SERP Scraper 101: The Ultimate Guide for Businesses
Did you know that the most widely used search engine processes nearly 3.5 billion searches every day? That’s a lot of searches.
As a business trying to make your website or blog rank, you have to compete with hundreds, if not thousands, of content pieces in your niche to make it to the search engines’ first page. Most businesses and individuals fail to make it. Ahrefs reports that 90.63% of all pages published get zero traffic online, and 5.29% of them get ten or fewer visits per month. That’s quite disappointing, isn’t it?
What can you do to be more visible to your audience or customers? Focus on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) scraping. Although most people know about SERP or Search Engine Result Pages, few know about SERP scraping. Basically, it’s a process where you collect information regarding your competitors on the web and use the gathered data to improve your ranking. How do you use a SERP scraper, and how does tracking local SERPs help? You’ll find out.
This article will help you identify why you should be scraping SERPs and how you can successfully implement the data for your business’ benefit. Feel free to use the table of contents to skip to sections most relevant to you and your business.
What Is SERP?
Search Engine Result Pages are the pages that show up when you type in a search query on a major search engine. These include paid ads, organic results, image results, news results, and video results. Simply put, SERPs are the different options you have for your search queries.
Every SERP is unique because all search engines personalize the user experience by showing results according to the user’s social settings, physical location, browsing history, and other factors. For instance, if you search for “buy leather boots” in Houston, you’ll get different results than if you typed the same search query in Paris, France. The search engine will customize the results based on your location, showing you where to purchase leather boots in your locality.
Search engines constantly experiment with different algorithms to provide valuable results to their users. The more the SERPs are personalized based on your location, search history, or personal preferences, the better your experience.
SERP Content Types
Internet searches are of three main types; informational, navigational, and transactional.
- Informational: These are searches where the user wants to learn something, like how to plant a tree. The search engine will show you the best websites on the topic. You might even see videos, books, and news on the subject.
- Navigational: These are searches where a user wants to visit a certain website, like checking out a restaurant’s menu before visiting. The search engine will show you your desired site so you can easily bookmark it or add something to your cart, depending on the particular search query. In most cases, the searcher already knows what website they want to visit, so they type the URL directly into the search bar.
- Transactional: These are searches that target specific businesses or websites, like when you’re looking for a plumber in Denver. These searches usually have a high commercial intent, which means the user is searching intending to purchase something. These queries often have the word “buy” in them.
SERPs typically have two content types: paid and organic results. These results are generated by different factors and serve different purposes on the web.
These are results generated from an algorithm without the influence of ads. Organic results improve your websites’ visibility because they have the best chance to rank high, especially if you employ SEO techniques and strategies.
Organic results won’t work for transactional searches because the business isn’t yet established enough to rank high on search engines.
Paid results are ads that advertisers have to pay for, and they don’t have to use any SEO or other techniques to rank high on SERPs with paid results. All they need is a budget, and their advertisement will show up on the top of the first page of search results.
In most cases, these ads are placed above or below organic listings, depending on their bid price. In some cases, the ad might even show up as a regular organic result for a particular query.
For instance, you’ll probably see ads on search engine images or featured snippets that display a site’s image or a paragraph from the website directly into the SERP. Depending on the search engine the searcher is using, they’ll see different types of ads:
- Native Ads: These ads blend in with the rest of the results, appearing like organic listings. These ads use sponsored brand logos and look similar to other listings on that SERP.
- Sponsored Links: It is a more traditional type of paid result that looks like an organic link but is clearly marked as “sponsored” or “ad.”
- Display Ads: These ads are often placed on the right-or-left-hand side of organic results. They open in a new tab/window, making it impossible to see the page they link to directly in your search result.
SERP features are found in the search engine results for many different queries. They are pieces of information that are not necessarily linked to the question asked but provide additional information that is still pretty useful.
Here are some common SERP features:
- Local Carousel: The local carousel appears on the first page of results and lists businesses near a specific location. For instance, if a user wants to search for places to buy leather boots in Chicago, the local carousel will show local shops and relevant businesses.
- Local Knowledge Panel: The knowledge panel is another local feature that shows additional information about a place. Some knowledge panels include the business’s opening hours, photos, reviews, and other bits of information related to it. Since the knowledge panel readily displays all important information about a business, the user does not even have to click a link or go to the business’s website.
