• January 27, 2023

How To Use Web Crawler

How to build a web crawler? - Scraping-bot.io

How to build a web crawler? – Scraping-bot.io

At the era of big data, web scraping is a life saver. To save even more time, you can couple ScrapingBot to a web crawling bot.
What is a web crawler?
A crawler, or spider, is an internet bot indexing and visiting every URLs it encounters. Its goal is to visit a website from end to end, know what is on every webpage and be able to find the location of any information. The most known web crawlers are the search engine ones, the GoogleBot for example. When a website is online, those crawlers will visit it and read its content to display it in the relevant search result pages.
How does a web crawler work?
Starting from the root URL or a set of entries, the crawler will fetch the webpages and find other URLs to visit, called seeds, in this page. All the seeds found on this page will be added on its list of URLs to be visited. This list is called the horizon. The crawler organises the links in two threads: ones to visit, and already visited ones. It will keep visiting the links until the horizon is empty.
Because the list of seeds can be very long, the crawler has to organise those following several criterias, and prioritise which ones to visit first and revisit. To know which pages are more important to crawl, the bot will consider how many links go to this URL, how often it is visited by regular users.
What is the difference between a web scraper and a web crawler?
Crawling, by definition, always implies the web. A crawler’s purpose is to follow links to reach numerous pages and analyze their meta data and content.
Scraping is possible out of the web. For example you can retrieve some information from a database. Scraping is pulling data from the web or a database.
Why do you need a web crawler?
With web scraping, you gain a huge amount of time, by automatically retrieving the information you need instead of looking for it and copying it manually. However, you still need to scrape page after page. Web crawling allows you to collect, organize and visit all the pages present on the root page, with the possibility to exclude some links. The root page can be a search result or category.
For example, you can pick a product category or a search result page from amazon as an entry, and crawl it to scrape all the product details, and limit it to the first 10 pages with the suggested products as well.
How to build a web crawler?
The first thing you need to do is threads:
Visited URLsURLs to be visited (queue)
To avoid crawling the same page over and over, the URL needs to automatically move to the visited URLs thread once you’ve finished crawling it. In each webpage, you will find new URLs. Most of them will be added to the queue, but some of them might not add any value for your purpose. Hence why you also need to set rules for URLs you’re not interested in.
Deduplication is a critical part of web crawling. On some websites, and particularly on e-commerce ones, a single webpage can have multiple URLs. As you want to scrape this page only once, the best way to do so is to look for the canonical tag in the code. All the pages with the same content will have this common canonical URL, and this is the only link you will have to crawl and scrape.
Here’s an example of a canonical tag in HTML: previousDepth) {
previousDepth =;
(`——- CRAWLING ON DEPTH LEVEL ${previousDepth} ——–`);}
return nextLink;}
function peekInQueue() {
return linksQueue[0];}
//Adds links we’ve visited to the seenList
function addToSeen(linkObj) {
seenLinks[] = linkObj;}
//Returns whether the link has been seen.
function linkInSeenListExists(linkObj) {
return seenLinks[] == null? false: true;}
How Do Web Crawlers Work? - 417 Marketing

