Web scraping is an automated way of extracting large chunks of data from websites which can then be saved on a file in your computer or accessed on a spreadsheet.
When you access a web page, you can only view the data but cannot download it. Yes, you can manually copy and paste some of it but it is time-consuming and not scalable. Web scraping automates this process and quickly extracts accurate and reliable data from web pages that you can use for business intelligence.
You can scrape vast quantities of data and of different kinds of data as well. It could be text, images, email ids, phone numbers, videos etc. For your specific projects, you may need domain specific data such as financial data, real estate data, reviews, price or competitor data. You can extract the same using web scraping tools. At the end of the process, you will get it all in a format of your choice such as text, JSON or CSV which you can harness the way you want.
Computer programs designed as Intelligent bots do the work of Web Scraping. Unlike screen scraping, which only copies pixels displayed onscreen, web scraping extracts underlying HTML code and, with it, data stored in a database. The approach has become quite popular. In fact, it is considered as one of the essential skills to acquire in today’s digital world.