Web scraping is a problem that website owners are facing today. As technology continues to grow, cybercriminals are discovering new ways of attacking their targets in search of data.
Web scraping is one of those ways used by cybercriminals to extract data from website owners. They use this information for malicious purposes. For example, they may choose to resell the content they steal from websites. This practice has detrimental effects on website owners, especially those who do business online.
As an online business enterprise, you want to stay ahead of your competitions in order to make more profit. However, when web scrapers are stealing your content, it makes it difficult for you to have a competitive advantage over your competitors.
For you to effectively remain on top of your digital environment, you need to learn how to prevent web scraping. Here are ways you can use to prevent scraping activities against your website.
Monitoring User Accounts
As a website owner, you should maintain the habit of monitoring user accounts. As you already know, website security carries a great deal of significance. According to a 2021 article in the New York Times, if you expose your website to security risks, you’ll end up losing a lot in the long run.
That’s why you should monitor user accounts to check whether the users visiting your site are legitimate or not. These user accounts are used as gateways through which scrapers enter your digital space.
You should watch out for accounts registering high levels of activity but no serious action can be seen. For example, if you notice instances of high activity on user accounts but no record of purchases, this should tell you that you may be having illegitimate visitors on your site. Normally, such a high level of activity should have something to show for it.
Also, if the high visits happen within a very short time, you should also take action against such users. For example, you can go ahead and block the IP address where the user activity is originating from. Scrapers use bots to undertake automated collection of data from websites. They use the automated technique because of its capacity to collect large amounts of data within a short time.
Therefore, you should monitor user accounts, both new and old, for any indications of suspicious activity to prevent web scraping activity.
Tracking your Competitors
Since it’s your competitors who scrap your website for content that might help them to get ahead of you, it’s significant to track their activities. The purpose of tracking them is to make sure that they are not using your content for malicious purposes. If you happen to notice that your competitors have content that matches with yours, the best plan of action is to block any further attempts.
For example, if you find out that a fellow online retailer has the same pricing and marketing strategies as yours, this should tell you that you’re a victim of website scraping. Thus, tracking your competitors acts as a wake-up call for you to put in place better prevention measures.
Set Up Site Terms and Conditions
Another strategy for preventing web scraping is setting up site terms and conditions aimed at stopping the scraping activities. A good example of the website conditions to prevent web scraping is having login details for access. If visitors to your account have to provide login details to gain access, it will make it difficult for scraping bots to collect your data.
Since they are not human visitors, they will find it difficult to provide strong identification requirements to gain entry into your site. Also, illegitimate users won’t be able to enter your site without the required login details. In case you notice any illegitimate activity happening on your site, you’ll be able to track the login pattern and history to identify the origin of the breach.
This should give you enough reasons to take further preventive measures.
Take Advantage of Honeypot Traps
Honeypot traps are a viable way of catching non-human scraping activities. Both humans and non-humans can be involved in scraping activities. Scraper bots cause massive problems for website owners because of their ability to collect large amounts of data within a short time.
This deems it necessary for you to put measures specifically targeting scraping bots. This is where honeypot traps come in. These traps disguise themselves as legitimate pages of your site for the purpose of identifying bots.
Human users cannot visit these pages because they are merely decoys. However, scraping bots interact with these pages without knowing that they are not real website pages.
Once you notice activity in the honeypot pages, you straight away know that there are bots invading your site. The best step to take after noticing bots in your system is to block them to prevent further damage and stealing of information.
Employ Behavior Analysis Technology on your Site
There are technologies that help to detect scraping activities initiated by bots. Website security has grown tremendously to employ software that conducts analysis. The behavioral analysis technology goes a long way to identify bots and block them from collecting website information. There are good bots and bad bots that will gain entry into your site.
Though good bots are welcome, bad bots can not only interfere with your site’s operations, but also expose your content to the wrong people. That’s why it’s important to use behavior analysis technology to detect bad bots early enough. Early detection goes a long way to prevent future bot invasions.
The internet presents amazing opportunities for online brands, but web scraping is a worry for most of them. Content is gold in today’s day and age, and that’s why scrapers are engaging in scraping activities to have an unfair advantage over their competitors.
Thankfully, there are strategies you can put in place to prevent scraping activities from affecting your content. Yes, your content can be safe from scrapers. All you need to do is to understand how scraping works and then use the most effective ways of preventing scrapers from your site. It’s possible to protect your content and remain on top of your online space.