How Do Web Crawlers Work? – 417 Marketing

Last Updated: December 9, 2019
If you asked everyone you know to list their topmost fears, spiders would likely sit comfortably in the top five (after public speaking and death, naturally*). Creepy, crawly, and quick, even small spiders can make a grown man jump. But when it comes to the internet, spiders do more than spin webs. Search engines use spiders (also known as web crawlers) to explore the web, not to spin their own. If you have a website, web crawlers have creeped onto it at some point, but perhaps surprisingly, this is something for which you should be thankful. Without them, no one could find your website on a search engine.
Turns out, spiders aren’t so bad after all! But how do web crawlers work?
What Is a Web Crawler?
Although you might imagine web crawlers as little robots that live and work on the internet, in reality they’re simply part of a computer program written and used by search engines to update their web content or to index the web content of other websites.
A web crawler copies webpages so that they can be processed later by the search engine, which indexes the downloaded pages. This allows users of the search engine to find webpages quickly. The web crawler also validates links and HTML code, and sometimes it extracts other information from the website.
Web crawlers are known by a variety of different names including spiders, ants, bots, automatic indexers, web cutters, and (in the case of Google’s web crawler) Googlebot. If you want your website to rank highly on Google, you need to ensure that web crawlers can always reach and read your content.
How Do Web Crawlers Work?
Discovering URLs: How does a search engine discover webpages to crawl? First, the search engine may have already crawled the webpage in the past. Second, the search engine may discover a webpage by following a link from a page it has already crawled. Third, a website owner may ask for the search engine to crawl a URL by submitting a sitemap (a file that provides information about the pages on a site). Creating a clear sitemap and crafting an easily navigable website are good ways to encourage search engines to crawl your website.
Exploring a List of Seeds: Next, the search engine gives its web crawlers a list of web addresses to check out. These URLs are known as seeds. The web crawler visits each URL on the list, identifies all of the links on each page, and adds them to the list of URLs to visit. Using sitemaps and databases of links discovered during previous crawls, web crawlers decide which URLs to visit next. In this way, web crawlers explore the internet via links.
Adding to the Index: As web crawlers visit the seeds on their lists, they locate and render the content and add it to the index. The index is where the search engine stores all of its knowledge of the internet. It’s over 100, 000, 000 gigabytes in size! To create a full picture of the internet (which is critical for optimal search results pages), web crawlers must index every nook and cranny of the internet. In addition to text, web crawlers catalog images, videos, and other files.
Updating the Index: Web crawlers note key signals, such as the content, keywords, and the freshness of the content, to try to understand what a page is about. According to Google, “The software pays special attention to new sites, changes to existing sites, and dead links. ” When it locates these items, it updates the search index to ensure it’s up to date.
Crawling Frequency: Web crawlers are crawling the internet 24/7, but how often are individual pages crawled? According to Google, “Computer programs determine which sites to crawl, how often, and how many pages to fetch from each site. ” The program takes the perceived importance of your website and the number of changes you’ve made since the last crawl into consideration. It also looks at your website’s crawl demand, or the level of interest Google and its searchers have in your website. If your website is popular, it’s likely that Googlebot will crawl it frequently to ensure your viewers can find your latest content through Google.
Blocking Web Crawlers: If you choose, you can block web crawlers from indexing your website. For example, using a file (discussed in more detail below) with certain rules is like holding a sign up to web crawlers saying, “Do not enter! ” Or if your HTTP header contains a status code relaying that the page doesn’t exist, web crawlers won’t crawl it. In some cases, a webmaster might inadvertantly block web crawlers from indexing a page, which is why it’s important to periodically check your website’s crawlability.
Using Protocols: Webmasters can use protocol to communicate with web crawlers, which always check a page’s file before crawling the page. A variety of rules can be included in the file. For example, you can define which pages a bot can crawl, specify which links a bot can follow, or opt out of crawling altogether using Google provides the same customization tools to all webmasters, and doesn’t allow any bribing or grant any special privileges.
Web crawlers have an exhausting job when you consider how many webpages exist and how many more are being created, updated, or deleted everyday. To make the process more efficient, search engines create crawling policies and techniques.
Web Crawling Policies and Techniques
To Restrict a Request: If a crawler only wants to find certain media types, it can make a HEAD request to ensure that all of the found resources will be the needed type.
To Avoid Duplicate Downloads: Web crawlers sometimes modify and standardize URLs so that they can avoid crawling the same resource multiple times.
To Download All Resources: If a crawler needs to download all of the resources from a given website, a path-ascending crawler can be used. It attempts to crawl every path in every URL on the list.
To Download Only Similar Webpages: Focused web crawlers are only interested in downloading webpages that are similar to each other. For example, academic crawlers only search for and download academic papers (they use filters to find PDF, postscript, and Word files and then use algorithms to determine if the pages are academic or not).
To Keep the Index Up to Speed: Things move fast on the Internet. By the time a web crawler is finished with a long crawl, the pages it downloaded might have been updated or deleted. To keep content up to date, crawlers use equations to determine websites’ freshness and age.
In addition, Google uses several different web crawlers to accomplish a variety of different jobs. For example, there’s Googlebot (desktop), Googlebot (mobile), Googlebot Video, Googlebot Images, and Googlebot News.
Reviewing the Crawling of Your Website
If you want to see how often Googlebot visits your website, open Google Search Console and head to the “Crawl” section. You can confirm that Googlebot visits your site, see how often it visits, verify how it sees your site, and even get a list of crawl errors to fix. If you wish, you may ask Googlebot to recrawl your website through Google Search Console as well. And if your load speed is suffering or you’ve noticed a sudden surge in errors, you may be able to fix these issues by altering your crawl rate limit in Google Search Console.
So… How Do Web Crawlers Work?
To put it simply, web crawlers explore the web and index the content they find so that the information can be retrieved by a search engine when needed. Most search engines run many crawling programs simultaneously on multiple servers. Due to the vast number of webpages on the internet, the crawling process could go on almost indefinitely, which is why web crawlers follow certain policies to be more selective about the pages they crawl.
Keep in mind that we only know the general answer to the question “How do web crawlers work? ” Google won’t reveal all the secrets behind its algorithms, as this could encourage spammers and allow other search engines to steal Google’s secrets.
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See? Spiders aren’t so scary after all. A little secretive, perhaps, but perfectly harmless!
If you’re hoping to build a beautiful, effective website that ranks highly on Google, contact 417 Marketing for help. Our team of knowledgeable, creative, and passionate professionals specializes in SEO, web design and maintenance, and Google Ads, and we have successfully completed over 700 websites since our inception in 2010. Click here to contact us and learn more about what we can do for your company.
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Best 3 Ways to Crawl Data from a Website | Octoparse

