location.
Carrying out these steps manually can be complicated. For someone who doesn’t know how to code, data harvesting is impossible without an. But data scraping is useful to your business or personal ventures and you’ll need to do it at one point. How do you go about it?
Here’s a quick look at how to scrape Google SERP data:
1. Using a custom-made scraper
In case you are an avid programmer, it’s easy to come up with a few lines of code that will grab the data you’re interested in right from your browser. In fact, there’s an easier way for people with even basic coding skills to build a web scraper. This option involves using ready-made open-source platforms and combining them with a proxy API. Examples of open-source platforms for screen scraping include Scrapy, Puppeteer, Selenium, and others. These solutions allow you to modify existing code libraries to create an automatic web crawler that matches your needs. There are various pros and cons of using customized web scrapers.
- You can get valuable data free of charge
- Modify processes and results to match your specific needs- you’re in charge of how the data harvesting process flows.
- A good solution for personal or one-off projects that require low volumes of data
- Requires programming skills – how much you can achieve with this method depends on your technical skills and access to necessary interfaces
- You might need to pay for proxy APIs to bypass blocked sites
- Might require a standalone method or application to analyze the data
- Some websites have complex structures thus requiring specialized tools to crawl
2. Using a 3rd party web scraper
A SERP scraper is an automatic bot that parses through HTML codes of thousands of web pages to retrieve data. The pages parsed are those displayed on the search engine results for a search query. The information retrieved is based on predefined parameters that you set on the tool. A web scraper makes it easy to access search engine results and retrieve required data quickly and efficiently.
- Obtain data at a large scale
- Choose from various options to match your business needs. E.g your scraper can be either a no-code tool or with a code interface
- No special skills required to mine data
- They come at a cost – prices depend on the volume of data you wish to harvest and the frequency
- Requires an API to connect to data analytics software
3. Using a 3rd party SERP API
An API is an application programming interface that enables web applications to communicate. In this case, a SERP API will enable you to send a request to different web pages on search engine results and return an answer (data). Any efficient SERP API should store this data in your chosen database for processing. Originally, Google had a SERP API but recalled it. Today, they only offer a custom website search API. This led to the advent of 3rd party APIs for scraping Google SERPs.
A 3rd party SERP API helps you to collate data automatically without having to write code.
- No manual input of data or commands
- Set automatic data harvesting sessions at predefined intervals
- Send data directly to your data analytics software – automates data collection and analysis
- Though you may get trial offers, robust 3rd party SERP APIs come at a cost.
3rd party SERP APIs are a game-changer in data mining. By integrating data analysis, you promptly gain insights you wanted to find from collected data. This saves you time. These SERP APIs update data on their own too. In this case, stay up to date with important aspects of your business, such as SEO rankings and market trends by investing in the right SERP API. One of the most popular SERP API providers is SERPMaster – it offers multiple Google APIs so that you can scrape data from all search engine data points. Click here to learn more about what SERPMaster offers.
The internet has a lot of valuable data that any business would want to get its hands on. Unfortunately, collating relevant data and presenting it in a consumable format isn’t easy. That’s where automated tools such as web scrapers and SERP APIs come in. Invest in a tool that will help you find the right answers to your queries quickly.