Unfortunately, there is no official Google search API that allows you to easily and freely scratch Google data. If instead you want to remove data from the search engine results pages (SERPs), you have essentially two options.
They either build a SERP scraper yourself or buy a SERP scraper tool to do all of the technical work for you. Depending on how tech-savvy you are – i.e. whether you are good at coding or not – it might seem like a better option to create a SERP scraper yourself.
First, it’s free. Other than that, you can build it the way you want without relying on the work of others. However, building your own search engine scraper often requires a lot of work, not to mention maintenance and extra work for scaling afterwards. And that’s not all.
The following is what it takes to create your own SERP scraper and why you might be better off sticking to a paid tool. Let’s go!
How does a SERP scraper work?
In short, a SERP scraper is a robot that is programmed to automatically extract certain bits of data from the search engine results pages.
It begins with crawling (hence the term web crawler) through selected websites and recognizes all raw data available there. Next, your bot will process and analyze all of this data for you before extracting and saving it to a local database, CSV file, or other format.
You can basically scratch any kind of information on these web pages. Whether raw text, paid advertising (like Google Ads), product prices or even images.
This is how you can get your hands on a SERP scraper
We mentioned at the beginning that you have two options: Create or Buy. Let’s start by building your own SERP scraper.
This first option is of course the most difficult. Building a SERP scraper from scratch takes coding and a lot of learning before you can begin. The programming language of choice for most scrapers is Python, which is used with Beautiful Soup.
This is a Python library that you can use to extract data from various markup languages such as HTML or XML. And since you want to extract data from the SERPs but there is no export button, you can use BeautifulSoup and Python to do it.
If those last sentences were gibberish to you, then you’d better stick with buying a SERP scraper. But even if you are familiar with coding and Python, building your SERP scraper from the ground up takes a lot of time and effort.
As you can see, website scraping is difficult enough. Scraping search engines like Google is even more difficult.
The fight against SERP scrapers
Google doesn’t want you to scratch their pages (they understand very well) so they will do everything in their power to stop you. And we all know how powerful Google is.
There are many ways Google is trying to stop your bot. Three of the most commonly encountered techniques are:
This is done to distinguish the difference between a human surfing the internet and a robot. As soon as they realize that your bot is not human, they will see a 403 error to block your bot’s entrance.
Set several restrictions and restrictions on a user’s surfing behavior
The way we humans surf is very different from the way a robot surfs. We slowly read the information on a page before clicking through and often make random, irrational clicks or page exits.
A robot, on the other hand, crawls through a page in an automated and structured manner, and at an incredible speed compared to humans.
For this reason, Google has limited the number of requests a single user can make in a given time. If Google receives too many requests, it will know that it is a bot and as a result process and block the bot.
Each device has a unique Internet Protocol (IP) address. As soon as Google has identified a bot, this IP address is automatically blocked and blacklisted so that no further attempts can be made in the future.
And these are just three of the many different ways Google and other search engines are trying to prevent you from scratching their data.
When creating a SERP scraper, you need to be able to program it to avoid all of these hurdles. This costs time and effort and increases the time you have already invested in your SERP scraper.
So you can see that what seemed like a simple project has now become quite an undertaking. And that’s still just the basics. Scaling your SERP scraper further also requires more time and effort.
Purchase of a SERP scraper
Buying a SERP scraper probably looks a lot more attractive by now, right?
The thing is, while it may seem like a waste to spend money on something you can build yourself, you need to factor in all of the man hours you will need to put in to build, scale, and maintain it yourself.
Your time is money. And unless you’re the fastest coder in the world, there’s a good chance the cost of a SERP stripping tool outweighs the cost of self-management in the long run.