Best 3 Ways to Crawl Data from a Website | Octoparse

The need for crawling web data has become larger in the past few years. The data crawled can be used for evaluation or prediction in different fields. Here, I’d like to talk about 3 methods we can adopt to crawl data from a website.
1. Use Website APIs
Many large social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StackOverflow provide APIs for users to access their data. Sometimes, you can choose the official APIs to get structured data. As the Facebook Graph API shows below, you need to choose fields you make the query, then order data, do the URL Lookup, make requests and etc. To learn more, you can refer to
2. Build your own crawler
However, not all websites provide users with APIs. Certain websites refuse to provide any public APIs because of technical limit or other reasons. Someone may propose RSS feeds, but because they put a limit on their use, I will not suggest or make further comments on it. In this case, what I want to discuss is that we can build a crawler on our own to deal with this situation.
How does a crawler work? A crawler, put it another way, is a method to generate a list of URLs that you can feed through your extractor. The crawlers can be defined as tools to find the URLs. You first give the crawler a webpage to start, and they will follow all these links on that page. Then this process will keep going on in a loop.
Read about:
Believe It Or Not, PHP Is Everywhere
The Best Programming Languages for Web Crawler: PHP, Python or
How to Build a Crawler to Extract Web Data without Coding Skills in 10 Mins
Then, we can proceed with building our own crawler. It’s known that Python is an open-source programming language, and you can find many useful functional libraries. Here, I suggest the BeautifulSoup (Python Library) for the reason that it is easier to work with and possesses many intuitive characters. More exactly, I will utilize two Python modules to crawl the data.
BeautifulSoup does not fetch the web page for us. That’s why I use urllib2 to combine with the BeautifulSoup library. Then, we need to deal with HTML tags to find all the links within page’s tags and the right table. After that, iterate through each row (tr) and then assign each element of tr (td) to a variable and append it to a list. Let’s first look at the HTML structure of the table (I am not going to extract information for table heading