- Local Pack Results: The local pack displays results with the local carousel. These results are also typically from businesses near a specific location but may include listings from businesses outside of city limits. The local pack results are displayed as a map with three businesses and their locations.
- Image Carousels: Image carousels appear on the SERP on desktop devices and show related images or pictures to a search query. For instance, if a user searches for a product, the image carousel will show them the top-ranking images for that product.
- List Carousels: A list carousel displays a search results list for a specific query instead of one result from each website. List carousels typically show the top ten results for a given query and update as the user scrolls through them. For instance, when a user searches for the “best Christmas movies,” they’ll see a list of movies they can scroll through.
- Paid Ads: Paid ads are posted by companies to appear in certain positions above the organic results. They are generally accompanied by a small notice saying “ad” to distinguish them from the organic results.
- Unedited Snippet: The unedited snippet shows a portion of the text from the source website in its original form with no formatting or editing by the search engine. For example, if a user searches “How tall is Barack Obama?” they will see the source site’s exact words appear on the SERP.
- Direct Answers: A direct answer provides a specific and concise response to a user’s question within the search result itself. Say a user searches for “what day will Christmas be this year?” The search will give them an unedited string that lists the date of Christmas in 2022.
- Enriched Search Results: These appear as “People also ask” boxes and provide additional information related to the main search query. For instance, a user searching for the best waffle batter will see search results with details about waffles from restaurants and other relevant websites.
- Video Results: These search results appear in a box on the right side of the results. They provide users with answers to their queries, like how-to videos or tutorials they can watch without leaving the search engine’s site.
- Image Results: These search results appear in a box on top of traditional image links. They show thumbnails of images related to the main query and provide users with a preview of the image.
Why Should Businesses Care About SERP?
Today, businesses need to focus on SEO and SERP since they can play a major role in a company’s ranking and visibility. What’s the point of creating a website if it doesn’t appear on major search engines? On average, one person makes about three to four online searches every day, and that continual online presence is something businesses can capitalize on. These search engines have so much power over how consumers view your business. If you want to succeed online, you can’t ignore internet searches.
Listed below are some of the reasons why businesses should care about SERP:
Reach your target audience
Businesses that want to succeed in their niche should always aim for organic results when optimizing their sites. As previously mentioned, search engines play a huge role in how consumers perceive your business. If they don’t see you on search engines, there’s a good chance they won’t be buying from your site either.
For instance, 75% of internet users never scroll past the first page of organic results when looking for something online. If your business isn’t on the first page of major search engines, you have a very low chance of being found by your target audience.
Get quality leads
A great thing about organic results is getting traffic of the highest quality. While some paid ads might be more expensive than others, getting on top of SERPs usually means that people are specifically looking for your business or service. It means they’re more likely to buy something when they find what they’re looking for. When people are generally searching to buy, you can see your revenue increase through organic search.
Increase website traffic
Getting on SERPs is an effective way to increase your website’s overall visibility. The higher you are on a search engine’s first result page, the more people see your website.
If you’re on the first page, there’s a good chance that you’ll attract more visitors than if you were on the second or third page. The only way to do this is by optimizing your pages for various keywords and using proper SEO techniques, like backlinking (to get high authority rankings).
Increase brand awareness
If people search for something related to your business, they might see you online. If many people see your company, you’ll definitely increase brand awareness.
Whenever someone searches for a product or service similar to yours, it means that you have an opportunity to stand out from the competition and provide them with what they want. Today, there’s a lot of competition online. Businesses that want to thrive must capture their target audience’s attention immediately rather than letting them hop on to their competitors’ websites.
Attract new customers
If people are searching for a business like yours, you might attract new customers who didn’t know about your company before. When looking for a specific product or service online, people often check out the top listings in organic search results. If you’re on one of those listings, you’ll increase your chances of getting new customers.
How to Track and Monitor a Business’s SERP Rankings
Tracking the ranking of any business is easier than ever, thanks to the presence of SERP checking tools. You can simply use a SERP checker online to check your own website or a competitor’s.
Here are the best SERP checker tools to try:
SE Ranking is a SERP checker online that lets you check everything from backlinks to keyword relevance, with prices starting as low as $23.40. You can track your rankings on different search engines.
AccuRanker is a full-featured rank tracking tool that you can use to track up to 3000 keywords. The pricing is based on the number of keywords you want to monitor.
