You've probably run into a major problem when trying to scrape Google search results. Web scraping tools allow you to extract information from a web page. Companies and coders from across the world use them to download Google's SERP data. And they work well – for a little while.
After several scrapes, Google's automated security system kicks in. Then it kicks you out.
The standard was to bypass the block is to use a proxy. However, each proxy only allows a limited number of scrapes. That's why Google SERP APIs are the perfect tool to overcome these limitations.
This article examines how to overcome Google web scraping issues without changing proxy servers.
Read on to learn more about web scraping. Discover the types of data you can extract. And how API web scraping tools can make your life a lot easier.
What Is Web Scraping?
Think of a website that you want to copy information from. How can you extract that data without entering the site on your browser and downloading the HTML source?
Web scraping is the process of automating the extraction of website content through software.
Most high-level languages like Python or Java can web scrape using a few lines of code. Data is then parsed and stored to be processed later.
Why Scrape Google SERPS?
Google has the highest search engine market share, so naturally, its search results are prime for scraping.
Companies and individuals use that information for a variety of reasons, including:
- Ad verification
- SEO rank tracking
- Content aggregation
- Lead generation
Once the information gets saved to a local database trend, it becomes easy to spot. For example, if a business wants to know if their SEO efforts are working, they can see their page placement over time.
Google Search results also contain feature snippets, shopping results, local search maps, and more. Scraping them provides a clear picture of how real-life users view SERPs from across the globe.
How Scraping SERPs Can Quickly Help You Uncover Damage Caused by a Hacker
I know, no one wants to think about the day that a hacker makes it past your security and starts tearing down all your hard work. SEO results that took years and years to build up can be destroyed in a few days.
When SEO professionals were surveyed, 48% of them said it took Google months to restore their original search results. They also ranked the damage from previous hacks to be severe more often than not.
Tracking your site's SERPs gives you valuable insights into what's happening with your rankings and how they can change during hacks. This makes it easier to ask Google to reinstate your previous positions. One person found that just 8 hours of downtime resulted in a 35% drop in SERP rankings.
Small businesses are particularly vulnerable. GoDaddy found that 90% of sites did not know that they carried Malware. Malware can consistently damage your search results and ultimately get you blacklisted.
Simply doing a regular scrape off all your SERPs and tracking the data historically can help you spot hacks as they happen and know exactly where the damage is most severe.
How to Web Scrape Google Search Results
Here's a brief tutorial on how to web scrape Google using Python:
Use the code on this page and replace the New York MTA URL with www.google.com. The response object holds the results, and you can interrogate that data using the BeautifulSoup library.
Sounds simple? Not so fast.
Scraping content isn't straightforward because of parsing issues and connection limitations.
Parsing and Proxy Problems
Parsing or organizing information is unique to each site because every page holds a different structure.
For Google Search, results aren't always uniform, so parsing organic listings can often lead to strange results.
Google also changes its code over time, so what worked last month may no longer function today.
Robust web platforms like Google Search also don't appreciate high-volume web scraping.
To counter the practice, they check the IP address of each user as they search. Those that act like a computer program are banned after eight attempts or so every twenty hours.
For Google, the issue is one of cybersecurity.
They don't want automated bots bypassing their own services. That would undermine the trust that their advertisers and stakeholders put in them.
To get around this problem, many coders employ a proxy solution.
A proxy provides a different IP address to Google, so the limits get 'reset'. Yet they're reset just once. After that, the proxy gets blocked, and another's required.
Constantly changing proxies and parsing evolving data makes web scraping a nightmare. That's why a better solution exists.
Google SERP APIs
Search Engine Results Pages or SERPs are easy to scrape by using the right API.
The Application Programming Interface lets you query Google as many times as you want without restrictions. All data gets returned in an organized JSON format to do as you please. You sign-up, get an API key, and start scraping.
One such company that offers a simple yet powerful Google Search API is Zenserp.
Their system bypasses the proxy management issues by rotating proxies automatically. They also ensure that you only receive valid responses.
Zenserp reviews of their best web scraping tools are rated five-stars. And they also offer other Google scraping services like the ones discussed next.
Benefits of Google SERP APIs
A good API scraping tool offers more than just search listings and ranking data.
Google provides a wide range of services, including:
- image search
- shopping search
- image reverse search
- trends, etc.
Data for image search APIs, for instance, display the thumbnail URLs and original image URLs. Because everything is JSON-based, that means results download quickly. You can then save the images as required.
Many businesses also want to track their competitors' products through Google's shopping search.
With a Google Shopping API, they can store prices, descriptions, etc. and keep one step ahead. Using a real-time system could automate pricing strategies, for example.
Advanced API Features
Not only does an API overcome the issues of changing proxies, but it also provides some advanced features.
Using the right API lets, you obtain location-based search engine results.
The selected IP address will originate from the country of your choice. That means you can see SERPs from Russia, Australia, the US, or anywhere directly from your workstation.
Large Data Sets
If your use-case requires a large set of results, then an API allows for this.
You can set multiple endpoints and automate each query. For example, Zendserp's API lets you send thousands of queries a day. There are no limits.
We've highlighted the problems of parsing scraped content already. It's difficult enough to extract the data you need but becomes more so as Google evolves.
Intelligent parsers adapt to the changing DOM of search result pages. That means you leave the hard work to the API to make sense of the information. No more having to rewrite code. Just wait for the JSON results and keep focused on your task.
Google SERP APIs and More at The Hacker News
In this article, we've highlighted the benefits of using Google SERP API scraping tools to bypass proxy limitations.
Using a simple endpoint system, you can now easily scrape results from Google Search. You're no longer limited to a few requests before being denied.
And you can scrape other Google services like Images and News using a few lines of code on a tool like Zenserp.
Check out our other articles on bypassing known proxy issues. Then have your say and comment on this article when you join us on our social media feeds.