(Last Updated On: November 1, 2018)
Ok, let’s be honest. You’ve heard about it before. And you’re probably aware that Screaming Frog is, by far, one of the leading SEO analysis tools for marketers.
With 61% of marketers prioritizing on SEO as their principal inbound marketing strategy, the recent exponential uptake of auditing tools like Screaming Frog comes as no surprise.
All things considered, Screaming Frog is particularly prominent among all levels of digital marketers. We love it for its efficiency at crawling websites extensively to capture large amounts of data within a relatively short period of time. A complete website crawl generates a comprehensive assessment of links, meta-data, media, scripts, and many more aspects that are relevant to your overall ranking.
Now, the devil is always in the details. That’s why the resultant information has always been extremely valuable to marketers when it comes to reviewing and readjusting their SEO strategies.
In fact, this is one of the primary tactics that have seen 82% of digital marketers acknowledge that their overall SEO is progressively improving.
But, the few that know just how to best capitalize on such strategies make up only 42% of the group. And guess what? They’re actually generating pretty impressive results, going by the claim that their SEO effectiveness is growing substantially.
Of course, we all want to be part of that league of legends. And this sometimes entails extending past your comfort zone to sample other available tools.
If you’ve used Screaming Frog, you’ve probably noticed a couple of weaknesses here and there. The most outstanding one, I admit, has got to be the pricing.
Now hang on a moment. Don’t get me wrong. Perhaps unsurprisingly, £149.00 every 12 months might not seem like that big of a deal at first.
But, take a step back and look at this critically. That price tag, admittedly, would start looking like a mountain of a hurdle when you consider the combined bills a typical ecommerce enterprise settles to stay afloat.
Let’s face it. We’re already paying for multiple other tools. So many small businesses cannot afford to take such a quote lying down.
However, to be fair, Screaming Frog also provides a free version. But, all in all, it’s just as useless as boxing gloves in a kicking contest.
Ok, it might be that bad. But here’s the thing. It can only generate sitemaps, discover duplicate pages, audit hreflang attributes, analyze meta-robots and directives, review page titles and meta-data, plus find broken links, errors, and redirects. That’s all.
The meatiest, most critical features, on the other hand, are exclusive to the costly paid package. And it stinks, to say the least. Especially when you also consider the extra features that might be missing from Screaming Frog’s offerings.
Thankfully, the search spider industry is nothing close to a one or two horse race. So we’ll explore multiple top alternatives you can go for if Screaming Frog doesn’t feel like your ideal SEO diagnostics solution.
And you know what? We’ll also throw in a couple of free alternatives with many more functionalities.
So, let’s get down to it.
Top Screaming Frog Alternatives
1. Xenu’s Link Sleuth
Xenu is essentially a desktop application developed for PCs, selling itself as a solution for reviewing your site’s broken links.
But, here’s the interesting bit. As they continued leveraging it, many experts established that Xenu is actually more than that. It can do a lot more stuff, some even better than Screaming Frog.
Come to think of it, it’s strange how most of its users don’t know much about its builder, a German called Hausher. What is rather obvious, however, is the fact that he’s seemingly not interested in your money.
Yes, you’ve guessed right. Xenu is entirely free, to begin with. Hausher probably created it out of boredom more than 10 years ago. Or perhaps he thought of it as a contribution to a community he was passionate about.
Well, your guess is as good as mine. All I know is that he deserves a whole-hearted “thank-you” for Xenu’s capabilities.
One of the first things you’ll notice is its blazing speeds. Although a comparatively expansive website might take you a while, Xenu can comb through a typical site with thousands of pages like a supercharged machine.
Sounds good. But, here’s the fundamental question. How does Xenu graduate from a simple link checker to an SEO auditing tool?
Pretty simple actually. Xenu’s link assessment engine principally maneuvers like a crawler. Think of it as a simple crawler that has been optimized for identifying link inconsistencies and testing crawl paths.
With it, you’ll be able to generate crucial reports on the state of your meta-descriptions and page titles, plus any errors on both inbound and outbound links.
Sadly, facts are facts. Xenu is yet to establish itself as a full-fledged tool built for SEO. Pretty much explains why it features are fairly limited when it comes to extensive SEO crawling.
