Screaming Frog for SEO: the guide of 2024

As an SEO specialist, I have experience with a variety of programs that improve website performance and generate organic traffic. Screaming Frog is one of the tools I use most often because of its unique features and many benefits. It is a desktop application that crawls websites and collects data about them. This provides insight into various technical aspects of the Web site, such as metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links and other important information(1).

In this text, I compare Screaming Frog to other popular SEO tools and tell you why it is a valuable addition to an SEO specialist’s toolkit. I will tell you all about the advantages of Screaming Frog over other tools as well as explain why it is an efficient and affordable alternative for individual users or smaller companies.

What is Screaming Frog?

Before I begin my explanation, let me briefly explain exactly what Screaming Frog is. Briefly, it is a search engine optimization (SEO) program that you use to crawl websites. This will give you insight into different aspects of that website. Screaming Frog is a desktop application and available for Windows, MacOS and Ubuntu.

As a user of Screaming Frog, you crawl websites using this tool and generate a list of URLs. In the process, you also collect metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links and other important information. This crawling gives you insight into the existence of problems such as broken links, duplicate content, missing metadata and other technical SEO issues that negatively affect your website’s ranking.

What is Screaming Frog

In addition, Screaming Frog also offers other features. For example, consider analyzing page content based on keywords and generating XML sitemaps. Moreover, you can also export the data that Screaming Frog collects and thus integrate it with other SEO tools.

SEO professionals frequently use Screaming Frog. This is explained by its high ease of use and extensive features. Screaming Frog helps you identify technical problems and thus improve the search engine optimization of your website. In addition to SEO professionals, it is also a valuable tool for Web site administrators and Web developers.

The pros and cons of Screaming Frog for SEO

ChannelInfluence of SEO
Content MarketingSEO insights can help identify topics and keywords relevant to your target audience, which can help shape your content strategy. Good SEO practices can also increase the visibility and reach of your content.
Social MediaAlthough social signals do not directly contribute to SEO, sharing content on social media can lead to increased visibility, traffic and backlinks, which can ultimately improve your SEO.
PRPR activities can help generate high-quality backlinks, which is an important factor for SEO. Conversely, SEO insights can help identify relevant publications and influencers for PR efforts.
Email MarketingSEO can help drive more organic traffic to your site, which can result in more signups to your email list. Conversely, email marketing can be used to increase the reach of your content and generate more traffic and backlinks.
Paid Search Advertising (SEM).SEO and SEM can complement each other. For example, keywords that perform well in SEO can be used in paid search campaigns, and vice versa. Moreover, a combined SEO/SEM strategy can lead to increased visibility in search results.

What are the functionalities of Screaming Frog?

If you use Screaming Frog, you can take advantage of several features. Each of these will help you optimize your website for search engines. With Screaming Frog you can, among other things:

  • Crawl your website and generate a list of all URLs, metadata and other technical aspects of the website.
  • Identify and resolve duplicate content on your website. Duplicate content results in lower ranking in organic search results. With that, you prefer to deal with it as quickly as possible.
  • Quickly find broken links on your website and fix them. This not only improves the user experience of visitors, but also improves the SEO performance of your website.
  • Optimize metadata on your website to improve the visibility of your website in search engines. Metadata includes titles, headings and descriptions.
The functionalities of Screaming Frog
  • Generate an XML sitemap that you can submit to Google Search Console to get your website better indexed(2).
  • Analyze pages on your website based on keywords and other relevant parameters to optimize their content.
  • Export data collected by Screaming Frog to other SEO tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
  • Manage robots.txt and htaccess files to restrict access to your website and improve SEO performance(3).

Getting Started with Screaming Frog

Do you want to start using Screaming Frog? Then follow the steps below:

  1. Go to the Screaming Frog website and download the software.
  1. Install the software on your computer and open the program.
  1. Enter the URL of your website in the search box, then click “Start.
  1. Screaming Frog will now crawl your website. Always wait until the software indicates that the process is complete.
  1. Check out the data Screaming Frog has collected for you. You can access different tabs to get information about the pages of your website. You can think about page titles, meta descriptions, H1 tags and more.
  1. With Screaming Frog’s various functionalities, you identify and solve problems. Examples include finding and fixing broken links, duplicate content and metadata problems.
  1. Export the data collected by Screaming Frog to other SEO tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Search Console(4).

When you are just beginning to use Screaming Frog, it can be difficult to determine where to start. Also, you are not yet familiar with all the features the software has to offer you. However, to get you started, Screaming Frog offers several tutorials and documents on its website. These will help you get the most out of the tool. You can also find many tutorials and manuals on how to use Screaming Frog on the Internet.

