Crawling the Infinite Web: Five Levels Are Enough
A large amount of publicly available Web pages are generated dynamically upon request, and contain links to other dynamically generated pages. This usually produces Web sites which can create arbitrarily many pages. In this article, several probabilistic models for browsing “infinite” Web sites are proposed and studied. We use these models to estimate how deep a crawler must go to download a significant portion of the Web site content that is actually visited. The proposed models are validated against real data on page views in several Web sites, showing that, in both theory and practice, a crawler needs to download just a few levels, no more than 3 to 5 “clicks” away from the start page, to reach 90% of the pages that users actually visit.
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