At 4Ps Marketing, Screaming Frog is one of our preferred tools when performing a website re-launch. Changing your website’s structure and content can cause issues with search engines if it’s not supported with a website re-launch strategy. During this process, a technical review of your website is imperative and that’s where using a tool such as Screaming Frog can be crucial. You can read a report on how to use Screaming Frog when re-launching your website.
We spoke with Dan Sharp who is the Director over at Screaming Frog HQ and asked him for his opinions:
What are the plans for Screaming Frog in 2013?
We have really big plans for the software this year! We have some very cool new features in development currently and on the roadmap for the following 12-months with regular releases. We also have a larger project in the background which will help with crawling at much larger scale, which we are excited about.
Is SaaS (Software as a Service) something that is in high demand for your software (i.e. running in the Cloud)?
Yes, to an extent and it is certainly something that has been considered. A cloud solution can offer some benefits but also equally, some downsides as well. What we love about our software is the flexibility it provides and the instant data you get from the software.
Have things like container tags and iFrames affected the tools ability to “collect” content?
From a technical perspective, not really. Collecting the content is simple. We don’t currently crawl framesets, but that’s just because it’s dated and we made an internal decision not to prioritise. But we are planning on collecting data from new directives such as rel=“alternate” hreflang link element and rel=“next”/ =“prev” soon, for example.
What has been the biggest barrier to people using Screaming Frog?
Probably the largest barrier is getting people to bother to install it and give it a trial. There are so many SEO tools out there, many which don’t actually provide anything particularly actionable that SEOs can be reluctant to try something new. I count myself in that as well, very rarely does a new tool come along that I love and actively use on a regular basis.
The other main barrier is probably experience and technicality. The SEO spider was developed for us originally to use in-house (you can read more about our story here – http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/our-story/) as experienced SEOs, rather than someone new who is learning. So it’s not friendly for the beginner, it doesn’t tell you how to do SEO, it just gives you lots of data to make informed decisions. The advanced nature of the software is also one of the main reasons our core customer base love it though!
Which feature has received the most positive feedback?
That’s a difficult one! I’d say probably our custom source code search feature, which (http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider/user-guide/configuration/#13) provides the ability to find anything in the source code of a website. So this can be used to identify pages with ‘out of stock’ on them (great for PPC folk in particular) or pages missing GA tags.
With the recent release of the tool (http://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/screaming-frog-seo-spider-update-version-2-10/) already offering even more features, It appears that Screaming Frog is continuing to develop the software. It continues to be a useful tool for SEOs to understand what’s “under the hood” of a website. We look forward to the next releases.
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