Ahrefs is the doctor you book a consultation with when you’re particularly concerned about your site’s backlink and keyword state.
Apart from a fantastic user experience, Ahrefs is mostly known for its solid data. And it makes sense since the brand is quite a prominent player in the digital insights and data industry.
To be more specific, Ahrefs will provide you with the most extensive live backlinks index. There’s no other tool that comes even close to the sheer size of Ahrefs’ index.
Well, imagine what you can achieve with such resources. At the very least, you’ll be able to view sites linked to respective URLs, the strength of the backlinks, deployed anchors, and much more.
You can also play dirty by capitalizing on its Positions Explorer tool to gain insight into your competition’s search data. In addition to basic stuff like their overall ranks in various search engines, you can assess their ranking keywords, plus specific sets of keywords they’ve prioritized on.
Most importantly, you’ll view exactly what your competitors protect the most- the actual flow of both paid and inorganic traffic.
That notwithstanding, the thing I love most about Ahrefs is its overall approach when it comes to content. 72% of marketers agree that content is the single most crucial element when it comes to SEO. So, of course, I’ve always been super excited about Ahrefs comprehensive insights on content and keyword performance.
All things considered, I find Ahrefs to be pleasantly simple and straightforward. The information you generate is quite extensive, and is always availed through clear, comprehensible visualizations.
But that’s not all. The tool also comes with a notable proprietary function that provides for data exportation into other understandable formats.
Sounds impressive, right?
Sadly, none of these features are free. In fact, Ahrefs will chew your pockets up much more aggressively than Screaming Frog. The cheapest Lite package goes for $99 per month, while the most popular, Standard, will cost you $179 every month. Advanced, on the other hand, is available at $399 per month, and Agency requires a stomach-churning $999 every month.
However, for what it’s worth, I think this pricing is understandable considering the number of resources it takes to monitor and maintain such a super index in real time. Plus, it comes with many more features and functionalities compared to Screaming Frog.
Moz Pro is not shy about going all-in. It takes the plunge right into the SEO deep end, to offer a comprehensive toolset that’s entirely optimized for increased visibility and improved search engine ranking.
It achieves this through a wide array of user-friendly tools, built to not only report performance, but also optimize pages, identify SEO fixes, evaluate links, and research keywords.
And get this. Each of these modules comes with a holistic set of elements that have been specifically developed for high-level delivery.
When it comes to ranking, for instance, Moz Pro doesn’t just allow you to track your overall keyword ranking through its weekly reports. It also extends the visibility to your competitors’ info, by digging deep into their sites to generate accurate results.
Now, this alone should help you establish your chief competitors by simply comparing sites that rank best on various relevant keywords. And, of course, knowing your enemy is usually the most fundamental step before you draft an effective counter-strategy.
Aside from that, Moz Pro is also equally comprehensive when it comes to search engines. Although Google basically accounts for 79% of the global search traffic, Moz spreads its analytical tool to Bing and Yahoo, too.
And we’re not talking about their main sites only. Moz Pro goes ahead to cover numerous search engine versions in more than 200 countries.
Now, this is the point where you realize keyword analysis might not be conclusive without evaluating the data from all the possible angles, including local ranking. And Moz does quite a commendable job here, thanks to its segmentation capabilities that allow you to filter keywords according to label, campaign, plus location.
Moz Pro also leverages verified industry metrics to establish and analyze primary web links that assist in discovering unlinked mentions, realizing new link opportunities, and restoring broken links.
And to keep your site in Google’s good books, Moz provides just the right set of tools to scan and take care of potentially detrimental links. The type that often invites pretty heavy penalties.
Another feature that has proven to be quite handy in cleaning up websites is crawl diagnostics. It’s particularly useful in pointing out SEO fixes and website crawlability problems, including broken links, missing page elements, duplicate content and titles, plus many other possible issues.
Now that’s splendid, to say the least. So is it worth a trial?
Well, by now, you’re probably guessing that such a complete set of tools would never come cheap.
And you know what? You’re dead right. It turns out that the cheapest Moz Pro package, Standard, would set you back $99 per month. Medium plan, on the other hand, carries a price tag of $179 per month, while Large costs $349 per month. The heaviest users end up paying $999 per month for the Premium plan.
