Are you new to the world of SEO?
Heard of SEO but overwhelmed by the amount of information available?
Perhaps you’ve just launched your website and aren’t sure where to begin?
We totally get it. SEO is a complete minefield of ever-changing rules, tactics and updates, and if you’ve never done it before it can seem scary. Hopefully, you know someone experienced who can help you out or at least point you in the right direction. If you aren’t this lucky, there’s no need to panic just yet.
There are thousands of online resources, blog posts and tools to help guide you in the right direction. But which blog posts have the right answers? Which tools are the best for SEO? We’ve written a separate blog post about the best free tools for starting out with SEO, but for now, we will be discussing why Screaming Frog SEO spider is one of our personal favourites!
What is Screaming Frog SEO spider?
Screaming Frog’s SEO spider is a free tool that can be used to crawl and audit a website’s technical and on-site SEO. It is called a spider as it uses the same technology as search engines use to crawl websites. This makes it a great tool to generate a view of your site from the perspective of search engines.
Although there is a paid version, the free tool can be used for small and large websites, up to 500 URLs. Chances are, (unless you’re an e-commerce site) when you startup, you are likely to fit comfortably into the free version.
Note that the tool isn’t restricted to only crawling your website, but you can use it to crawl your competitor sites as well. Crawling as many sites as you like, up to 500 URLs on the free version.
What can I do with it?
Their Spider SEO tool has a number of different functions and can be used for a huge variety of tasks across both the free and paid versions.
With the free version, you can:
Analyse Page Titles and Meta Data – Screaming Frog identifies any missing or duplicate titles and meta descriptions. It also shows which ones are too long or too short so you can improve them.
Image Data – The crawl will identify images with no links, or missing alt attributes and alt text that is too long.
Highlight duplicate content – The audit analyses any particularly duplicate meta data, titles, headings and low content pages. The algorithm used also checks for direct duplicate URLs where you may need to use Canonical Tags.
Discover broken links – Find any 404 pages from broken links and server errors so that you can fix or replace them.
Redirects – The audit shows any permanent and temporary redirects in place. This helps to identify any chains or loops which need correcting.
Check Robots and Directives – Screaming frog brings back any URLs blocked by robots.txt, meta robots or X-Robots-Tag such as “noidex” or “nofollow”. This audit also any canonical tags and and hreflang attributes such as, rel=“next” and rel=“prev”.
Generate XML Sitemaps – Screaming frog can generate a XML sitemap and Image XML sitemaps from the crawled website. This can be used to submit to Google and ensure that any blocked URLs are not included in the sitemap.
Site Visualisation – In addition to a sitemap, the audit also generates a site visual using directory force-directed diagrams, tree graph and interactive crawl. You can then evaluate internal linking, URL structure and navigation of your site.
And you can do all of this with the paid version, PLUS:
Unlimited URLs – The free version of screaming frog allows crawling of up to 500 URLs but the paid version can crawl an unlimited number of URLs, depending on storage.
Google Integration – Screaming Frog is able to integrate with Google Analytics, Search Console and Page Speed Insights. This helps collect more information and greater insight using user and performance data.
Store Crawls – You can save audits within the database where you can rename, organise into project folders, duplicate, export or delete your audits.
Schedule Crawls – With Screaming Frog Pro, you can schedule regular crawls daily, weekly, or monthly and export all the data to review.
Crawl Configuration – You can configure your crawls to your specific needs.
Why is this Beneficial for Start-ups?
Whether you opt for the paid or the free version, the tool is incredibly useful for start-up businesses. The audit provides such a variety and in depth information to take from and improve your website.
Website health and efficiency as screaming frog finds bad redirects and link errors that you may need to correct and replace. This ensures your website maintains healthy links and that all pages are functioning correctly.
Along with correct redirects and links, the site visualisation provided by Screaming Frog allows you to analyse your navigation. Then you can improve and ensure all pages are linked effectively for users and crawlers.
Improve SEO Friendliness by highlighting the page titles and meta data. This means you can improve any that are too short or long, ensure you use the keywords for the page and also preview them as SERPs. Additionally, you can identify pages with thin content and update them to add further value.
Your websites Page Speed is another SEO metric that is analysed by screaming frog. The audit provides a list of slowest responding pages which you can then focus on an optimise for faster loading speeds.
Competitor analysis is great for small businesses to compete effectively. The broken links feature can be very helpful in competitor analysis. This allows you to see their broken links and offer replacements from your website also. Additionally, you can analyse the outbound links your competitor uses as well as internal links and the anchor text used.
Where can I get it?
Firstly, head to Screaming Frog to download the software, ensure you are downloading the correct software for your operating system. You also need a minimum 4gb of RAM to run the software.
This download method makes it very easy to get the Screaming Frog Spider and installation is simple.
Screaming Frog is an excellent resource for any online business, big and small. This is due to the extremely in depth information it provides and thorough crawl. Use the information wisely to improve your website consistently and also monitor your competition.
Investing in the pro version of Screaming Frog can be an excellent move to continuously monitor and analyse the health of your website. Additionally, the Screaming Frog Spider can identify SEO issues on your website in titles, meta descriptions, image alt attributes, and subheadings.
This tool is an excellent addition to your SEO strategy and improving the user experience of your website. Therefore, you can use the information to improve your website for both visitors and search engines!
Get started with the Screaming Frog Spider and start improving your website now!