AccuRanker’s results show your ranking in all SERP features, including related questions, site links, etc. It’s a great tool for store owners, agencies, and brands that need a quick SERP checking online for competitor monitoring.
Nightwatch is one of the best SERP checker tools to track rankings across multiple devices. Once you create an account, you can use this tool to check your websites’ ranking on desktop and mobile SERP results with a single click of a button.
Nightwatch also shows the rank of competitor websites in various SERP features, including featured snippets, related questions, etc.
What Is SERP Scraping?
Now that it’s established that businesses need SERP to improve their standing in their niche, it’s also imperative to know how businesses can compete with the current search engine results.
SERP scraping is the best way to accomplish this. SERP scraping is a specific type of web scraping (the process of acquiring data from a website) where only the search engine results are collected in an automated fashion.
How does SERP scraping work?
A SERP scraper will take the necessary inputs from the user, such as keywords, keywords to be excluded, type of results, etc. Based on these inputs, the SERP scraper will automatically search for the keywords over several search engines and tally all the results in a single place. SERP scraping also tallies metrics like the number of backlinks for each website, its page rank, and more.
Overall, it gives you a clear idea of how your website compares to others in your niche. In turn, you can then decipher what steps need to be taken next to improve your site’s rankings.
Why Should Businesses Scrape for SERP?
A business must strengthen its online presence to make a place for itself in the market. In today’s age, businesses have to compete with many online options available for users. They must get themselves listed in search engines and ensure their websites rank higher than the competition. Scraping for SERP can help you get the ball rolling.
SERP scraping makes sure that your website gets indexed on search engines. While this may seem trivial, it’s the foundation of everything else. Based on the data from SERP scraped from different search engines, businesses can develop a solid strategy to improve their online rankings and get more organic traffic. Here are some reasons businesses need a SERP scraper to scrape the web:
- Identify Keywords With Maximum Conversions: SERP scraping can help you find the keywords that garner maximum conversions. It is one of the most important factors for businesses since keywords people actively search for tend to rank higher on search engines. It’s only through converting users into customers that businesses can make money.
- Identify Competitors and Their Strategies: Once keywords with the highest conversions are identified, you’ll need to develop a strategy to outrank your competitors. To conduct a thorough competitor analysis, you will require the keywords your competitors are targeting and their overall approach to improving their rankings.
- Analyze Traffic Source: You can also use a SERP scraper to determine where your competitors get most of their traffic. The information is crucial since it helps businesses develop a better marketing strategy and, ultimately, bring in more revenue.
- Listing in Knowledge Panel: A SERP scraper can help you list your website on the knowledge panel, an organic result that shows up when someone queries for a specific keyword. When you rank in the knowledge panel, your business becomes more visible to users on search engines, directly translating into more customers.
How does SERP scraping help small businesses?
If you’re running a small business or own one, chances are you do not have an extensive marketing budget to use for online promotion. Knowing where your website stands compared to the competition is important if you want to keep your business afloat.
With the help of SERP scraping, you can continuously keep track of your progress and strategize ways to outrank your competitors. It is also a quick way to identify issues that may have caused your website’s rankings to plummet. You can still reap the benefits of what a SERP scraper has to offer, even if you have a modest budget for marketing.
Types of Data Businesses Can Gather From SERPs
SERP monitoring can help businesses collect plenty of data about their performance and that of their competitors. Here are the types of data businesses can collect through SERP monitoring:
The major benefit of SERP data is competitor research. Businesses can use this information to determine what their competitors do to gain SERP visibility, and they can then identify the strategies they should use to improve their SEO performance.
For example, if a business discovers its competitor is ranking high for the long-tail keywords it also wants to rank for, it may have better luck optimizing the page for those keywords rather than using the head terms.
Competitor research is also useful for market intelligence. It can help businesses see what their competitors are doing to gain new customers and identify new opportunities or threats that could affect their own market performance.
Just because you’re trying to rank for a keyword doesn’t mean it’s relevant for your website. By using the best SERP tracking tools, businesses can see how their target keywords are performing in the SERPs. That lets them identify when a keyword is irrelevant and adjust their content strategy accordingly.
For example, if a business discovers its target keywords aren’t showing up in the search engines’ top 100 results, it may need to republish or update its existing content rather than create new material.
The click potential of a keyword is a great way to determine which keywords are worth going after. That’s because it helps businesses see which keywords have the most potential to turn into valuable organic traffic.
