Last Updated on 6 months by Komolafe Bamidele
Web crawling is an integral piece of the data collection puzzle.
At its core, web crawling discovers new web pages, thereby guiding the web scraping process.
However, it is worth noting that while web crawling and web scraping are sometimes used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing.
In this article, we shall detail how web crawling can boost your digital marketing initiatives.
But first, let’s understand what a web crawler is and the role it plays in the data collection realm as well as digital marketing.
Tables Of Contents
Understanding Crawling, Scraping, and Digital Marketing
In this section, we will define what is a web crawler and a web scraper, including the main differences between them. Next, we will discuss what digital marketing is.
What is a Web Crawler?
A web crawler, also known as a spider bot or spider, is a program that first sends HTTP requests to a small pool of known websites.
It then digs through each website’s HTML files to discover linked pages, collect the content therein, and store it in an archive (index). Finally, the spider repeats these steps for all linked pages.
If you are interested in a more in-depth outlook, check an article from the Oxylabs blog.
What is a Web Scraper?
Given that spiders discover web pages, they are often used as guides to help web scrapers.
Notably, a web scraper is a bot that extracts data from websites by sending HTTP requests, parses the HTML files sent by servers in response to the requests, and subsequently stores the parsed (organized) data in a structured format for download.
While crawlers primarily seek links and archive entire web pages, spiders mainly aim to collect specific information from the web pages.
What is Digital Marketing
Also referred to as online marketing, digital marketing is any marketing campaign displayed on a computer, tablet, phone, or any other internet-connected electronic device.
It can appear as paid partnerships, social media posts, promoted posts on social platforms, display ads, in-video/video ads, email marketing, and search engine marketing.
Data is central to digital marketing, web crawling, and web scraping. So much so that all three would be non-existent without data.
For instance, data helps marketers understand the target market, including consumer behavior and competitors.
By understanding the potential customer, marketers can formulate buyer personas. Next, they can tailor marketing campaigns that target a specific group within the large population, meaning the advertisements will be more personalized.
But the data about the market must originate from somewhere, and this is where web crawling comes in. So, how can web crawl boost digital marketing?
5 Ways Web Crawling can Boost Digital Marketing
Web crawling is integral to online marketing in the following 5 ways:
- Finding leads
- Competitor monitoring and analysis
- Review monitoring
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Tracking emerging trends
In digital marketing, a lead is a prospective customer, i.e., a person who shows interest in a product or service.
This interest is sparked through marketing in a process known as lead generation. The most common method of capturing their attention is email marketing.
Through web crawling, you can identify/discover web pages containing publicly available contact information that you can then scrape.
Then, with the contact details in hand, you can set up targeted advertisements to spark leads’ interest in your business.
Competitor monitoring and analysis
As stated, understanding your market is a crucial tenet of digital marketing. It entails knowing about your competitors, their products, and the pricing strategy employed.
By using web crawlers, you can discover sites containing this information from which you can then extract vital data to aid in competitor analysis.
Customers often review brands, products, or services on social media or e-commerce pages. These reviews, when analyzed, tell of what the buyers were expecting vis-à-vis what they received.
By monitoring this information, companies can understand customers’ needs and how to improve their products.
At the same time, competitors may use this information to promote existing products that meet these needs.
Web crawlers offer a unique avenue to identify review sites and pages, which are updated regularly, as well as scrape reviews from these pages in what we refer to as review monitoring.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is a practice of employing known online techniques to rank high on search engines. Notably, the operation of search platforms is anchored in web crawling.
This means that if you own a website, you should make it discoverable and crawlable by search engine bots.
You should also integrate SEO techniques to make the site’s different web pages organically rank high. This complements digital marketing efforts.
Track emerging trends
You can use web crawlers to identify new content uploaded on social media platforms or news sites.
This way, you can track emerging trends as well as new information that can guide online marketing campaigns or offer unique competitive advantages.
Indeed, web crawling can boost digital marketing in many ways. Data is central to understanding the market, meaning web crawlers can help shape online marketing campaigns.