What kind of websites is Screaming Frog suitable for?

Screaming Frog can be used for different types of websites, including:

  1. Small and large websites: Screaming Frog is suitable for both small and large websites. Whether you maintain a simple blog or run a large e-commerce website, Screaming Frog helps you identify and solve technical problems.
  1. Dynamic websites: Screaming Frog is also suitable for dynamic websites. You can think of websites driven by a CMS (Content Management System) such as WordPress or Drupal. Even within these dynamic websites, Screaming Frog is able to identify technical issues that affect your search engine optimization (SEO).
  1. Websites of different industries: Screaming Frog is suitable for websites belonging to different industries and sectors, including e-commerce, travel, health, technology and more. The tool helps you improve your website’s SEO performance, as well as identify bottlenecks specific to your industry.

In short, Screaming Frog is suitable for websites of various types and sizes and belonging to different industries. The tool helps you identify technical problems and improve your website’s search engine optimization.

Using Screaming Frog in a website migration

Is your website or web page moving to another place? Screaming Frog also comes in handy during a so-called website migration. After all, during a website migration, it is important to keep a close eye on the technical aspects of the website. This way, you avoid problems that negatively impact your website’s SEO. Screaming Frog offers you insight into the technical aspects of your website and identifies any issues that may have arisen during a migration for you.

Before you begin the website migration, use Screaming Frog to perform a crawl of your old website. That’s how you find out about the technical aspects. Using this, you identify problems such as broken links, duplicate content and missing metadata and resolve them prior to migration. This way, you immediately improve the SEO performance of your new website.

Screaming Frog website migration

You also use Screaming Frog during the migration process. With the tool, you get quick answers as to whether technical issues occurred during the process that affect your website’s SEO. By resolving them quickly, you will prevent your ranking in search engine organic results and traffic to your website from suffering.

In addition to prior to and during the migration for you also perform another crawl with Screaming Frog after the migration process. You do this to assure yourself that all problems have been fixed. If this is the case, then you know that search engines can index your website properly. Even after that, use Screaming Frog regularly to continue to monitor and optimize your website’s SEO performance. The clear insights from this tool tell you what to do to grow your website.

Discovering crawl errors

Crawling is nothing more than exploring a Web site to index it. Crawl errors result from broken links and do not allow a search engine to complete its visit. Among other things, this can cause you to lose link value. To detect crawl errors, run a crawl of your website with Screaming Frog. You do this by, as I had described earlier, entering the web address of the website in the search field and then clicking the “Start” button. Screaming Frog begins that by crawling your Web site and generates reports on various aspects, including crawl errors.

For insight into your crawl errors, check out the “Crawl Errors” report in Screaming Frog. This report contains information about the HTTP status codes returned by the website. You will also find any errors identified during the crawl process. The report is filterable by various status codes, including 404 errors, 500 errors and 301 redirects. This will give you quick insight into the errors that certain pages contain.

Crawl errors detect website migration

Has Screaming Frog identified crawl errors? Then it is important to investigate and resolve them. If you don’t, then search engine optimization will be negatively affected and your website will not function optimally. Fixing errors can be done by changing the content of the page, changing the URL or fixing the error in the website’s code.

By regularly crawling with Screaming Frog and fixing crawl errors, you can improve website SEO performance. You thus ensure that search engines can properly index and rank the website(5).

Is the Screaming Frog API of interest?

The Screaming Frog API (Application Programming Interface) is of interest to companies and SEO experts who regularly need to generate advanced analytics and reports. An API allows two apps to communicate with each other. The Screaming Frog API allows users to integrate this tool’s features and data into other tools and software. As you automate more processes in this way, you succeed even better in streamlining your company’s workflow. This will save you a significant amount of time.

The Screaming Frog API allows you to connect remotely to the Screaming Frog crawler. It allows you to export specific data and reports to custom dashboards, reporting tools or other software applications. As a user, this allows you to create personalized workflows for advanced SEO analysis, website audits and website monitoring.

You can also use the Screaming Frog API to develop custom integrations and solutions tailored to the specific needs of your business. Screaming Frog’s features thus allow you to even better meet the unique requirements of your workflow.

How does Screaming Frog compare to other SEO tools?

Screaming Frog is among the most popular search engine optimization utilities. People often compare the tool to other SEO tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs and SEMrush. Although each tool has its own features and benefits, Screaming Frog is a valuable addition to your SEO toolkit.

