One of the main goals for any business is to stay ahead of the competition. In the current internet age, companies with an online presence can partly achieve this by using several techniques. These include search engine results page (SERP) scraping and search engine optimization (SEO) best practices, which contribute to a higher ranking on search engines.
With research noting that the first search engine results page (SERP) captures the most search traffic clicks (between 71% and 92%) than the second SERP (6%), the former is definitely more desirable. But how does SERP scraping play a role in influencing rankings?
What is SERP Scraping?
Typically, when you hit enter on your keyboard after keying in a keyword on your preferred search engine, several results, displayed as links, are displayed. Because a given keyword has millions of results, the search engine groups them into different SERPs. In this regard, SERP scraping extracts data from these SERPs, meaning it is a unique form of web scraping.
Uses of SERP Scraping and Analysis
Once extracted, these scraped SERP data can be analyzed for clues into how highly ranked websites have managed to achieve this milestone. For instance, you could be wondering what SEO strategy your competitor has used on their websites to stay ahead. By conducting SERP scraping, you can establish the main keywords used in their website.
Additionally, analyzing SERPs reveals the search intent. Whenever you have hit “search” on the search bar, for example, you had an objective. You may have been seeking new information or looking for a product to buy. To this end, search engine algorithms display results based on the search intent associated with specific keywords. It is only by analyzing SERPs that you can establish the exact words to use based on the search intent your target audience may have while looking for your product.
If integrated into your website, the insights gained from SERP scraping and the subsequent analysis could help improve your ranking on search engines. For example, research has established that websites on the first SERP have high click-through rates (CTRs). A high CTR often leads to more conversions, hence improved sales.
Challenges of SERP Scraping
However, while SERP scraping offers insights that could potentially help grow your business, you are likely to face a few challenges while at it. These challenges include:
- IP blocks
- Unstructured data
- Dynamic content, slow loading speeds, and complex website structures, especially if you scrap individual sites
SERP scraping involves sending numerous requests. If the requests are sent in an uncontrolled manner, the search engines could flag your computer’s IP address on suspicion of being a bot. In some cases, the address could be blocked.
Search engines contain inbuilt puzzles that are shown to users whose IP addresses are linked to “unusual traffic.” These puzzles, known as CAPTCHAs, would greatly slow down large-scale SERP scraping.
Data stored online is mostly unstructured as it is not available in tabular form or summarized analytically in charts. Thus, SERP scraping using simple tools may only retrieve unusable information.
Complex Website Structures
Some websites contain different pages whose layout varies significantly from one to the next. If you were to extract data from such sites, you would struggle.
E-commerce websites apply AJAX, a group of technologies that makes sites more responsive. While this greatly improves the experience for users, it is a nightmare for bots, such as a simple SERP scraper.
Slow Loading Speeds
Some websites are extremely slow. This challenge greatly impedes the progress and speed of a SERP scraper.
Fortunately, you can bypass these challenges by using specialized tools, one of which is the SERP Scraper API presented on the Oxylabs’ website.
About SERP Scraper API
The SERP Scraper application programming interface (API) is a specialized tool packed with features that helps users overcome the obstacles and challenges associated with SERP scraping. With this tool, you can receive parsed data – data that has been converted from the HTML format to a structured form – from different types of results.
For instance, you can use it to retrieve data on popular products, news, images, maps, scholarly resources, and organic and paid results. The SERP Scraper API also goes a step further. With an integrated proxy rotator, it guarantees a 100% success rate, meaning you do not need to worry about IP blocks or CAPTCHAs. At the same time, the use of a vast pool of proxies from hundreds of countries means that you can narrow down your SERP scraping efforts in order to retrieve localized search results.
SERP scraping, coupled with the analysis of search results, could significantly contribute to the growth of your business. However, given the numerous hurdles associated with the data extraction efforts, it is recommended that you use a specialized tool – the SERP Scraper API – which guarantees a 100% success rate.