).
By taking this approach, your crawler is customized. It can deal with certain difficulties met in the API extraction. You can use the proxy to prevent it from being blocked by some websites and etc. The whole process is within your control. This method should make sense for people with coding skills. The data frame you crawled should be like the figure below.
3. Take advantage of ready-to-use crawler tools
However, to crawl a website on your own by programming may be time-consuming. For people without any coding skills, this would be a hard task. Therefore, I’d like to introduce some crawler tools.
Octoparse
Octoparse is a powerful visual windows-based web data crawler. It is really easy for users to grasp this tool with its simple and friendly user interface. To use it, you need to download this application on your local desktop.
As the figure shown below, you can click-and-drag the blocks in the Workflow Designer pane to customize your own task. Octoparse provides two editions of crawling service subscription plans – the Free Edition and Paid Edition. Both can satisfy the basic scraping or crawling needs of users. With the Free Edition, you can run your tasks on the local side.
If you switch your free edition to a Paid Edition, you can use the Cloud-based service by uploading your tasks to the Cloud Platform. 6 to 14 cloud servers will run your tasks simultaneously with a higher speed and crawl in a larger scale. Plus, you can automate your data extraction leaving without a trace using Octoparse’s anonymous proxy feature that could rotate tons of IPs, which will prevent you from being blocked by certain websites. Here’s a video introducing Octoparse Cloud Extraction.
Octoparse also provides API to connect your system to your scraped data in real-time. You can either import the Octoparse data into your own database or use the API to require access to your account’s data. After you finish the configuration of the task, you can export data into various formats, like CSV, Excel, HTML, TXT, and database (MySQL, SQL Server, and Oracle).
is also known as a web crawler covering all different levels of crawling needs. It offers a Magic tool which can convert a site into a table without any training sessions. It suggests users to download its desktop app if more complicated websites need to be crawled. Once you’ve built your API, they offer a number of simple integration options such as Google Sheets,, Excel as well as GET and POST requests. When you consider that all this comes with a free-for-life price tag and an awesome support team, is a clear first port of call for those on the hunt for structured data. They also offer a paid enterprise-level option for companies looking for more large scale or complex data extraction.
Mozenda
Mozenda is another user-friendly web data extractor. It has a point-and-click UI for users without any coding skills to use. Mozenda also takes the hassle out of automating and publishing extracted data. Tell Mozenda what data you want once, and then get it however frequently you need it. Plus, it allows advanced programming using REST API the user can connect directly with Mozenda account. It provides the Cloud-based service and rotation of IPs as well.
ScrapeBox
SEO experts, online marketers and even spammers should be very familiar with ScrapeBox with its very user-friendly UI. Users can easily harvest data from a website to grab emails, check page rank, verify working proxies and RSS submission. By using thousands of
rotating proxies, you will be able to sneak on the competitor’s site keywords, do research on sites, harvesting data, and commenting without getting blocked or detected.
Google Web Scraper Plugin
If people just want to scrape data in a simple way, I suggest you choose the Google Web Scraper Plugin. It is a browser-based web scraper that works like Firefox’s Outwit Hub. You can download it as an extension and have it installed in your browser. You need to highlight the data fields you’d like to crawl, right-click and choose “Scrape similar…”. Anything that’s similar to what you highlighted will be rendered in a table ready for export, compatible with Google Docs. The latest version still had some bugs on spreadsheets. Even though it is easy to handle, notice to all users, it can’t scrape images and crawl data in a large amount.
Artículo en español: 3 Mejores Formas de Crawl Datos desde WebsiteTambién puede leer artículos de web scraping en el Website Oficial
Artikel auf Deutsch: Die 3 besten Methoden zum Crawlen von Daten aus einer WebsiteSie können unsere deutsche Website besuchen.
Author: The Octoparse Team
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Video: Create Your First Scraper with Octoparse 7. X

Frequently Asked Questions about how to use web crawler

How does a web crawler work?

A web crawler copies webpages so that they can be processed later by the search engine, which indexes the downloaded pages. This allows users of the search engine to find webpages quickly. The web crawler also validates links and HTML code, and sometimes it extracts other information from the website.Sep 26, 2013

How do I crawl data from a website?

Best 3 Ways to Crawl Data from a WebsiteUse Website APIs. Many large social media websites, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, StackOverflow provide APIs for users to access their data. … Build your own crawler. However, not all websites provide users with APIs. … Take advantage of ready-to-use crawler tools.Sep 8, 2021

How do I use Google crawler?

To improve your site crawling:Verify that Google can reach the pages on your site, and that they look correct. … If you’ve created or updated a single page, you can submit an individual URL to Google. … If you ask Google to crawl only one page, make it your home page.More items…

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