Digital marketers need to understand all kinds of increasingly complex tools to maximize their visibility online. We’re here to offer you a comprehensive guide on how to use SERP APIs to your advantage. Read on to learn more about SERP tracking and web scraping.
Table of Contents
What is SERP
SERP stands for Search Engine Results Pages. It’s the page you see every time you run a search on Google (the results page of any search engine if you don’t use Google). More than 90% of consumer traffic goes to websites that rank on the first page of Google search results.
Knowing why and how those results come up on page one of results is vital for getting your web page or business to come out on top.
There are a few ways to understand the results page. You can enter information manually and see what comes up. Simply enter keywords important to your webpage and analyze what all of the results have in common. This can work for some people.
Depending on the scope of your project, you’ll likely want to make use of SERP APIs. You can do this manually by building your own. Or you can purchase your own SERP tracking software for more in-depth information like what local SERPs look like around the world.
It will help to understand what you’re looking at to make the right choice.
Web scraping is simply extracting data from the web. If you want to cull through search engine results pages for information like keywords, related results, etc., then you’re not going to want to do that manually.
With web scraping, you can look for data on your competitors and your own client’s sites. You can find which keywords drive traffic to a website, which pages and what content is attracting the most backlinks, what local data looks like, and what pages are engaging users the most. Once you’ve “scraped” it all together, you can analyze it.
Web Scraping with Python
Python is a powerful and flexible programming language increasingly used in data analysis. Once you’ve set up your Python environment, you can begin web scraping with Python. To see these principles applied, it is suggested that you look at resources such as Python web scraping tutorials.
They use the example of Reddit’s homepage and use selenium to search and scrape the headings of the results. Following along with this tutorial will help you understand how to use and analyze the data you’ve put together.
What is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. Every time you use a URL to visit a page on the internet, your computer is interacting with a remote server’s API. Don’t confuse an API for an actual server.
The API is only one part of the server. It’s the part that “talks” by receiving requests and sending responses. This is how your apps talk to each other. The API is the thing that lets you interact with data online.
Most modern websites use third-party APIs. If you’re online, you’ve used one today. Did you visit a website? Check the weather on your phone? The data returned was done so with an API.
How to Build an API
It can be challenging to understand how APIs work. Code Capsule offers a comprehensive guide on how to build an API. They show how to set up your environment, interact with APIs, how to use API endpoints, and how to create and host an API with Flask and Code Capsules.
In Code Capsule’s tutorial, you’ll learn to create a personal API with Python (using Flask). Their API tutorial uses data from the real WeatherStack and OpenExchangeRates APIs to give you up-to-the-minute temperatures of a given city and USD exchange rate. By the end, you should fully understand how it’s helpful to integrate an API into your site.
If you follow Code Capsule’s guide, you’ll have a better understanding of APIs and know how to apply one to your own needs.
Putting it All Together
In the case of a SERP API, you’re using the API to extract, scrape, and make sense of answer boxes of several kinds. The SERP API takes in variables related to geographic location, search term, search type (web, image, etc.), and more to be scraped through the SERP API.
When the API completes the task, it helps you look through information that’s relevant to you.
Popular SERP Tracking Software
You’ll see from the list below that implementing SERP APIs usually requires some basic knowledge of code and what it looks like. Even if you aren’t a tech wiz, that should no longer be a problem.
Now that you know how it works, you can confidently choose the right SERP tracking software for your needs. You can use a SERP API to automate the data gathering process and analyze your results. We’ve compiled our top five choices here:
Serpstack offers real-time and accurate Google search results. It is built on JSON REST API so it is highly flexible and pairs well with every programming language out there.
You should consider Zenserp if you’re looking for speed. It makes scraping Google search results simple. You can easily integrate this solution via browser, CURL, Python, Node.js, or PHP.
SERPMaster is known as the lowest cost Google SERP scraper. They boast guaranteed data delivery for each request sent. SERPMaster gives code examples for cURL, Python, PHP, and Node.js integrations. It also shows how to make requests from your web browser. This makes getting started with their API easy.
Depending on your needs, SerpWow is a good choice for reliable SERP data. It lets you scrape multiple search engines (some are google-specific). It also allows you to scrape desktop, mobile, and tablet results.
SerpAPI is used by companies like Harvard University and IBM. SerpAPI has advanced features that can make scraping SERPs a breeze. At $50 per month, it’s one of the pricier ones around but potentially worth it for the insights you can gain for your business.
SERP tracking, web scraping, and APIs let you use the vast amounts of information on the internet to your advantage. Understanding how to use, customize, and even create your own will majorly improve your digital game.