Screaming Frog is a site auditing tool that crawls a given website to generate a report of SEO elements broken up by page.
It’s a must-have for any SEO project, and in my opinion, is one of the best tools on the market.
Big Picture Tracking
The best feature of Screaming Frog is that it gives you a bird’s eye view of any website, and can offer direct insight into what needs fixing. Some of the primary SEO elements it crawls for are:
- Internal and Outbound links per-page
- Keyword elements like Title and Description and their lengths.
- HTTP status codes
- Tracks Meta Robots tag so you can find the noindex, nofollow problems
- Measures file size
- Tracks Page Depth level (how many links from the homepage)
- Custom Source Code Search – find anything you want in the source code of a website
- XML site
Indexes “before” crawl so I can show clients
This is primarily for internal use, but I like that I can have a visual of what I’ve done for a client’s SEO. Screaming Frog lets me run an initial crawl on the site, generate a spreadsheet or report and use that for reference. After I’ve gone through the checklist of all technical elements that need to be addressed, I can run a crawl again, generate the report, and have a tangible deliverable to show the client. I get a nice before and after style visual component that explains what’s going on far better than I ever could.
Finds broken links
Often times, large websites or older websites with out of date pages have many interior links that are broken. Screaming Frog will easily find pages that are generating a 404 error or 301 redirect. This audit allows you to fix the pages, whether they are internal or point to an outside web address. Google penalizes websites with lots of broken out-going links and broken links frustrate visitors.
Finds duplicate content
Duplicate content can hurt your SEO, and Screaming Frog will easily point out where a site has duplicate content in its audit. Search engines don’t know which content to index when they find duplication on the same site, so it can diminish overall link equity and domain authority. I like having a clear picture of such an important SEO element.
Price is right
Screaming frog is free for websites with less than 500 pages, and works on PC, Mac or Linux. If you have site with over 500 pages, you can purchase a license that unlocks all of its features for $99 per year. This pricing seems right to me. They’ve hit the sweet spot in that I feel like I have a little bit of buy-in, so I want to get the most out of the product, but $99 annually is really very affordable.
My only complaint is that when you export reports they are not super pretty, nor are they easily branded, so you have to do a little more work to prepare something professional looking for a client. On a related note, Screaming Frog can look intimidatingly technical when you first encounter its interface, although in practice, it’s quite intuitive.
What do you think? What SEO audit tools do you use?