Due to the ever-changing world of SEO, there comes a time when you have to go through your website to ensure it meets best practices according to Google. While you could simply go through every single page of your site to do a SEO audit, it’s not feasible for those who have websites with hundreds or even thousands of pages and posts. For these websites, it’s best to use a tool called Screaming Frog.
About Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog can easily be downloaded by going to ScreamingFrog.co.uk. It’s a free download and can be used to analyze up to 500 URLs at no charge.
Once you download and install the program,open it up and type in your website’s URL. The program will then go through your entire site and give you results for the most important parts of your website.
How Screaming Frog Can Help You Improve SEO
Here are just a handful of the ways that we use Screaming Frog when conducting SEO tune-ups.
Check for Indexing Issues
First and foremost, you should check to make sure that your pages are getting properly indexed by Google. If your webpages aren’t getting indexed, then you’ll have serious problems ranking in Google.
Screaming Frog can show you which pages may be blocked from search engines due to robots.txt and “nofollow” tags.
Here’s where to look:
- Response Codes > Blocked by Robots.txt
- Directives > Noindex
Double-check that you actually want those pages blocked from Google, and if you want them indexed, then adjust your settings so Google can index those pages properly.
Check for Canonicalization Issues
With SEO, it’s best to ensure that each page of your website only loads in one location. For example, you want pages to only load with or without “www” (not both) and with https:// or http:// (but not both).
When you review a scan of all of your pages on Screaming Frog, you’ll be able to see whether any of your pages are loading a more than one location, so you can address those issues.
Scan for Broken Links
People hate landing on a non-existent page, and so does Google. Screaming Frog will identify all of the broken links on your site, so you can correct them.
Some of you who are familiar with Google Search Console will argue that you can see 404s there, but the problem is that can produce false positives. In other words, it will tell you that there’s a broken link when it is not one. This wastes your time.
Screaming Frog gets it right every time, which is why it’s the best tool for a SEO tune up.
Here’s what to check:
- Response Codes -> Client Error (4xx).
You can then click on “Inlinks” to see which pages on your site are linking to these non-existent pages. It’s best to correct as many broken links as you can, but if there’s no good replacement for any broken link, then set up 301 redirects to the most relevant page you can find.
Optimize Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Headers
One of the most valuable aspects of Screaming Frog is how it scans all of your title tags, meta descriptions and headers (H1, H2, etc.)
Not only does it tell you what the title tag and meta description is, but it also tells you how many characters each one is, so you can make sure they aren’t too long.
Just as important, you can scan to see which pages have duplicate title tags, duplicate or missing meta descriptions, and missing, duplicate or multiple header tags.
Here are some issues to check:
- Page Titles -> Over 65 Characters
- Page Titles -> Duplicate
- Meta Descriptions -> Missing
- Meta Descriptions -> Duplicate
- H1 > Missing
- H1 > Duplicate
- H1 > Multiple
This information can be downloaded into a spreadsheet so you can document edits and then implement them on your website.
Start a SEO Tune Up with Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is a simple yet powerful program to use for optimizing a website. It may take some time to get used to it, but once you do, you’ll love all of the information you can gather from it. Information such as the quality of your content, meta descriptions, and title tags, your site’s broken links, server requests, redirect chains and internal link structure could take you hours to analyze if you did it manually. Screaming Frog does it in a matter of seconds.
Download Screaming Frog now and take it a on test drive.