For example, if a business finds its target keyword has a high click-through rate yet ranks halfway down the first page, it may decide to focus on optimizing the web page for that particular keyword. That way, it can give its target audience an easy way to access the content they’re looking for.
eMarketer reports that 60% of marketers create at least one content piece daily. But what if the content type you’re creating does not rank well? What if it does not get enough clicks from customers?
Therefore, a business needs to know which type of content does well for a keyword. Do people tend to click more often on videos, or do they prefer reading long-form articles? Some popular content types on the web are long-form articles, infographics, videos, images, etc.
SERP data helps businesses identify the content type that performs best for their target keywords. Businesses can then focus on creating more content of that type to attract potential customers.
Businesses can also reuse their existing content by making appropriate changes. For instance, if blog posts with infographics tend to do better for a keyword, you can add infographics to your existing posts to boost their performance.
SEO performance reporting
The final benefit of SERP tracking is SEO performance reporting. It helps businesses see which areas need improvement and lets them pinpoint the strategies that are working well so they can spread those efforts out across other web pages or products to maximize results.
For example, if a business discovers its blog posts are ranking higher than its product pages, it may decide to place a stronger emphasis on blogging.
How Does SERP Scraping Help Businesses?
A SERP scraper can be a huge asset for a business as it can extract useful data. An online SERP scraper bot can extract the names, links, and other website metadata listed on a SERP page. This information can be used to help businesses understand their competitors better.
Here’s how businesses can scrape SERP data to improve their performance:
Perform SEO monitoring
Businesses can scrape search results to find the following SEO-related information:
- Meta Titles: The titles displayed in search engine metadata.
- Meta Descriptions: The descriptions below meta titles.
- Pagerank: The measure of how well a website is ranked on SERPs. It is denoted by an alphabetic letter and follows the same scale as PageRank in Wikipedia articles.
- Rich Snippets: Information about websites displayed in SERP snippets.
A business can monitor its own and competitors’ performance on SERP using this SEO-related data. For example, a business owner can use a SERP scraper to compare the number of backlinks that their website has acquired with those of the competitors’.
Enhance digital advertising
Businesses can also use a SERP scraper to improve their digital advertising efforts. For instance, you can see which keywords well-performing ads in your niche use. Similarly, you can track changes in ads and keywords over time. With SERP scrapers, it’s easier to create new and better keywords lists for your business.
Optimize online shopping results
Businesses can use an online SERP scraper to scrape different types of data, including titles, descriptions, and prices, to enhance the online shopping experience for their customers. You can use SERP scraping to find the lowest prices for a product or the keywords your well-performing competitors use in the product descriptions.
Suppose you sell bedding online. Using results collected by a SERP scraper, you can identify that you need to include information about the product’s fabric, color, pattern, and texture in the product description because your top-ranking competitors are doing this.
Get external links
External links are helpful in improving a website’s ranking on SERPs. You can use a SERP scraper to find websites that have a good number of external links and can potentially link your website as well. This will increase your website’s credibility, influence its search engine rankings, and attract traffic from the connected websites.
Tools for SERP Scraping and Monitoring
Now that you know enough about using SERP data, let’s discuss how to scrape the web for SERP analysis. There are a few ways to do this, with proxies being the most effective method.
You can use a browser add-on, like Mozbar, for SEO scraping. The option is ideal for businesses that don’t need to scrape too many keywords since the add-on does not provide extensive results.
Likewise, a browser extension, such as Oscraper, can work for SERP scraping and help you search for detailed information. The downside to this option is that it’s not free.
These services are great for quick searches or compiling data. However, proxies are your most ideal option if you need to scrape for keywords repeatedly or consistently.
Proxies will allow you access to an anonymous IP address to view the search results for specific keywords in any country of your choice. Proxies can also increase your productivity by allowing you to scrape for keywords (or URLs) in bulk.
Some benefits of using proxies include:
- Security: Proxies add a layer of security, making it harder for search engines to detect you.
- Scraping Speed: Proxies will increase your speed when accessing the results from a remote location.
- Country-Targeting: You can target specific countries with different proxies, such as the U.K. or U.S.
Proxies also allow access to features that the previous two options do not, such as:
- Scraping Restrictions: Proxies allow you to work around any restrictions that search engines may have in place. You can also view cached pages and follow robots.txt files.
