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Web Scraping for SEO Monitoring: What You Need to Know

The shift in consumer behavior due to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced B2C companies to adapt. The most affected are those in the retail business who have had to embrace e-commerce. It goes without saying that multiple companies have embraced this digital transformation, giving rise to even more competition for websites that are now more than ever dependent on traffic. 

Beating the competition in this digital era starts with understanding the workings of the internet and the fact that search engines are the go-to resources for anyone seeking information about an item they wish to purchase and the best store from which to buy. In fact, a 2016 study by Forrester showed that 71% of consumers discover new products, brands, or services using search engines. Further, over 90% of them use search engines at different stages of the consumer lifecycle, with 72% stating that they consider search results trustworthy. These statistics point to the importance of search engine optimization (SEO). 

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engine optimization (SEO) is a collection of different elements that, when integrated into a website’s web pages, makes it more visible to search engines, ultimately translating to increased traffic and conversions. Some of these elements include keywords, creating content (blog articles), improved website usability and loading speeds, and links (internal and external links). A well-optimized website appears on page one of search engines’ organic results. Therefore, it is used as a digital marketing tool because it has many advantages.

Benefits of SEO

SEO is beneficial because of the following reasons:

  • It increases visibility and ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs), 
  • It increases web traffic and conversions
  • It makes consumers consider your website as being more trustworthy, highly relevant, and of high quality; simply put, it makes a website authoritative
  • The improved usability and loading speeds enhance the user experience

Overall, SEO helps your business grow by giving you a competitive advantage, driving more traffic, translating to more sales, and making your website the go-to resource for information about a particular product. 

The infusion of SEO elements into your website is regarded as an SEO campaign. In the best-case scenario, everything should work as expected, but this is not always the case. This necessitates what we refer to as SEO monitoring

SEO monitoring

SEO monitoring refers to the process of checking the effectiveness of your SEO campaign by scrutinizing whether the SEO elements you have deployed on your website have yielded any results or not. For instance, you could check the links used to identify broken, outdated, or non-existent 

links that may cause search engines to skip a particular webpage. SEO monitoring also entails analyzing the keywords you have used to establish whether you picked the right and relevant words in the first place. 

Notably, SEO monitoring goes beyond your website as it also entails monitoring your competitors, especially in instances where their websites are doing better than yours. In this case, you will want to find out the strategies they have used that keep them ahead. For this, you have to use web scraping, which, in turn, relies on SEO proxies for success.

Benefits of SEO monitoring

  • It provides insights into the SEO strategies that are working
  • It points out elements that are broken and which do not have an impact on your website’s visibility
  • It helps you identify your competitors’ strategies

Use of SEO proxies in SEO monitoring

As stated, monitoring competitors’ websites is regarded as web scraping. Web scraping refers to the process of extracting data from websites. This term is mostly used in instances where the extraction is automated, although it can also describe the manual forms of data harvesting, e.g., copying and pasting.

Web scraping is strenuous to web servers because the automated tools usually make multiple requests simultaneously that prompt the server to send HTML or XML documents of each webpage. This means that during any data harvesting undertaking, the server has to allocate resources to provide the web files, which negatively impacts performance. 

To prevent this from happening, web developers include anti-scraping techniques, the most common of which is IP blocking. Through the IP blocking method, websites block IP addresses from which multiple web requests originate. 

Fortunately, with SEO proxies, you can ensure your SEO monitoring runs smoothly by avoiding IP blocking. SEO proxies are mostly rotating proxies, which either change your computer’s IP address every few minutes or assign each web request a unique IP address. This way, the web server receives requests similar to how they would if a human user sent them. 

With SEO proxies and SEO monitoring, you can collect relevant information from search engines by using the SERPs to identify websites that have high visibility. Upon identification, you can use web scraping tools to extract key information to guide your future SEO campaigns. 

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