SEO audits are a “must” of digital marketing, as they help us correct errors on our site and continue to improve search engine positioning.
The problem is that doing an SEO audit involves an investment of time and effort that expands the larger your site is. To be feasible, it is essential to resort to specialized tools such as Screaming Frog, which save us time and effort. We tell you all its secrets!
What is Screaming Frog?
Screaming Frog is a tool that mimics Google spiders and crawls all types of web content to provide you with a complete report of the links, images, code files and other data that you need to know to do an SEO audit. Let’s say it tells you all the details of what search engine crawlers see when they visit your website.
Using Screaming Frog greatly simplifies the auditing process, as it collects all the information in much less time than it would take to collect it manually. To give you an idea, with this tool you can have a complete report of the on-page optimization of your site in a few minutes or, at most, in a few hours (for domains with millions of pages). If you need to speed up the process, you can always select the information you want to be shown and discard the one that does not interest you.
It should be noted that you can not only use it to analyze your own website like Children’s book illustration, but you can also enter the URL of a competitor’s site and obtain privileged information about its web positioning.
A peculiarity of Screaming Frog is that it is not an online tool, but an application to install on your own desktop . Versions are available for both PC and Mac and Linux. There is a free version that allows you to track up to 500 URLs per domain and has some limitations, and a paid version that costs around 100 euros per year and allows you to use all the functions without limit.
10 mistakes you can spot and fix with Screaming Frog
1) Broken links
The broken links in your website will not only affect the user experience, but can be a decisive factor for Google chooses to display your site in the results or not. If you have dozens of pages with 404 errors, Google may choose to prioritize other sites that offer a more satisfying user experience.
To solve this problem, go to the Screaming Frog Internal tab and sort the results by Status Code. Thus, you will be able to see the web pages of your site ordered by the response code that the search engine found. Pages with code 301 have been permanently redirected to another page, while pages with code 404 give a “Page not found” error.
Next, click on the Inlinks tab of the pages with a 404 code. There you can see which pages are leading to the error and update the links manually. You can also redirect the 404 page to another of your choice using a permanent redirect (301).
2) Pages with duplicate content
The duplicate content is a common problem of websites and can negatively affect your SEO positioning without you noticing. As you publish more and more content, it becomes more difficult to notice duplicate content. For example, if you have written many articles on similar topics, it is possible that the titles are the same or very similar, and therefore Google identifies them as duplicate content.
As part of the Screaming Frog SEO audit, you will be able to obtain information about pages with titles, descriptions and headings that can be interpreted as duplicate content. To solve this problem, you should delete one of the articles or combine them to create a longer content.
3) Pages that don’t have enough content
If a page does not have a sufficient number of words, it will be very difficult for it to rank in search engines, since spiders will not be able to know what it is about and identify it as a valuable resource.
To solve this problem with Screaming Frog, go to the Internal tab, use the HTLM filter and sort the results by the Word Count column (remember that you can reposition it further to the left if it is more comfortable for you to visualize the results).
With this information, you can see which pages have a very low number of words and optimize them to add more content. And although this is not such a common problem, you can also see if any page is too long and divide it into several, if you think that will improve the user experience.
4) Problems with internal links
The internal links are a very important aspect of SEO on page. When some pages on your site are linked to others, that indicates to Google that the content is valuable and is related to the main topic. Internal links help you optimize your pages for the keywords you are looking for and also help visitors spend more time on your site.
As your site grows, it becomes difficult to keep track of all internal links, and that’s where Screaming Frog can help you. These three metrics will help you optimize internal links:
- Inlinks : number of links that point to that page.
- Outlinks : number of links to other pages that page contains.
- Crawl depth : number of clicks required to get from the first page to the linked page. It also means the depth level of the folder in the URL structuring.
5) Problems with the sitemap
The site maps (sitemaps) are a very important resource for SEO positioning, as they put it easier for Google to find and index the content of your website. If you have a sitemap, Google can immediately know when you’ve added new content or updated old ones.
You can use Screaming Frog to create your sitemap by specifying which pages you want to include and which you don’t. It is also very useful for identifying errors in existing maps.
6) Errors with the headers
The H1 headers , H2 headers … are very useful for classifying information facing both users and search engine spiders. Therefore, they are a fundamental element of SEO that should not be missing in your audit.
To view information about your site headers, go to the H1 tab. There you can see if there is a page that is missing this essential element or that has more than one. Remember that as a general rule of thumb, each page should have only one H1 element that contains the main keyword.
In the H2 tab you will see similar information for H2 headings. In this case there is no problem for having several on each page.
7) Images without alternative texts
The ALT of images fulfills a double function: on the one hand, it allows search engines to identify what the image is about and index it correctly, and on the other hand, it facilitates accessibility for people with visual disabilities.
To detect possible problems with Screaming Frog, go to the Images tab and filter the results by “Missing Alt Text”. You can also see which images have an ALT that exceeds the recommended limits (100 characters).
8) Pages not indexed
When you do a site search on Google (eg site: example.com), Google shows you the pages of that site that it has indexed. But with Screaming Frog, you can go one step further in your SEO audit and see directly which ones haven’t been indexed.
To do this, go to the Internal tab and sort your HTML pages based on the Indexability column. Here you can see if there are any pages that are not indexed and that you want to appear in search engines. You can also check if you have “slipped” a page that you want to remain hidden.
9) Pages pending update
One of the basic features of Screaming Frog is to view a list of all the pages on your site .
Once this is done, my recommendation is that you review the list to see which ones have information that has become outdated or that you can expand and rewrite to reposition in search engines.
10) Errors in competitor pages
Don’t forget that Screaming Frog not only allows you to audit your own website, but competing sites as well .
Knowing what your closest competitors are doing is essential for any company. With Screaming Frog, you can get information on links, keywords and interesting topics that you may have forgotten to include on your own website.
My recommendation is that you check out at least two of your competitor’s websites and take a good look at the URLs, page titles, inbound links, headings, and meta descriptions. You are sure to come up with a lot of interesting ideas!