How To Check Redirects Using The SEO Spider
This tutorial walks you through how you can use the Screaming Frog SEO Spider for free (and paid) to check redirects (the HTTP 3XX response), either by crawling your website, or by uploading a list of URLs in bulk.
To get started, you’ll need to download the SEO spider which is free in lite form, for up to 500 URLs. You can download via the buttons in the right hand side bar.
The SEO Spider will show the status code (whether a 301, 302, 303 etc), the status (permanent or temporary), the destination of the redirect and it can follow multiple redirect chains to the final destination as well as identify loops.
You have two options to check redirects, which you can skip to the relevant section by clicking on your preference below –
1) Crawl The Website
Open up the SEO Spider, type or copy in the website you wish to crawl in the ‘enter url to spider’ box and hit ‘Start’.
2) Click The ‘Response Codes’ tab & ‘Redirection (3XX)’ Filter To View Redirects
You can wait until the crawl finishes and reaches 100%, or you can just view 3XX redirects while crawling by navigating to the ‘Response Codes’ tab and using the filter for ‘Redirection 3XX’.
There are two ways to do this, you can simply click on the ‘tab’ at the top and use the drop down filter or you can use the right-hand window crawl overview pane and just click directly on ‘Redirection (3XX)’ tree view under the ‘Response Codes’ folder.
The status and status code are shown next to each URL and both ‘internal’ and ‘external’ URL redirects will be displayed. The ‘Redirect URI’ column shows the destination of the redirect of the URL in the ‘Address’ column.
This crawl overview pane updates while crawling, so you can see there number of client error 3XX links you have at a glance. In the instance above, there are 93 redirects which is 13% of the links discovered in the crawl.
3) View The Redirect Destination
The ‘Redirect URI’ column shows the destination of the ‘address’ URL redirect.
For example, you can see the https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/web-scraper/ 301 permanently redirects to the https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/web-scraping/ URL in the above screenshot.
4) View The Source Of Redirects By Clicking The ‘Inlinks’ Tab
Obviously you’ll want to know the source of the redirecting links discovered (which URLs on the website link to the redirects), so they can be updated to the correct location. To do this, simply click on a URL in the top window pane and then click on the ‘Inlinks’ tab at the bottom to populate the lower window pane.
As you can see in this example, there is a redirect to our web scraping guide (https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/web-scraper/), which is linked to from this page – https://www.screamingfrog.co.uk/seo-spider-4-0/.
Here’s a closer view of the lower window pane which details the ‘inlinks’ data –
‘From’ is the source where the redirect can be found, while ‘To’ is the URL which redirects. You can also see the anchor text, alt text (if it’s an image which is hyperlinked) and whether the link is followed (true) or ‘nofollow’ (false).
5) Use The ‘Bulk Export > Response Codes > Client Error (3XX) Inlinks’ Export
If you’d rather view the data in a spreadsheet you can export both the ‘source’ URLs and ‘redirects’ by using the ‘Bulk Export’, ‘Response Codes’ and ‘Redirection (3XX) Inlinks’ option in the top level menu.
There’s a number of ways you can export data from the Screaming Frog SEO spider, so I recommend reading our user guide on exporting.
6) Click ‘Reports > Redirect Chains’ To View Chains & Loops
To check internal redirect chains or identify redirect loops, simply export the ‘redirect chains’ report.
This report maps out chains of redirects, the number of hops along the way and will identify the source, as well as if there is a loop.
Crawling A List Of URLs For Redirects
Finally, if you have a list of URLs you’d like to check redirects for instead of crawling a website, then you can upload them in list mode.
To switch to ‘list’ mode, simply click on ‘mode > list’ in the top level navigation and you’ll then be able to choose to paste in the URLs, manually enter them or upload via a file.
We recommend thoroughly reading our ‘How To Audit Redirects Using the SEO Spider‘ guide when uploading URLs in bulk. This guide provides more detail on how to correctly configure the SEO Spider to follow links until the final destination and map these all out in a single report.
Hopefully the above guide helps illustrate how to use the SEO Spider tool as a bulk redirect checker.