How to Use Web Scraping in Google Sheets?

How to Use Web Scraping in Google Sheets?

Can you use Google Sheets to extract metadata? Learn how to easily import basic structured data into Google Sheets without using advanced tools!

Every SEO professional, or simply someone wishing to increase their website positions in the search results has probably been looking for an effective way to obtain specific information about the page.

This information usually includes titles, meta descriptions, or H1 headers.

Until now, the process involved using specialized tools created for this purpose or simply scrutinizing the page code with the use of a programming tool available within the browser. However, recently it turned out that Google Sheets are a great solution for those who would like to automatically obtain the data but don’t have time to learn web development.

Let’s see how to use web scraping in Google Sheets!

What is IMPORTXML?

IMPORTXML is functionality provided within Google Sheets that can be used to extract particular pieces of website data. Google Support states that the feature gives users the ability to import various types of structured data, such as:

  • XML
  • HTML
  • CSV
  • TSV
  • RSS
  • ATOM XML

In a nutshell, using the IMPORTXML function will allow you to retrieve any structured data from selected web pages, even if you don’t know programming languages!

How to Use This Functionality to Obtain Data?

Using the function itself is very simple, you just need to provide two values. The first one is an exact link to a page from which you want to extract data. The second one is a query, which determines what type of data should be extracted. Just take a look at the following example:

=IMPORTXML(“https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon_landing”, “//title”)

The functionality distinguishes between various types of data that can be extracted, however, the most common pieces include:

SEO Title – For this, you need to type:  //title

Meta description of a given subpage – //meta[@name=’description’]/@content

H1 headers on the page – to retrieve them, use the query: //h1

Links on the page – to retrieve them, use the query:  //@href

how to use web scraping in google sheets example

Proper use of IMPORTXML in a tool such as Google Sheets can help you reduce the amount of work that has to be done manually, as it automates many tasks.

It’s worth noting that the data is downloaded in real-time, so when any of the elements on the page changes, the spreadsheet is also modified, and you see updated information. The functionality is much more complex, but today we decided to mention only its most popular features.

Thanks to a properly prepared spreadsheet with the functionality and other formulas you can create a specialist tool, even if you don’t know programming languages such as Python.

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Delante is an online marketing agency specialized in generating website traffic from search engines and paid ads (SEO / SEM). Over 80% of our clients are from rapidly growing e-commerce industry.

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