How to Scrape YelpThursday, March 25, 2021
In the current age, information is power. This article isn’t about some Orwellian Big Brother's nightmare. Instead, the article is about you, the average consumer business, and how much you are losing out on because of inadequate knowledge about ways to gather and interact with the data to which you have access.
This is why we have data scraping. It has existed for as long as modern computers have been available to us. But hey, what does data scraping mean? What utility does it offer to you? Let’s find out, specifically in terms of Yelp and how Yelp scraping can help in lead generation.
Table of Contents
What is data scraping?
Data Scraping, also known as web scraping, is where all the information available to you on a website is imported into a spreadsheet or any other type of file, which can then be saved locally on your computer system. This is an extremely efficient and easy way to gather data from the web and have the ability to sort and filter through it.
The most common uses of data scraping are for:
- Researching web development content
- Comparing prices between various hotels/flights without driving up the cost of the ticket itself
- Sending product data from e-commerce sites to other online vendors
- Finding sales leads and conducting market research
The end goal of the activity is to save the data locally onto the device. Most commonly, the format used to store this data is on Microsoft Excel Sheet. Additionally, for large data sets, it is easy to filter out the unnecessary stuff and get what you require by using the filter feature.
For this article, our focus will be on a particular type of data scraping: Yelp scraping.
Before jumping right into why such a tool is highly recommended in 2021, let us have a look at what Yelp is. It is a company that "connects people with great local businesses." In other words, Yelp is a business directory and a widely popular one. According to Yelp’s official statistics, it had 28 million average monthly mobile app visitors in the second quarter of 2020. That is a lot of users – their number augmented by the new information added continuously by Yelp users.
If you need to filter through all that data, the in-built filters offered by Yelp itself can only go so far. Additionally, the platform does not provide its users with a simple "data export" feature, and Voila! All your data has been converted into a neat little Excel file, ready for download.
But the question then arises - why does a regular business like mine need to utilize Yelp scraping in their activities? Well, for the most part, Yelp scraping is an important tool that is put to most use by the marketing department. Having data that can be sorted through with a few clicks makes it super convenient to generate leads and gain the business of other enterprises out there.
Say, for example, your firm offers accounting services to eateries and bakeries. Having access to all these businesses in the city allows you to focus on poaching clients from your competition and bring the rest on-board with your services, allowing for the rapid growth of your own business and greater profits too!
Methods to Getting Yelp Data
There’s a couple of ways you can now proceed with the scraping process. To make it simple, we’ve narrowed down four methods of getting a Yelp scraper that you can utilize in your quest to find businesses and narrow them down to neat categories.
#Method 1: DIY vs Download It Off The Internet
Finding a Yelp scraper should take one quick Google search. Some may ask for payments, but most of them are usually free to use. If you still believe that these run the risk of being unreliable or be infested with malware, build your own! Even with some knowledge and experience in coding, you should be able to create your custom bare-bones Yelp scraper in no time.
#Method 2: Browser Extension or Software
This is another method you have a choice within. Depending on individual preferences, both sorts of Yelp scrapers are readily available and run smoothly. With a browser extension, you do not need to download and run the setup for a program. However, on the flip side, the software can be used on any browser or desktop app. Since there is no need to code, the thing you need to consider is if it is capable of getting what you need and friendly enough to use.
Cloud Storage, yay, or nay?
Most Yelp scrapers, especially a DIY one, would most likely not feature an option to save the exported file onto a cloud service directly. It’s because it adds complexity to the code and requires linking up to those services. This feature is mostly just a gimmick to attract users. One could upload a locally saved file onto the cloud with just a couple of clicks. Still, it does not hurt to have such a feature to be built-in directly in the program.
The User Interface
Here you are presented with the most liberty to choose. Each Yelp scraper has a different UI. The task performed by these programs is a) singular and b) very straightforward. Thus, the UI of any software should be easy to get a grasp of and use. If you are looking for something specific and tailored to your tastes, then creating one from scratch is a perfect idea. Otherwise, scouring the internet for the perfect fit is something to consider as well.
Where most people would spend their time pouring over each line and word of that data, with a Yelp scraper like ours, one could save an immense amount of time. The time that can be put to much better use. The benefits of having a tool that allows you to sort from millions of data points with just a couple of clicks make it very easy for you to decide your business strategy, the strength and shortcomings of your competition, and numerous other types of information.
Get one for yourself and help your business grow!