It’s your call.
Before we go any further, let’s be clear that SEMrush is not a dedicated on-demand SEO crawler like Screaming Frog. Think of it as a digital marketing suite that happens to offer SEO crawling along other critical marketing tools. Consequently, I consider it exceedingly ideal for digital marketers seeking a full-fledged marketing solution with multiple centralized channels.
Crawling on SEMrush is coordinated from its Site Audit section. The engine basically assesses your site’s pages, identifies problems, and subsequently gives your website a score based on its overall SEO health.
I was pleased with the simplicity of the whole procedure. Tracking problems, for example, is done through the issues tab. I was able to access a detailed assessment report of the site, outlining issues like duplicate content, broken links, and more.
Ultimately, I systematically followed up on the highlighted problems, to resolve each issue individually. Pretty organized and straightforward, I admit.
And speaking of organization, you’ll find that SEMrush also utilizes a tree diagram to demonstrate the entire site structure with its individual components. It might seem not-so-special at first, but you’ll eventually find this feature increasingly handy when it comes to prioritizing on distinct fixes for various site sections.
To facilitate all that, SEMrush conducts its crawls on a weekly basis. As you work on any new issues raised, you can track past reports through the Progress tab. It even provides a filtering tool to zero in on specific aspects that you may want to prioritize on.
Unfortunately, the number of pages SEMrush can crawl through is limited for the bulk of its customers. At the lowest subscription level, Pro, it’s impossible to analyze more than 100,000 pages. The next package, Guru, expands the bracket to 300,000 pages, while Business supports 1 million pages. Only Enterprise users, which are large businesses, can scan an unlimited number of pages.
However, come to think of it, we’re talking about web pages here. Not products. Hence, 100,000 feels like an unbelievably large number. Only a handful of websites on the web have surpassed this, leave alone the 300,000 assigned to the bigger package.
Moving on to other provisions, SEMrush, just like the previous two tools we’ve looked at, is also fairly thorough at analyzing your competition.
It helps you identify the specific keywords respective businesses are using to get ahead of your site. Such data, of course, is extremely valuable for informing your consequent reaction strategy.
Well, that essentially covers your current competitors. But, as you’ve probably come to learn, developing startups can be more tactful in a competitive field. Some of them know just how to hit the ground running, and they are usually backed up with loads of new effective strategies.
Oddly enough, SEMrush also covers them. It will notify you every time a new player is budding in the market. This should give you a perfect opportunity to assess their ranking strategies, then adjust yours accordingly before they finally catch up with you.
Overall, SEMrush comes with in-depth campaign assessment, keyword tracking, keyword and ad research, domain comparison, position tracking, plus domain-specific keyword ranking.
The extent of the analysis and corresponding reports, however, depends on your subscription package. Pro costs $99.95 per month, while Guru is availed at $199.95 per month. Heavy users can proceed with the Business package at $399.95 per month, and the heaviest users have the benefit of negotiating with SEMrush under the Enterprise package.
A Note on Extended Trials: I was able to talk directly with the folks at SEMrush and get a unique 14-day extended trial offer via this link, if you want some time to test it out first.
Compared to other options we’ve looked at, Sitebulb is actually a baby. Not according to its capabilities, but rather going by its age. It hasn’t even seen its first birthday cake.
But, make no mistake about it. Its features look nothing like a freshman. The UK-headquartered solution seemingly came into the SEO crawler space with all guns blazing.
To begin with, crawling is not the only thing Sitebulb has in common with Screaming Frog. They both operate on pretty much the same CPU-based structural framework, along with Xenu.
That essentially means that you have to install it to your PC to use the application- unlike the bulk of the other solutions, which are entirely cloud-based. While the former utilizes your own CPU, the latter group runs on remote server resources. You can guess the category that’s potentially more powerful.
Well, Sitebulb might be doing fairly well right now, but they had a rocky start for the most part of last year. Some of their software versions were experiencing incompatibility issues with selected platforms, like Mac OS. Fortunately, the team reacted speedily and developed new versions that have proven to be more stable.
