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What is and why do I need Screaming Frog?  What is and why do I need Screaming Frog?

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The right tools can greatly facilitate a SEO audit. One of these tools is the Screaming Frog SEO spider Spider. It can be used to review a web site and identify gaps that impact your performance in the search engines. In this tutorial, we present the most important characteristics.

What is Screaming Frog?

Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a small desktop application that can be installed on your PC, Mac or Linux. This tool keeps track of links, images, CSS, etc., of a web site from an SEO perspective; Basically you said what a spider's search would be to the track a website.

This information allows you to quickly analyze, inspect and review a site from an SEO perspective. This tool can save you a ton of work, manually scan each page of a large site can be very difficult.

1. Download and install

I'll explain some of the commonly used features of the Screaming Frog SEO spider through a small case study. It be great if you could come with me, so you start by downloading the tool here: http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/.


It is available for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu and is totally free, but limited to track 500 URI completely under free license. Buy a license will allow you to track more URI's (very suitable if you are analyzing a large site), as well as other additional options.

2. Track a website

Ready to scan your first web site? Go ahead! I'm going to use the site from Gero Meubelen Wonen as an example, but you can follow me using your own domain.

First insert a URL in Spider. Paste the domain root in the box and press the Start button.

If you want to track additional subdomains (for example, a blog at the URL blog.website.com), it is necessary to check the Crawl All Subdomains under Configuration->Spider.

Depending on the size of your web site, the tracking process can take a couple of minutes. Check the progress bar on the top right corner for when you are ready. Since then, it is possible to analyze the result.

3. Check response codes

In my case, I usually start by taking a look at the status HTTP Response Codes tab codes. The most important HTTP status codes are:

200: OK
301: permanent redirection
302: redirect Temporal
404: Not found
500: error from the server
503: not available

Start by checking all the redirects (301 and 302) and verify that you have used the correct version. Remember that the 301 are permanent redirects, so it passed authority to the new page. This is not the case in the 302 redirects.

Then we can take a look at the 404 errors. They appear when you try to visit a page that does not exist - either because it has been deleted or renamed (without redirect to a new URL). Resolve these errors by implementing a 301 redirect to a relevant page.

Note: Remember to check against the tracking errors in Google Webmaster Tools report.

On this page you can also search broken internal links. Click on a URL with a 4xx or 5xx status code and take a look at the tab In Links in the bottom window. Here you can see a list of all pages that link to the broken URL.

4. URLs

In our series SEO mentioned the importance of a good URL structure. With the tool Screaming Frog SEO Spider can analyze all URLs from a web site through the URL tab.

Start by checking the length of each URL sorting column. See if you can detect any that is abnormally long. Remember that an ideal URL is short (preferably only four to five words) and descriptive (e.g., website.com/seo-tutorial instead of website.com/p5145).

Don't forget to take a look at the filters to search for characters which are not ASCII, and URLs with an underscore, with capital letters, duplicate or dynamic. These elements may cause indexing problems, so the best is to solve them as soon as possible.

5. Page titles

Then we can take a look at the titles of the pages. Each page should have a unique title, and the more important the page keyword should be used at the beginning. As you can see from this analysis, our website uses the same title on every page. This is something that needs to be corrected as soon as possible.

Remember that a title must not exceed 60 characters. Although this is still a useful indicator, the Title 1 Pixel Width column should look. As its name suggests, this measures the length of his titles by the number of pixels instead of characters. Google cuts the titles with more than 512 pixels. Certain letters and numbers take up more space than others (for example, vs W I), so that a title that is shorter than 60 characters still could be too long.

6. Meta description

The meta description is used in the results pages of search under the title of the page engines. The best is to keep them under 160 characters. Longer descriptions will be cropped.

In our analysis, we see that the meta description 1 field is empty, suggesting there is no meta descriptions for this web site. This means that we need to add a meta description for each page.

Screaming Frog has a new very useful feature that allows you to simulate a fragment of search and analyze it. Simply click on a URL and select the tab SERP snippet at the bottom of the screen. Change the title and meta description and see how it is displayed on a laptop, Smartphone or tablet.

7. Images

Page speed is important, not only for the users of mobile phones, but also for the search engines. Google has informed that it will take the page speed into consideration to classify web pages. One of the things that can slow a page are images. The high resolution images can occupy up to a large amount of bandwidth, so the best is to keep them under 100 kb.

Through the filter images over 100 kb can easily export images that are too big. Don't forget to take a look at the alt-text also. Make sure that each image has a unique and descriptive alternative text.

Suggestion: Can see the speed of each page in the tab response codes under response time. Check pages that stand out and use a tool like Yslow or PageSpeed Insightspara learn more about load times.

8. Directives

Tab Directives you can see information about the tag meta robots, canonical links and annotations rel = next / prev. Use one of the filters to quickly see all the pages with some kind of directive. As you can see; This report for Wonen Gero Meubelen is empty, which means that we have to apply the appropriate labels as needed.

9. XML site map

You can use Screaming Frog SEO Spider to generate an XML site map. This type of site map is used by search engines to check if all the relevant content was found. It is a road map that helps to track your web site.

You will find this feature in the bar of navigation superior in Sitemaps->Create XML Sitemap. Once the file has been created, you can manually change the priority and change frequency tracking of certain pages.

Conclusion

With Screaming Frog SEO Spider can scan several items on your website, such as page titles, the meta descriptions, structure of the parallel, codes of response, images, etc. It is a great tool to help optimize a website and increase your performance in the search engines of pages. In addition; It is completely free, so it should be a mandatory item in the Toolbox of every web designer!





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