Scrape Web Pages with YQL and Apps Script

Some web services, Google Search and Amazon Prices for example, may not offer APIs or, if they do, not every detail available on the website pages may be available through the API. In such cases, you can use web scraping with YQL (Yahoo Query Language) and Google Scripts to extract any data from their web pages.

You need to specify the URL of the page that you wish to scrape and also the XPath of the element that should be extracted. If you are not familiar with XPath, use the Chrome Dev Tools to inspect the element, right click the node in the DOM tree and choose Copy XPath to know the XPath (see screenshot).


In the snippet below, we are fetching the home page of the New York Times technology section as a JSON though YQL and the results are parsed with Google Apps Scripts.

   Paste it in Google Script Editor and choose Run -> Scrape Web

function scrapeTheWeb() {
  // The URL of the page to scrape
  var url = '';

  // The XPATH for the data to extract
  var xpath = '//div[@class="story"]//h3/a';

  // Contruct a YQL URL
  var query = "select * from html where url = '" + url + "' and xpath = '" + xpath + "'";

  // Notice that we request the data in JSON format
  var yql = '' + encodeURIComponent(query);

  var response = UrlFetchApp.fetch(yql);

  // Parse the JSON response from YQL
  var json = JSON.parse(response.getContentText());

  var urls = json.query.results.a;

  for (var url in urls) {
    // Output the scrapped URLs and titles
    Logger.log(urls[url].content + ' - ' + urls[url].href);
Amit Agarwal

Amit Agarwal

Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion

Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.

Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory


Awards & Titles

Digital Inspiration has won several awards since it's launch in 2004.

Google Developer Expert

Google Developer Expert

Google awarded us the Google Developer Expert award recogizing our work in Google Workspace.

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

ProductHunt Golden Kitty

Our Gmail tool won the Lifehack of the Year award at ProductHunt Golden Kitty Awards in 2017.

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft MVP Alumni

Microsoft awarded us the Most Valuable Professional (MVP) title for 5 years in a row.

Google Cloud Champion

Google Cloud Champion

Google awarded us the Champion Innovator title recognizing our technical skill and expertise.

Email Newsletter

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date.

We will never send any spam emails. Promise.