- Frequency Capping: If you repeatedly need to scrape for the same keywords, you can set proxies to stop scraping after a certain amount of hits.
Best Proxies for SERP Scraping
Based on your particular business needs, you can use different types of proxies for SERP scraping. While some proxies are faster, others tend to give better results.
Here are some types of proxies businesses can use to scrape SERP data:
- Mobile Proxies: These proxies are a new addition to the proxies list and are mainly used for collecting data from mobile apps. They offer great speeds at reasonable prices.
- Residential Proxies: Residential proxies are better than most shared proxies because they have similar speeds to dedicated proxies. However, they are also more expensive.
- Data Center Proxies: These proxies are from a data center and provide better speeds than dedicated proxies. However, they are also costly as compared to other options.
Among these, the best SERP scraping proxies is residential.
Residential proxies are ethically-sourced proxies that offer better speeds and more security than any other proxy type.
Here are some benefits of using residential proxies for scraping SERP data:
- Anonymity: These proxies offer greater anonymity to the users because they do not log any browsing information.
- Availability: The proxies are constantly available and can be used at various times throughout the day. However, they’re expensive because they come from actual households rather than a data center.
- Fast: Residential proxies are faster than dedicated proxies and semi-dedicated proxies because they use broadband connection speeds.
- Secure: Residential proxies are secure from attacks as the proxy owner cannot see your IP address, unlike a shared proxy where the proxy owner can view it. In addition, rotating residential proxies give you a new IP address for each website you need to scrape for SERPs.
- Access Geo-Blocked Content: Some countries don’t allow access to certain restricted websites. Likewise, you may not be able to see the data on local websites from a foreign country. With a residential proxy, you can access these geo-blocked sites anonymously and see the blocked content from anywhere in the world.
Blazing SEO’s residential proxies give you the ultimate peace of mind. You don’t have to worry about getting blocked by websites since Blazing SEO uses rotating proxies. When you’re scraping the web for SERPs, the IP address keeps rotating. In this way, the target website administrator does not find your requests suspicious.
Data center proxies
While residential proxies come from residential users, data center proxies are from an actual data center. They offer better speeds as they use dedicated proxies and relatively low anonymity levels compared to residential proxies.
Here are some benefits of using data center proxies for SERP scraping:
- Availability: The proxies may be used at any time, and one IP address cannot be used by too many people simultaneously, unlike shared IPs. They also allow users to scale up their scraping operations.
- Fast: Data center proxies are much faster than semi-dedicated proxies or shared proxies.
- Affordable: Data center proxies are more affordable than residential proxies, making them ideal for small businesses or individuals who do not have extensive budgets.
Blazing SEO’s data center proxies allow you to scrape SERPs from anywhere in the world since the company has global proxy locations. Plus, the 24/7 customer support ensures you’re never stuck when scraping the web.
Should You Use a Tool to Scrape Search Results?
If you’re not comfortable working with proxies or don’t have the time to manage everything, you can scrape SERP data using a pre-built tool. Here are some benefits of this method:
- Automation: The tool takes care of all the gritty technical aspects, freeing you up to work on other things
- Speed: Once the tool is configured, it will scrape search results for you in just a few hours.
- Scalability: The tool will respond immediately if the search engine updates its SERP layout or restricts access to its API.
Scraping Robot is a remarkable tool that automates search engine scraping for businesses, freeing you of time-consuming worries, like proxy management and IP rotation. The tool manages your proxies and helps you access useful information that you can leverage to improve your business and one-up your competitors.
SERP Monitoring Final Thoughts
SERP scraping is essential for businesses today as it helps them gain insights into their competitors’ activity online. Additionally, it allows businesses to get information about relevant keywords, well-performing content types, and SEO trends. Businesses can use this information to enhance the shopping experience for their customers, improve their advertising strategies, be more visible on search engines, and attract new customers.
Although some browser add-ons let you scrape SERPs, proxies are the best way to ensure high-quality results. Residential and data center proxies provide data security while still giving you access to accurate and up-to-date information. Businesses can either build a SERP scraper or use an automated option like Scraping Robot to automate the process of web scraping. It all comes down to business needs, budget, and preferences.
The information contained within this article, including information posted by official staff, guest-submitted material, message board postings, or other third-party material is presented solely for the purposes of education and furtherance of the knowledge of the reader. All trademarks used in this publication are hereby acknowledged as the property of their respective owners.
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