Will Google ban you for scraping?

Feb 22, 2024 ยท 2 min read

Web scraping, also known as web data extraction, involves automatically collecting data from websites. It can be a useful technique for gathering large volumes of public data from the web, but could violate a website's terms of service if done excessively or without permission.

When it comes to scraping Google, their stance is generally permissive of scraping reasonable volumes of data, but strictly prohibits misuse of their services.

What Type of Scraping Triggers Bans

Google has sophisticated detection systems to identify suspicious levels of traffic and scraping activity. The types of scraping behavior that often provoke Google bans include:

  • Excessive frequency: Sending thousands of scraping requests per minute, per hour or per day is likely to get detected and blocked. Scraping should be throttled to reasonable levels.
  • Complete site downloads: Attempting to recursively scrape or download entire sites is strictly prohibited.
  • Circumventing captchas/blocks: If you encounter captchas or blocks while scraping, you must stop. Employing workarounds could lead to termination of your Google account or API access.
  • Compromising security: Attempting to scrape Google behind a proxy, VPN or Tor will arouse suspicion and likely result in blocks.
  • The key is to scrape respectfully, throttle your requests and stop if you encounter any blocks. As long as you scrape reasonable data volumes from public URLs without attempting to circumvent security measures, bans are unlikely.

    Best Practices for Scraping Google Safely

    When web scraping Google search results or services like Google Maps/News, some best practices include:

  • Use the official APIs where possible instead of scraping web pages directly. Many Google services have generous free API quotas.
  • Rotate different IP addresses rather than scraping from a single IP.
  • Use random delays between requests and limit request frequency.
  • Check for captcha and blocking pages and stop scraping if encountered.
  • By following ethical practices and scraping conservatively, permanent Google bans are usually avoidable. But be sure to consult their terms of service and comply with any restrictions you encounter.

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