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Explore our Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) Toolkit

A Xenu Alternative… Or just a better tool?!

Our review of SEO Spider from Screaming Frog

Hi! In this post I wanted to introduce you to a great new tool for SEO specialists and web content managers.  My fellow Smart Insights commentator Dan Barker introduced me to this and recommends it. It's a tool that has really built on the features available in the Xenu Link Sleuth and taken them to a new level for people involved with Search Engine Optimisation.

Those familiar with Xenu will know how difficult it is to find similar software, especially if like me you use a Macbook. If you don't know Xenu, there's an excellent review by Tom Critchlow of how to use Xenu for SEO. So, onto my review...

Introducing - Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Key differences to Xenu

  • Mac friendly 🙂
  • The tool really makes use of the crawl data to give you relevant on-site optimisation advice & alerts - problems you need to look into
  • The software overlays SEO insights to provide users with "site errors", for example Page titles that are too long
  • The interface allows easy flicking between different SEO factors relating to the site crawl
  • Alerts you to pages with problems with missing headings or which are potential duplicate content (Google Webmaster Tools only does this via titles and meta descriptions).

The best way to understand this product is to checkout their product overview video below or visit their website.

Outline of Screaming Frog SEO Spider

Key Features

Here's a quick summary of some of the data collected -

  • Errors – Client & server errors (4XX, 5XX)
  • Redirects – (3XX, permanent or temporary)
  • Duplicate Pages – Hash value / MD5checksums lookup for pages with duplicate content
  • Page Title – Missing, duplicate, over 70 characters, same as h1, multiple
  • Meta Description – Missing, duplicate, over 156 characters, multiple
  • Meta Keyword – Mainly for reference as it’s only (barely) used by Yahoo the last time I checked. Missing, duplicate, multiple
  • H1 – Missing, duplicate, over 70 characters, multiple
  • H2 – Missing, duplicate, over 70 characters, multiple
  • Meta Robots – Index, noindex, follow, nofollow, noarchive, nosnippet, noodp, noydir etc
  • Meta Refresh – Including target page and time delay
  • Canonical link element
  • Page depth level
  • Inlinks – All pages linking to a URI
  • Outlinks – All pages a URI links out to
  • Anchor Text – All link text. Alt text from images with links
  • Follow & Nofollow – At link level (true/false)
  • Images – All URIs with the image link & all images from a given page. Images over 100kb, missing alt text, alt text over 100 characters

* Video & features from Scream Frog website

By Chris Soames

Chris Soames is a Smart Insights blogger and consultant, he has worked in digital marketing for over 6 years with the last few years managing international web strategies for a leading travel brand. Now the Commercial Director at First 10, an Integrated marketing agency, he helps clients get clarity on their marketing strategy and create campaigns engineered to engage with their consumers to help drive sell-through. Most of all, Chris enjoys working with talented people who want to create great (& commercial) things not just tick boxes.

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