How To Use Screaming Frog

Updated by Richie Lauridsen & Allison Hahn on February 19, 2020.Originally published on May 11, 2015.

Keyword Research

So, I admit it: When we started looking at our own blog traffic, we realized this was one of the most historically popular blog posts on the Seer domain. After a brief moment of reflection and a swell of enthusiasm for the ever-present greatness of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider, a tool that’s been a loyal companion in our technical SEO journey, we realized we were doing a disservice–both to our readers and to the many leaps forward from the great Screaming Frog.

Though this original guide was published in 2015, in the years since, Screaming Frog has evolved to offer a whole suite of new features and simplified steps to conduct technical audits, check a site’s health, or simply get a quick glimpse of info on a selection of URLs.

URL Rewriting

Below, you’ll find an updated guide to how SEOs, PPC professionals, and digital marketing experts can use the tool to streamline their workflow. To get started, simply select what it is that you are looking to do:.

Link Building

When starting a crawl, it’s a good idea to take a moment and evaluate what kind of information you’re looking to get, how big the site is, and how much of the site you’ll need to crawl in order to access it all.

Sometimes, with larger sites, it’s best to restrict the crawler to a sub-section of URLs to get a good representative sample of data. This keeps file sizes and data exports a bit more manageable. We go over this in further detail below.

For crawling your entire site, including all subdomains, you’ll need to make some slight adjustments to the spider configuration to get started.

Wrapping up!

By default, Screaming Frog only crawls the subdomain that you enter. Any additional subdomains that the spider encounters will be viewed as external links.

In order to crawl additional subdomains, you must change the settings in the Spider Configuration menu. By checking ‘Crawl All Subdomains’, you will ensure that the spider crawls any links that it encounters to other subdomains on your site.

In addition, if you’re starting your crawl from a specific subfolder or subdirectory and still want Screaming Frog to crawl the whole site, check the box marked “Crawl Outside of Start Folder.”.

By default, the SEO Spider is only set to crawl the subfolder or subdirectory you crawl from forwards.

View Original HTML and Rendered HTML

If you want to crawl the whole site and start from a specific subdirectory, be sure that the configuration is set to crawl outside the start folder.


To save time and disk space, be mindful of resources that you may not need in your crawl. Websites link to so much more than just pages. Uncheck Images, CSS, JavaScript, and SWF resources in order to reduce the size of the crawl. If you wish to limit your crawl to a single folder, simply enter the URL and press start without changing any of the default settings.

If you’ve overwritten the original default settings, reset the default configuration within the ‘File’ menu.

Factors that affect website crawling

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