Comparing the tool to Google Search Console, Screaming Frog offers more detailed information about technical aspects of a Web site. These aspects include metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links. You can also use Screaming Frog to export reports and use data in other tools.

Compared to Ahrefs, Screaming Frog focuses much more on technical SEO aspects of a Web site. Ahrefs, in turn, focuses more on link building and competitive analysis. Ahrefs also provides detailed information on backlink profiles and assists in identifying new keywords and analyzing competitor content.

Are you comparing Screaming Frog to SEMrush? Even then you can conclude that the former focuses much more on the technical aspects of websites. SEMrush, on the other hand, has a stronger focus on competitive analysis and keyword research. In addition, SEMrush also offers features for social media analysis and PPC (pay-per-click) ad analysis.

In short, although Screaming Frog and other SEO tools have different features and benefits, Screaming Frog is a valuable addition to the SEO toolkit. This is explained by the focus on the technical aspects of a Web site, as is the ability to export detailed reports and use data in other tools. Determining which tools are best is done by starting from the specific needs of your business. Always use Screaming Frog in conjunction with other tools. This will give you a complete picture of your website’s performance in search engines.

Screaming Frog and the Google Search Console

Screaming Frog and Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) are both search engine optimization utilities. In terms of their functionalities and the type of data they provide, however, clear differences can be identified.

  1. Screaming Frog is a desktop application that allows you to crawl your website. This provides insight into the various technical aspects of your website. You can think of metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links. Screaming Frog you use to identify problems such as broken links, duplicate content and missing metadata. All of these problems affect the search engine optimization of your website.
  1. Google Search Console is a free tool from Google. Website administrators can use it to monitor their website and receive reports on its performance in Google search results. Google Search Console allows you to see, among other things, which keywords users are using to find your website, how much traffic your website is receiving from search engines and which pages have the highest rankings.
Screaming Frog and the GSC
  1. The main difference between Screaming Frog and Google Search Console? Screaming Frog focuses on identifying technical problems on your Web site, while Google Search Console is focused on monitoring the performance of your Web site in Google’s search results. You also use Google Search Console to optimize your website for search engines. However, both tools are valuable for search engine optimization. Using them in conjunction with each other gives you a detailed picture of your Web site’s performance.

The advantages of Screaming Frog over Google Search Console

Screaming Frog and Google Search Console (formerly known as Google Webmaster Tools) both contribute significantly to search engine optimization (SEO). However, what are the advantages of Screaming Frog over Google Search Console? I list it below:

  1. One of the main advantages of Screaming Frog over Google Search Console is the ability to extensively crawl a Web site. The desktop application gives you insight into various technical aspects of your Web site, such as metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links. Screaming Frog lets you identify problems such as broken links, duplicate content and missing metadata. These affect the search engine optimization of your website.
  1. Another advantage of Screaming Frog is that you have complete control over this tool. In other words, you have complete control over the data you collect and how you use it. With Google Search Console, on the other hand, Google collects the data and determines how the search engine displays it.
  1. A third benefit of Screaming Frog is the ability to export reports, which allows you to use the data in other tools. With Google Search Console, that’s a lot trickier.

In short, Screaming Frog, unlike Google Search Console, gives you complete control over the data and reports generated. It also provides more detailed information about the technical aspects of a Web site. This helps you identify and fix problems that have a negative impact on your website’s search engine optimization.

Screaming Frog and Ahrefs

Ahrefs is another popular search engine optimization utility. Like between Google Search Console and Screaming Fros, there are some important differences between Ahrefs and Screaming Frog.

  1. Screaming Frog, as mentioned above, is a desktop application that you use to crawl a website to gain insight into its technical aspects. You use it to identify problems such as broken links, duplicate content and missing metadata.
  1. Ahrefs is an online tool for competitive analysis and link building. It provides detailed information about websites’ backlink profiles. This includes the amount of links, the quality of the links and the landing pages the links lead to. Ahrefs also allows you to identify new keywords and analyze competitor content.
  1. So Screaming Frog focuses on the technical aspects of a Web site, while Ahrefs focuses more on link building and competitive analysis. However, both tools are valuable for search engine optimization. SEO experts and website owners often use them in combination. In this way, they obtain a comprehensive picture of a Web site’s performance. Ahrefs is best described as an all-in-one tool for SEO. Screaming Frog focuses more on identifying technical problems on a Web site.

