A web crawler systematically browses the web in search of data. This program helps search engines index web content. Simply put, web crawlers ensure the easy gathering and arrangement of data on the net. And as such, SEOs have found crawlers helpful when analyzing a site.
It wouldn't be an understatement to say that web crawlers have had a tremendous impact on the web as we have it today. It is no wonder that the number of web crawlers out there increases as the day passes. Screaming Frog's SEO spider tool is one of such web crawlers.
Screaming Frog’s spider is a popularly known crawler that saw its foundation in 2010 by Dan Sharp. Now, it boasts of being one of the best crawlers out there. But does it compare with the likes of DeepCrawl, 80legs, and Scrapy? This article gives an overview of Screaming Frog in 2023.
How Screaming Frog works
The SEO spider is a very powerful web crawler. Its intensive crawling provides users with accurate data about a website. In turn, the data provided helps users make well-informed choices about the site.
To see this through, the SEO spider offer tons of impressive features. Here's how the spider tool works.
Identifies duplicate content. A duplicated content dampens the SEO ranking of your site. To avoid this, the spider tool runs an MD5 check. This identifies any duplicated URLs. Additionally, it helps to find any partially duplicated contents such as headings and page titles.
Discovers broken links. Broken links lead to a poor user experience leaving visitors frustrated. If left unchecked, a website with a broken link is most likely to have increasing bounce rates. This gives it a bad reputation and reduces its ranking on search engine result pages. What's more, such a site may even get shut down. Hence, it is important to quickly identify, fix or dispose of any broken links as well as server errors. Screaming Frog allows you to do just so.
After crawling, the spider tool gives you detailed feedback of any 404 as well as server errors. Additionally, it will provide you with full details on the broken URLs.
Reviews redirects. Redirects are not a bad thing. That said, being redirected to another site is frustrating at times. Too many redirects are bound to affect your site's SEO adversely.
Screaming Frog’s spider runs a check to find any temporary and permanent redirect around the site. It also identifies any loops present on your website. With the data provided, you can ensure things run smoothly on your website.
Analyzes page titles as well as metadata. Your page title must be top-notch to get a high ranking on search engines. Similarly, meta descriptions should meet all requirements for a good SERP (Search Engine Result Page) performance. And this is because they summarize the content of the page. Also, search engines use meta descriptions and page titles as the basic HTML element.
Screaming frog helps to analyze your meta descriptions and page titles. It identified those that are too short, long, and missing. Additionally, the spider tool reports on any page titles and descriptions that are duplicated around your website.
Runs a check on directives and robots. Robots are vital tools to inform search engines whether or not a site requires crawling. Screaming Frog helps in checking any URL blocked by certain commands. Examples of such commands are robots.txt, X-Robots, and meta robots. The spider tool will search for such cases whilst returning directives such as ‘nofollow’.
How to get started with Screaming Frog
As seen above, Screaming Frog's spider tool offers a wide variety of uses. Once implemented, you are sure to greatly increase your SEO. However, it is easier said than done. To achieve all these benefits, you need to first implement this tool. Here's how to get started with screaming frog.
Download, then install the spider tool. Before you begin using the spider tool, you'll need to first download and install it on your device. As a result, Screaming Frog is available on various operating systems including Windows and macOS.
Purchase and activate your license. The free version of the spider tool allows users to crawl up to 500 URLs. But, if you want to break that limit, you should opt for the paid version. To do so, purchase your license and follow the prompts. To activate the premium version, the application may need to restart. You will then have access to tons of impressive premium features.
Start crawling. The spider tool is famous for its ability to crawl websites while providing a well-detailed report to users. With Screaming Frog's spider, there are two main crawling modes. You can choose to opt for the 'list' mode. Here, you can upload different URLs you want to crawl. On the other hand, the regular 'spider' mode enables you to crawl a whole website. You can do this by entering a link in the 'enter URL to spider' space bar. Afterward, click on 'start'. The spider tool will crawl the website that links to the URL you inserted. Screaming Frog allows you to pause and resume the crawl at any time. And with the premium version, you can save and re-upload your crawl at a later time.
View the report. Data discovered after crawling a website are displayed on the 'internal tab'. Depending on the situation, you will be capable of identifying broken links, 404s, server errors, and much more.
The Screaming Frog SEO spider is available for free. Its free version grants users access to most of its basic functions such as reviewing duplicate content. However, its premium version offers much more. It enables users to save and re-upload a crawl, check spelling and grammar errors. It even provides free technical support to users.
A license costs £149.00 per annum. However, Screaming Frog offers discounts when you purchase multiple licenses at a time. For 5-9 licenses, Screaming Frog offers £139 per license. And £129 per license when purchasing over 20 licenses at once.
It has a user-friendly interface.
It provides users with a detailed report.
Diagonizes technical errors.
Some users run out of memory when crawling large websites, thereby slowing down their application.
It has a slightly dense interface.
The increasing use of web facilities correlates with the development of more websites. And this further leads to more web crawling activities. After all, web crawlers are a great help to a site's SEO. They are the ideal tool for reviewing a website.
Screaming Frog's spider tool remains dominant in the web crawling application space. It’s functionalities, performance, usage, and pricing keeps it competitive when compared to its peers. While many of its numerous advantages are accessible with the premium version, its free version gives users access to all its basic functions, which performs decently. And what's more, purchasing a premium license is very much affordable. Whether you are an SEO newbie or an expert, and in need of a world-class web crawler, Screaming Frog may be just right for you.