The Crawler Landscape | Crawling Tools Overview | Lesson 6/34 | SEMrush Academy

You’ll gain an understanding of search crawlers and how to optimally budget for them.
Watch the full course for free:

0:24 Various crawling tools
1:01 SEO Tools for Excel
1:42 SEMRush Site Tool
2:44 Scheduling Automatic Recrawl
2:55 Seminar Site Audit
3:33 Screamingfrog

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You might find it useful:
Tune up your website’s internal linking with the Site Audit tool:
Understand how Google bots interact with your website by using the Log File Analyzer:

Learn how to use SEMrush Site Audit in our free course:
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To understand how search engines work, how their crawlers behave and how they crawl your domain you would need a tool that does essentially the same thing. This is where various crawling tools such as SEMrush Site Audit, ScreamingFrog, DeepCrawl, and others come into play. These solutions simulate Googlebots and their behavior. The best solution for you mainly depends on your website’s size and on how many URLs you would want to crawl in a certain time frame. Also, other features, such as report sharing capabilities and working with multiple stakeholders and teams on the same crawl could be relevant when selecting your crawler of choice.

For smaller websites, it can be as easy as using SEO Tools as Excel plug-ins or integrated crawling mechanics. Just type your domain or URL and Excel will fetch the information from this URL and put it on a spreadsheet you can work with. However, this approach is not really scalable – for websites comprised of thousands of URLs, it’s not a good idea.

A more robust solution would be to opt for a SaaS crawler. Various ones are available out there, including the SEMrush Site Audit, Deepcrawl, botify, Audisto, etc. For instance, the SEMrush Site Audit tool, which we already had a chance to get acquainted with, crawls your website fetching data from your domain, pointing out technical issues, and providing different actionable recommendations. Overall, it offers more than 100 on-page and technical checks of various issues like crawlability, indexability, HTTPS implementation, internal linking, and many more. Using this tool, you’re free to choose whether you want it to crawl an entire domain, a specific subdomain or subfolder. You can also include or exclude certain parts of a website from audit and let it crawl the desktop or mobile version of a website.

As a result of the audit, you’ll get all the useful information as widgets and reports broken down by topic, exploring which you’ll be able to see issues detected on your website. Each issue has a brief explanation and a tip on how you can fix it.

By scheduling automatic re-crawls and comparing them in the appropriate sections, you can track progress and maintain your website’s health with ease.

The SEMrush Site Audit, along with other SaaS, is cloud-based, which essentially gives unlimited scale and, most importantly, crawl depth. Their mechanism is similar – they emulate Googlebot and crawl your domain accordingly, without being bound by any hardware limitations. The only limitation is how fast your server responds to the number of requests that they are sending. The great thing is that it is often way easier to share reports with people on your team, stakeholders or clients.

Another approach could be to install a crawler on your local machine, e.g. Screamingfrog. It’s a desktop crawler which also behaves like Googlebot. It tries to fetch all the URLs that are linked and reachable within a domain and puts them into a spreadsheet-like overview. Screamingfrog has predefined reports, based on which you can work your way through and find the directives and other information you really care about. For small sites, Screamingfrog is free, but, depending on the size of your domain, you can run into limitations. Moreover, crawling millions of URLs can cause problems with Screamingfrog because the application is running on your local hardware and ultimately memory run can become an issue.

Almost all these crawling tools allow you to combine data sources; you can get additional data from Google Search Console or Google Analytics or just manually add URL lists and upload those. The good thing is that you can not only rely on the tool to crawl and find anything, but you can use different types of gap analysis and go really, really deep and try to understand what Google might and might not see.

Which tool you choose depends really on what you want to achieve and the size of your domain in terms of URL volume.

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