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October 25, 2021

Simple SEO Fixes You Can Make With Screaming Frog

If you’ve put in the hard yards setting up your website’s search engine optimisation, the very last thing you want is for it to croak because of technical issues.  That’s where Screaming Frog comes in.

Screaming Frog is a powerful and flexible free spider tool that basically mimics the way Google crawls sites.  It audits your website and gathers detailed information on a range of important elements like broken links, bad redirects, metadata problems and broken and heavy images.

One of the tool’s key benefits is that it is able to crawl both small and large websites quickly and efficiently and allows you to analyse the audit results in real time.

If you don’t audit your website on a regular basis, it may be at risk of significant issues which could result in a poor performance in the search engine rankings.  

Here are some simple SEO fixes you can make with Screaming Frog:

Identify 404 pages

Broken links are not only annoying to users, they also negatively impact on how Google sees your site.  If your website shows lots of pages with 404 errors, Google may choose not to display them in the search results.   

Screaming Frog finds broken links and sorts the results according to the primary source where the link is found.  You can see the various response codes, eg pages which have a 404 (‘page not found’) code.  This is helpful in working out whether you wish to manually update each broken link or whether you want to create a 301 (permanent redirect) code.

Action:  Go to the Internal Tab and sort the results by Status Code and look for any pages that have an error 404 status code (these pages are broken)

Indexing and de-indexing

The tool enables you to quickly verify the indexability of your pages.  Screaming Frog checks if a page is indexed or not, but it also shows why a page is not indexed.  For example, a landing page could have been set to ‘no-index’ accidentally or your robots.txt file could be blocking an important section of your website.  This is extremely valuable information which can save you a huge amount of time and effort. 

Remember, only indexed pages can appear in Google’s search engine pages.  

Action:  Go to the Internal tab to order the page by indexability. Check that any pages that are non-indexable should be!

Analyse your meta descriptions and page titles

Getting your metadata and page titles right is important for SEO.  While meta descriptions aren’t an actual ranking factor, getting them right will help improve your click-through rate, boost traffic and make your site cleaner.  

Screaming Frog is an excellent tool for seeing what is visible in the search results and will help you write great titles and descriptions to maximise opportunities. 

Action:  To find information on your pages’ meta descriptions, go to the Meta Description tab.  If pages are missing a title tag, missing a meta description, use too many or too few characters or pixels or have duplicate meta data, you can filter results and fix up any issues.  

To analyse page titles, visit the Page Titles tab and use the Indexability column to sort indexed pages by title.   

Identify pages with thin content

If real estate is about location, location, location – then SEO is about content, content, content.  Get your content right and you’ll find your website in the prime real estate location at the top of the search engine pages!

Screaming Frog identifies pages with thin content (low word count) and those which could be divided into two because they have excess content.  Obviously, user experience is key and you need to ensure that all your pages meet the user expectation with quality content (words, images and graphics).

Action:  Go to the Internal tab, use the HTML filter and sort by Word Count.  These results will help you identify where you need to beef up content (thereby improving your chances of being visible in the search pages) and where you can create more pages using excess information from a content-heavy page.

Improve your website’s on-site optimisation

Screaming Frog crawls the content and headings on your site.  By seeing which pages are missing H1 heading tags and where there are duplicate tags, you can quickly identify where changes need to be made.  Plus you can check whether you have the right keywords in your H1 tags.

Action:  Use the H1 tab to filter pages with missing or duplicate H1 heading tags.  You can do the same thing for H2 tags to improve the crawlability of your pages and make them more user-friendly. 

In conclusion:

Screaming Frog was first introduced in 2010 but with ongoing improvements and adjustments, it has stood the test of time.  It is one of my favourite tools to help website owners and SEO professionals make informed decisions.  

Another decision that many business owners have found to be hugely advantageous is the decision to hone their own SEO skills by participating in my self-managed online course, The SEO School.  I developed the course on the back of nearly 20 years as a specialist in digital marketing in Perth because I wanted to share my tips, tricks and techniques of successful SEO to help website managers and business owners get found online.

Have a look at how The SEO School can help you boost your online visibility, drive more traffic to your website, increase conversions and elevate your site to its rightful place in the Google rankings. Find out more at https://theseoschool.com or email me directly at karen@theseoschool.com.

 

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