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Sourcing Quality Data for Web Scraping

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Data scraping is a very popular process used by many professionals and companies. However, you should know that it’s not only about setting up the process itself. You must look at the broader picture and how scraping, data, the internet, business goals, and different practices are connected.

In other words, you might be able to set up an excellent scraping process, but if you don’t know what your business goals are, you won’t be able to gather the correct data for reaching those goals. Having a narrow approach is not a good idea, and today we will look at data sources and their quality.

It’s important to get your data from reliable sources to ensure its quality.

Data is essential

As you might know by now, thousands of companies worldwide rely on data to improve their business decision-making, learn about their competition, improve products or services, have better systems in place, and much more.

Making intuition-based business decisions is a thing of the past, and companies want evidence, facts, and risk assessment to ensure they’re making the right moves while keeping their costs as low as possible.

It means that all the things around data, including various processes for handling data, scraper API (clicking here will provide more insight), metrics, and factors that affect data, are also important. One of the crucial aspects of data is its quality, so let’s learn more about that.

Not all data offers quality insights

Data quality measures how good a specific data set is for achieving certain goals. In most cases, data is gathered to get valuable insights, and you need proper raw data that will tell you those insights. Some of the measures that can tell you weather data offers quality include:

  • Timeliness
  • Uniqueness
  • Validity
  • Consistency
  • Completeness
  • Accuracy

In other words, it’s all about finding the correct data for your goals. You won’t learn a lot from data analytics without data quality, and you will probably reach the wrong conclusions. This data would affect your business and lead to mistakes, poor decision-making, increased ongoing costs, reduced revenue, etc.

Evaluating data sources

It’s important to learn how to evaluate the usefulness and validity of the information sources. You can’t just find the URLs that seem reasonable to you and use them in your scraping strategy. You need to check if that information is still relevant and whether it describes something now or in the past.

Consider the importance of the information for the decisions you plan on making. Check the authority of the information and the sources used to make conclusions. See if that piece of content is a personal opinion by an expert, a quantitative data source, or qualitative data.

Always make sure to look at the intention of the information because then you can avoid biases or using marketing content to make valuable conclusions.

How to find good data sources

Apart from evaluating data sources, you should also keep these things in mind when looking for good sources.

SEO rankings

SEO rankings are basically how high websites appear in organic searches. Ideally, you should look to scrape those sites over those on the second page. But why? The answer is pretty simple – Google knows what it’s doing.

Websites are ranked by looking at many critical factors over the years. Google favors sites that offer valuable, relevant, and accurate information over those that copy the content or spam plenty of data without any meaning.

Amount of traffic

Another way to determine whether a specific website is a good source for your web scraping needs is to look at its website traffic. No matter how good a site is, Google won’t rank it high if people aren’t staying on that website and using it somehow.

In other words, website visitors are the ones that can tell you whether a specific location is worth scraping. Many companies invest a lot in their website content to give customers relevant information, help them make decisions, and establish themselves as experts.

Design and navigation

Design and navigation are essential for two reasons. First of all, when a company invests in these two crucial aspects of their site, they probably mean business. At the same time, easy navigation, design, and structure make it easier for your scraper API and your scraping tool to work.

Reputation

When you find a certain website, always check its reputation. What is this site about, what reviews does it have, are there any testimonials, and what are their previous customers saying about it? Simply put, you have to see what others are saying about it to get a clear picture of their data.

Conclusion

The internet is a large source of data, but not all of it is reliable, nor can it offer the desired results. Take the time to find those sources that can help you reveal more about your plans, goals, or business incentives.