That said, Sitebulb continues to impress with its simple but no-nonsense approach to crawling. Initiating the process is as simple as submitting a few details about your site and clicking. Sitebulb’s engine will then assess your website’s configuration to generate a set of corresponding settings.
At the final stage of setting up a crawl, you’ll notice three different types of auditing- XML Sitemaps, International Analysis, and AMP Analysis.
AMP analysis is pretty straightforward. Checking this option will comprehensively analyze your site’s AMP URL, subsequently identifying potential problems that might be affecting your SEO status. Some of the elements it will sniff through include index status, status codes, canonical status, and sitemap correlation.
If your website is serving an extended geographical area covering numerous countries, you should consider combining that with International Analysis. Checking this box will have Sitebulb testing the site’s hreflags to confirm their individual reference statuses.
XML Sitemaps, on the other hand, deals with sitemap URLs. Adding this option to the mix will help you assess whether the sitemap contains URLs that have been discovered. Sitebulb’s crawling engine basically generates the discovered sitemap URLs and includes them in the list of sitemap URLs to be assessed.
But that’s not all. You’ll also get a conclusive report on the structure of your sitemaps. It will outline specific problems within the discovered URLs as identified during the crawl. Some of the issues I was able to point out include sitemap size inconsistencies, status code problems, plus sitemap listing within the robot.txt files.
Apart from that, Sitebulb also provides hints according to your crawling findings, a brief overview of past audits, detailed information about your page data and protocols, internal links analysis, website indexability reports, page resources tracking, plus site speed and traffic insights.
Thankfully, you can access all these features for free. But only for 14 days. Anything beyond that costs $35 per month for one user license, plus $3.50 for each additional user.
And finally, we have ourselves DeepCrawl. Certainly one of the best software tools in the market today.
It’s entirely optimized for crawling, to help users track their site assets, plus identify and correct SEO issues. If Google happens to send its top dogs- Penguin and Panda- your way, DeepCrawl will also come in handy to resolve any problems. Enough to save your site from Google’s consequence jail.
Just as its name suggests, DeepCrawl goes beyond scratching the surface. It dives deep into the whole site assessment process to generate critical reports on numerous relevant aspects. It also provides features that have proven to be increasingly effectual when it comes to SEO planning.
At the top, DeepCrawl is all about regular technical audits. It can audit your site on a regular basis to help you act upon any problems expeditiously, and consequently stay ahead of search engines. It’s also possible to automate the whole process to capitalize on the tool’s ability to improve site visibility based on current trends.
DeepCrawl also addresses the principal SEO problem that’s prevalently experienced during website migration. You see, even when you’re moving your site to an alternative platform with superior SEO provisions, you might end up losing that SEO edge. The result, of course, would be poorer ranking and a drop in organic traffic.
The approach DeepCrawl predominantly uses here is staging the migration before it actually occurs. The subsequent problems identified helps site owners work on their live sites for a seamless process. As this progresses, Google, on the other hand, continues to review the changes in order to adapt to the new site.
Now, if you normally stay up-to-date with current digital-marketing events, you might have noticed that Google is quite fond of releasing sudden algorithm updates. And perhaps unsurprisingly, quite a number of websites are blacklisted for playing dirty.
This is precisely where DeepCrawl comes to the rescue. Since it’s well-streamlined to Google Penguin and Panda algorithms, it can accurately identify issues that might have gotten your site blacklisted. And that’s how you initiate the recovery process to restore the site back into the whitelisted zone.
And speaking of whitelisting, DeepCrawl also offers a wide array of analytical tools to optimize your search engine ranking. In addition to improving UX, you’ll get to eliminate broken pages, benchmark backlinks, monitor content, detect duplicates, identify orphaned pages, test XML sitemaps, view reports via graphs, pinpoint server response errors, compare competitor SEO strategy, and more.
The cost? Well, after a 1-month free trial, the cheapest Starter package goes for $79 per month, followed by Consultant $199 per month. Both come with pretty much the same provisions. The only difference is the extent of elements covered. If you still need more, you can settle for the Corporate plan, whose rates are negotiable.
Best Free Screaming Frog Alternatives
And finally, how about reviewing notable options that will not hurt your wallet in any way?
