The term scraping is somewhat misleading and can cause people to think of a process that is used by certain less reputable firms to steal work created by others.
But the truth is that scraping can be used in a positive way for your site and business based on how, when, and where it is used.
The idea of scraping is that you can use content that has already been developed by another website owner and use it on your site.
The scraping technique that has gained a lot of negative publicity is to cut and paste information from another person’s site and paste it on your page without giving credit to the author or telling visitors where the information came from.
This is essentially the same as academic plagiarism and can lead to a number of problems, both ethically and legally. This technique is a bad idea and you shouldn’t use it, ever.
A better way to use content scraping on your site is to utilize RSS feeds, which you can publish on your site as long as you give credit to the original author and website.
The benefit of this method of scraping is that you are following all the website rules and etiquette, getting fresh content for your site, and although you are giving credit to the original author and site, viewers don’t have much reason to leave your site after they have read the content.
A final method involves scraping content (usually videos and pictures) and using it on your page by embedding it, sometimes giving credit to the original author and site and sometimes not, depending on how the content is embedded.
Some people worry about whether scraping is legal, or if it will expose them to potential litigation.
The answer depends on how you do it. For example, the method of scraping a video from YouTube is perfectly legal and is done all the time.
You simply embed a video using the tool on the site, the video is run on YouTube servers and contains their ads, but you get to show the video to your users.
The same is true with RSS feeds, as long as they are made publicly available in hopes of having it syndicated.
If you are unsure whether the RSS feed publisher would want you to post it, you can keep yourself safe by simply asking the owner if you can publish it.
Having fresh, relevant, interesting content for your site is so important, scraping done properly is a great way to get the content you need without spending a fortune.
The key is to avoid filling your page entirely with scraped content because major search providers will catch on to this and likely penalize you for it.
However, mixing up your site with content from other pages is a great way to ensure that you have all the content you need to keep your site interesting to viewers.
When done right, content scraping will bring additional viewers to your page and help improve search engine rankings.