Google SERP 101: A Complete Guide to Google Search Result Scraping

Umut Gokbayrak
Umut Gokbayrak 08 October 2020
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Scraping may be a new concept for your business or personal projects but it’s been in use for a while by digital marketers, data analysts and IT professionals. Let’s set the scene with the basics first.

You may need to monitor your website ranking performance over time for any reason or analyze your Google Ads against a set of keywords. Maybe you want to compare your website to your competitors’ and see what they're doing right now.

Whatever the reason, the process needs to be quick, easy, and automated. The best way to do that is through Google search result scraping.

Google SERP

Here we examine the concept of scraping and how a simple API can make the process even easier for you.

What Is Website Scraping?

Website scraping is a way to extract or copy data from a web page. Like the 'view source' option in a browser, your script visits the website and copies the HTML. Most server-side languages can screen scrape and work with the results by parsing them into meaningful data. From there, you can use the scraped data as you wish.

Google Search Results Scraping

Why Do You Scrape Google Search Results?

Google is the market leader of search engines.

If you don’t appear on page one on Google search results, your business is undiscoverable to the world. We see businesses live and die by Google's ranking results.

Developers and analysts monitor the information from Google search for a variety of reasons including:

  • Tracking SERPs rankings week by week
  • Checking that PPC ads appear for the chosen keywords
  • Building URL lists for internal web crawlers etc.

However, Google offers no simple interface - yet - to extract data from its search pages. That's why scraping is necessary to download results.

How to Scrape Google Search Results

There are two ways to scrape and dissect Google search results: the hard way and the easy way.

The hard way involves writing a code to:

  1. The hard way involves writing a code to:
  2. Use Selenium or a similar framework to initiate a headless browser instance
  3. Write script that triggers the query and wait for the results to come
  4. Deal with Google's search parameters such as uule, shopping and such.
  5. Simulate a mobile browser by modifying the User-Agent and the screen size if you wish to fetch the mobile search results.
  6. Get an IP address from that country/region via a proxy server or VPN if you need to fetch the results from other countries and (maybe cities)
  7. Deal with captchas and IP rate limit restrictions. Google's antibot prevention system is top-notch. In order to do this, you'll need rotating proxies which are quite expensive. For a moderate size Google SERP Scraper, you'll need at least 1000 IP addresses.

Also,

  • If you've got everything set, parsing the results with Selenium might seem as an easy task.
  • If you are using Python (as we do), BeautifulSoup is a perfect library that will help you deal with Scraping the results page.

Pretty scary, isn't it! A task such as this one, shouldn't be dealing with thousands of rotating IP addresses all around and the world.

Don't worry. We've got good news. The easy way - that we highly recommend - is to use an API and let someone else worry about how it works.

Google Search

Fast and Simple with Google Search Results API

Google Search Results API is a dedicated tool that splits organic content from ads and related queries. It fetches the data and separates it into manageable JSON.

It's simple to see how organic listings rank for any given keywords. It also shows Ads information along with shopping and related queries results.

The API is highly versatile in giving input options such as:

  • Location
  • Browser type
  • Google domain
  • Pagination
  • Fetch Ads
  • Fetch Shopping
  • Safe browsing option

and more... The best and most effective way to access the data seems through a RESTful API. Besides, JSON is highly versatile and works on all platforms.

TLDR

We tried to show some simple yet powerful ways to achieve Google search result scraping. Try it out for free and see how easy it is to use. You can always consider other subscription options which lift all restrictions for a complete freedom to access Google search.

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Umut Gokbayrak
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Umut Gokbayrak

I turn ideas into software products