The advantages of Screaming Frog over Ahrefs

Screaming Frog and Ahrefs are both popular search engine optimization utilities and each has its own advantages. However, in what ways does Screaming Frog offer you added value over Ahrefs?

  1. With Screaming Frog, an application that crawls your website and provides insight into its technical aspects, you can identify technical problems that negatively affect your website’s search engine optimization. Although Ahrefs can also be of service on a technical level, the capabilities of that tool are more limited.
  1. Another advantage of Screaming Frog is that the tool is cheaper than Ahrefs. Especially for smaller companies or individual users, this is an important aspect. Screaming Frog also has a free version with limited functionality. Do you have a small budget? Then this may be a good alternative for you.
  1. Screaming Frog offers great ease of use and delivers results smoothly. It also offers detailed reports and you can use it in conjunction with other tools to get a more complete picture of your website’s SEO performance.

In short, Screaming Frog’s main advantage over Ahrefs is its focus on the technical aspects and affordability of the tool.

Screaming Frog and SEMrush

SEMrush is another frequently used search engine optimization utility. What are the differences between Screaming Frog and SEMrush?

  1. Screaming Frog is an analysis program that lets you conveniently and quickly analyze your Web site for errors. The website crawler helps you improve your SEO by identifying frequent search engine optimization problems. Screaming Frog gives you insight into various technical aspects of your Web site.
  1. SEMrush is an online tool you use for competitive analysis and keyword research. This tool provides you with detailed information on keyword volume, competition, keyword related ads, backlinks and website traffic, among other things.
  1. A key difference between Screaming Frog and SEMrush is that Screaming Frog focuses more on technical aspects of a Web site. Instead, SEMrush focuses more on competitive analysis and keyword research. In addition, SEMrush also offers features for social media analysis and PPC (pay-per-click) ad analysis. That is not the case for Screaming Frog; that tool focuses primarily on SEO.

In short, you can say that SEMrush is more of an all-in-one tool for SEO. Screaming Frog, for its part, focuses more on identifying technical problems on your Web site. However, both tools are valuable for search engine optimization. For a comprehensive picture of your Web site’s performance, use them in combination.

The advantage of Screaming Frog over SEMrush

Screaming Frog and SEMrush are both widely used and each has its own advantages. However, in what ways is Screaming Frog more valuable than SEMrush?

  1. Much more than SEMrush, Screaming Frog gives you insight into the technical aspects of a Web site, such as metadata, status codes, inbound and outbound links. SEMrush specializes primarily in keyword research and competitive analysis.
  1. Screaming Frog is a desktop application that allows you to crawl a website. This means it works quickly and efficiently. Moreover, you can use Screaming Frog in conjunction with other tools for a complete picture of your website’s SEO performance.
Screaming Frog and Ahrefs
  1. Another advantage of Screaming Frog is that, compared to SEMrush, it is a much more affordable tool. This is especially important for smaller companies and individual users. Screaming Frog additionally has a free version with limited functionality.

So compared to SEMrush, Screaming Frog focuses more on the technical aspects of your website, is fast and efficient and affordable -even for smaller business owners.

Conclusion

As an SEO expert, I can say that Screaming Frog is a valuable tool for optimizing websites for search engines. Although other SEO tools such as Google Search Console, Ahrefs and SEMrush also offer several advantages, Screaming Frog can be called unique. This can be explained by its focus on technical aspects of a Web site and its ability to export detailed reports. Moreover, you can also use the data generated by Screaming Frog in other tools.

Screaming Frog is an efficient and affordable tool, which is an advantage especially for interested parties who have limited search engine optimization resources at their disposal. However, I do recommend that you use Screaming Frog in conjunction with other tools. This will give you the most complete picture of your website’s SEO performance. Problems that negatively affect your organic ranking and traffic to your website can thus be addressed even more smoothly and efficiently.

Senior SEO-specialist

Ralf van Veen

Senior SEO-specialist
Five stars
My clients give me a 5.0 on Google out of 75 reviews

I have been working for 10 years as an independent SEO specialist for companies (in the Netherlands and abroad) that want to rank higher in Google in a sustainable manner. During this period I have consulted A-brands, set up large-scale international SEO campaigns and coached global development teams in the field of search engine optimization.

With this broad experience within SEO, I have developed the SEO course and helped hundreds of companies with improved findability in Google in a sustainable and transparent way. For this you can consult my portfolio, references and collaborations.

This article was originally published on 22 March 2024. The last update of this article was on 22 March 2024. The content of this page was written and approved by Ralf van Veen. Learn more about the creation of my articles in my editorial guidelines.