So, let’s close this down with a list of the best free Screaming Frog alternatives:
Quite an interesting name, I’ll admit. And it basically summarizes what Keyword Shitter is all about. It’s actually a powerful solution for exploring various keyword options.
To use it, simply enter a keyword you have you have in mind and Keyword Shitter will pick it up from there. You’ll get multiple keyword ideas, including some shitty variations. So it’s advisable to take advantage of filters to crop out irrelevant results.
Way Back Machine functions like a time-travel machine. You’ll not be going even a second into the future, but you’ll be able to travel back to the past.
This tool grants you access to hundreds of billions of web pages that have been archived over the years. It’s extremely helpful in analyzing past SEO strategies and their correlation with current rankings.
Going by the extensive features here, Console Rocket is really impressive for a free tool.
Through its keyword-to-page mapping, for instance, you can view the corresponding pages a specific keyword is ranking for. You can also separate metrics for brand and non-brand keywords, assess how various ranking positions affect your site’s Click-Through-Rate, plus generate a list of keywords with the highest possible click opportunities.
Audit MY PC, which is based on Java, is a free tool essentially built to generate sitemaps.
It can literally crawl through any site, including non-indexed ones, to generate data on error pages, page types, inbound and outbound links, HTTP status code, title tags, plus URL.
- Screaming Frog free version can only generate sitemaps, discover duplicate pages, audit hreflang attributes, analyze meta-robots and directives, review page titles and meta-data, plus find broken links, errors and redirects. That’s all.
- Xenu is essentially a desktop application developed for PCs, selling itself as a solution for reviewing your site’s broken links.
- With Xenu, you’ll be able to generate crucial reports on the state of your meta-descriptions and page titles, plus any errors on both inbound and outbound links.
- Apart from a fantastic user experience, Ahrefs is mostly known for its solid data. And it makes sense, since the brand is quite a prominent player in the digital insights and data industry.
- Ahrefs is pleasantly simple and straightforward. Information you generate is quite extensive, and is always availed through clear, comprehensible visualizations.
- Moz Pro offers a comprehensive toolset that’s entirely optimized for increased visibility and improved search engine ranking.
- Moz Pro achieves this through a wide array of user friendly tools, built to not only report performance, but also optimize pages, identify SEO fixes, evaluate links, and research keywords.
- SEMrush is not a dedicated on-demand SEO crawler like Screaming Frog. Think of it as a digital marketing suite that happens to offer SEO crawling along other critical marketing tools.
- Crawling on SEMrush is coordinated from its Site Audit section. The engine basically assesses your site’s pages, identifies problems, and subsequently gives your website a score based on its overall SEO health.
- Overall, SEMrush comes with in-depth campaign assessment, keyword tracking, keyword and ad research, domain comparison, position tracking, plus domain specific keyword ranking.
- Crawling is not the only thing Sitebulb has in common with Screaming Frog. They both operate on pretty much the same CPU-based structural framework, along with Xenu.
- At the final stage of setting up a Sitebulb crawl, you’ll notice three different types of auditing- XML Sitemaps, International Analysis, and AMP Analysis.
- Apart from that, Sitebulb also provides hints according to your crawling findings, a brief overview of past audits, detailed information about your page data and protocols, internal links analysis, website indexibility reports, page resources tracking, plus site speed and traffic insights.
- DeepCrawl is entirely optimized for crawling, to help users track their site assets, plus identify and correct SEO issues. If Google happens to send its topdogs- Penguin and Panda- your way, DeepCrawl will also come in handy to resolve any problems.
- DeepCrawl also offers a wide array of analytical tools to optimize your search engine ranking. In addition to improving UX, you’ll get to eliminate broken pages, benchmark backlinks, monitor content, detect duplicates, identify orphaned pages, test XML sitemaps, view reports via graphs, pinpoint server response errors, compare competitor SEO strategy, and more.
Even with these alternative tools, you’ve got to admit that Screaming Frog is still a formidable crawling engine. But, it might not exactly suit your needs. So, feel free to test these options and other solutions in the market.
Have fun while you’re at it. And, of course, remember to share your thoughts and experiences through the comment section.