News articles contain everything, from emerging trends in disparate industries and recent findings/announcements/declarations (and their effects on citizens and businesses) to opinion pieces by experts. When harnessed and integrated into businesses’ decision-making processes, news can be a key contributor to competitive advantages. This highlights the importance of news scraping.
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What is News Scraping?
News scraping refers to the use of bots/programs to automatically retrieve news updates from news aggregator sites, news websites, or results displayed on search engines’ news tab. News scraping is a subcategory of web scraping, which refers to the automated extraction of public data from websites.
News articles cover a flurry of topics that provide insights into industries. For instance, they may contain opinions or comments from experts. Alternatively, they may summarize findings from groundbreaking research. Companies that extract such information and subsequently integrate it into their decision-making benefit greatly.
Benefits of News Scraping
But how exactly will such businesses benefit? Well, the advantages of news scraping include:
- News articles provide up-to-date, verified, and reliable data on recent happenings;
- News pieces contain summaries of emerging trends that, when pieced together, describe the expected direction of whole industries;
- News scraping helps businesses identify and mitigate against risks;
- It enables companies to be on top of regulatory changes, thus enhancing compliance;
- News articles discussing best industry practices or deficiencies in a given industry provide information that is integral to improving operations;
- Reputation monitoring: businesses can extract data from news websites to establish what news outlets have been writing about them; this way, they can identify any negative press and immediately react, thus protecting their reputation;
- News scraping offers insights into the industry standards as regards content writing, i.e., the phrasing, styles, and language used for certain target audiences; with this information, businesses can tailor their content to conform to the standards, thus enabling them to better target and address their target audiences;
- Content strategy improvement: company websites often include links to recent media coverages, meaning that by undertaking news scraping, you could identify the type of content your competitors’ post and, with this information, you could improve your website’s content strategy;
- Public relations: usually, news outlets derive their content from public relations sources such as press releases. In this regard, news scraping enables you as a business owner to pay attention to articles about your competitors, allowing you to extract tips and best practices that could make your efforts at getting more comprehensive media coverage more successful.
News Scraping Process
As stated, news scraping entails using a bot to extract data from news websites. It involves making HTTP requests, which prompt the news websites’ servers to send HTML code files containing the content. The bot, known as a scraper, then parses the file, a process that converts the unstructured data to a structured format that can be read and understood by humans. Finally, the scraper saves the structured data in a .CSV or JSON file.
However, given that there are thousands, if not millions, of news websites, it may prove challenging to identify all of them and subsequently extract valuable data from each. Fortunately, bots known as web crawlers can help remedy the situation. So, what is a web crawler?
What is a web crawler?
A web crawler is a bot that discovers new websites and web pages by following links embedded in an initial group of known web pages. Next, the bot, also referred to as a spider, goes through the content in the newly discovered web pages to identify embedded links and collect the data therein for storage. Finally, it archives the data in databases known as indexes for future retrieval. Check this blog post to learn more about web crawlers.
These steps describe a process known as web crawling, which is, in fact, central to how news aggregator sites discover news content.
Role of web crawlers in news scraping
Spiders help identify news websites by following links. They also store the data, such as URLs, important words (keywords), and meta descriptions, for future retrieval. This means that in the event a business needs to scrape the internet for news articles, the crawler will already have a database of news-oriented URLs from which to commence the web crawling exercise.
The scrapers then take over from the crawlers. The scrapers’ role, therefore, solely entails extracting data from the identified news websites. This arrangement ensures that the news scraping initiative covers the greatest number of sites possible – crawlers guarantee that the data collected is comprehensive. In addition, the spiders also make news scraping fast and efficient. It is also worth noting that high-quality web crawlers include features, including proxies, CAPTCHA solvers, and more, that guarantee a high success rate.
News scraping holds numerous benefits for businesses. For instance, it improves content strategies, compliance, and public relations. It is also an avenue to monitor your reputation as well as identify and mitigate risks. That said, successful news scraping is mostly possible with the use of high-quality tools, one of which is a web crawler. Web crawlers ensure fast, comprehensive, and efficient news scraping.