Collecting SERP data at scale will help you figure out why you’re having trouble ranking with a particular collection of keywords and provide insight into the kinds of pages and material you’ll need to rate. You may want to extract a list of URLs from a Google web search on a specific search query now and then. To save heaps of your time, using an API to quickly obtain all the results, down to the last page.
When a user searches for something on Google, the SERPs are the pages that appear. These pages rank results are based on how the search engine algorithm interprets their importance and utility.
Seeing the top-ranking pages for the most important keywords for your business is a crucial step in understanding the ecosystem you’re in and preparing your marketing strategy for both paid and organic reach.
To get all that data from SERPs, you’ll need to execute quite a few searches. The problem is that most search engines don’t usually like it when people extract their SERP data, that’s why having access to the right proxies isn’t just useful, it’s a must.
But first, let us look into what proxies are.
What are proxies?
Proxies are servers that act as a middleman for end-users and the websites they visit. That is, they serve as a “gateway” or secondary computer through which all of your online requests proceed before reaching the page or file you’re looking for.
When you make a request, the proxy intercepts it and makes the same request on your behalf, drawing replies from its local cache or forwarding the message to the desired site server. The proxy will then return the response to you after the request has been completed.
There are many reasons why someone may want to use a proxy. The most well-known reason is to browse the Internet or do certain actions anonymously. TV shows would conjure images of master criminals using proxies to commit some great heist when in reality it’s more about people not wanting to have their data collected for someone’s marketing database.
Why proxies are crucial for extracting SERP data
Proxies can be found anywhere on the planet. You can use your home computer to set up a proxy, or you can use the cloud to deploy one. The most important thing is that the proxy has the correct settings for the features you need.
First of all, search engines and plenty of other websites don’t trust bots. It’s an understandable stance when you consider that bots can be used for many malicious actions, such as DDoS attacks. If a search engine determines that you’re using a data extraction tool, it will try to block your IP to stop the script. Proxies are needed so that even if the website detects you, it doesn’t block your actual IP.
To prevent scrapers from making too many requests, websites put a cap on the amount of crawlable data called “Crawl Rate.” This slows down the scraper’s pace. Scraping with a large enough proxy pool helps the bot bypass rate caps on the goal website by submitting requests from various IP addresses.
If you want to identify your competition in a particular area, a city for example, search engines are an excellent place to start. The problem is that unless your IP says that you’re from that geographical location, you won’t get the exact results as the people that live there. So, naturally, you’ll need a proxy from that area.
What kind of proxy is best for SERP data gathering
For web scraping in general, the choice is between datacenter and residential IPs.
Datacenter proxies are cloud-hosted IPs, built on powerful infrastructure but not supported by an internet service provider. As such, they are very fast but not connected to an actual physical location. These proxies are quite efficient and inexpensive but don’t always work on more advanced sites, like search engines. Their shared subnet makes blocking datacenter IPs by the handful rather easy for vigilant webmasters or advanced anti-bot countermeasures.
Residential proxies, by comparison, are much harder to detect for websites. Their IPs come from real devices connected to the internet by internet service providers. They’ll be your best bet at creating a stable and reliable system to harvest SERP data. A proxy pool that uses a diversity of residential IPs from different countries and devices is practically undetectable when used right.
To use residential IPs to their full extent, you should use an IP rotation system. By rotating proxies, each request comes from a different residential IP and the search engine has no reason to believe that all the requests are coming from the same source.
You could rotate proxies manually, but that would mean extra work. If you’re monitoring certain keywords, it would mean manually sending the requests at the same time at every interval. As data extraction tools are meant to automate this process and make it easier for you the user, rotating proxies can also be automated and integrated into the tool.
The best tool for the job is a proxy pool of rotating residential proxies. This presents two major problems:
First, collecting residential IPs on your own is a long and arduous process. It would mean finding people who are willing to install a program on their computer that lets you use it as a proxy. Of course, they’ll want to be compensated for that. So you’d need to create and manage a network of individual machines around the world, keeping each one maintained and paid.
Second, creating a management system that rotates said IPs takes both technical knowledge and time. For a small project where efficiency may not be a huge concern, this could be the best option. For large projects with complex workflows and objectives, it’s best to go with a professional solution that works well and doesn’t take time to be built.
That’s why we think that the best recourse for you is to search for a SERP data extraction tool that does all this and more — a one-stop solution for all your SERP data needs.
That is exactly what we’ve built SearchData to be, an API that anyone can learn to use quickly and depend on to give them detailed, correct, and timely data from search engine results pages. If you’d like to see SearchData in action, create a free account and receive 100 searches to try out the product!