As most SEOs and internet marketers know, Screaming Frog is a web crawling tool that works in a similar manner to how Google would crawl a site. For any local Sacramento, CA business who operates online, knowing exactly how your site is being crawled is an easy opportunity to make data-driven changes. The software is constantly being updated to mimic Google’s crawling technology and to inform its users about areas of websites to improve. Getting the basics right with a website can be accomplished in just a few steps.
1. Understand How Many Pages A Crawler Finds
2. Find Error Pages Quickly
The last thing any webmaster wants on their site is a 404 error. For user experience best practices and SEO best practices, you want to give a crawler pages with a 200 HTTP response. The software will show you any URLs on your site that do not return a 200 status code. Redirect status codes like 301 and 302 are perfectly fine, but any tenured Sacramento SEO will advise you to avoid 404 status codes.
3. Find Broken Links
Broken links happen for one reason or another. Maybe a page was deleted or when a link was created it simply pointed to a broken URL. In any case, Screaming Frog shows you the exact links that are causing errors. You can then prioritize fixing the broken links on your site and improve how Google grades the site.
4. Automate Sitemap Creation
If you have ever dabbled with XML sitemap creation, you may know that XML is a difficult language. While some content management systems offer an option to create a sitemap file, there are plenty of sites that do not have an XML sitemap. Thankfully, Screaming Frog allows its users to generate sitemap files with ease, both for page URLs and image path URLs.
5. Preview Meta Data Changes
Last, but certainly not least, the software allows its users to preview what meta data changes will actually look like in Google. You will have a preview as to how exactly your title tag will display and know how long your description will be. And for anyone using structured data markup, you can quickly preview what it will look like in search engine result pages.
If these five reasons aren’t enough to get you started with Screaming Frog and improve traffic for your Sacramento business, here’s one additional tip – the company offers a completely free version of the software. It has some minor limitations, but overall, it’s an extremely valuable tool to have. You will only have to upgrade once your site exceeds crawling 500 URLs (not a likely scenario for small websites).
About the Author
Jeff Romero is a digital marketer at Octiv Digital, an agency that helps small-to-midsize businesses in Sacramento, CA through advanced marketing techniques like SEO, pay-per-click advertising, video advertising and interpreting web analytics.