SEO Spider FAQ

Why is the SEO Spider not finding a particular page or set of pages?

The SEO Spider finds pages by scanning the HTML code of the entered starting URL for <a href> links, which it will then crawl to find more links. Therefore to find a page there must be a clear linking path to it from the starting point of a crawl for the SEO Spider to follow. If there is a clear path, then these links or the pages the links are on must exist in a way the SEO Spider either cannot 'see' or crawl. Hence please make sure of the following:

  • The link is an HTML anchor tag, the SEO Spider does not execute JavaScript in the standard configuration, so links that exist only in JavaScript will not be ‘seen’ or crawled. If the site is built in a JavaScript framework, or has dynamic content, adjust the rendering configuration to 'JavaScript' under 'Configuration > Spider > Rendering tab > JavaScript' to crawl the website.
  • The link or linking page do not have a ‘nofollow’ directive preventing the SEO Spider from following the link. By default the SEO Spider obeys ‘nofollow’ directives unless the Follow internal nofollow option is checked.
  • The expected page(s) are on the same subdomain as your starting page. By default links to different subdomains are treated as external unless the Crawl all subdomains option is checked.
  • If the expected page(s) are in a different subfolder to the starting point of the crawl the Crawl outside start folder option is checked.
  • The linking page(s) are not blocked by Robots.txt. By default the robots.txt is obeyed so any links on a blocked page will not be seen unless the Ignore robots.txt option is checked. If the site uses JavaScript and the rendering configuration is set to 'JavaScript', ensure JS and CSS are not blocked by robots.txt.
  • You do not have an Include or Exclude function set up that is limiting the crawl.

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What happens when the licence expires?

When the licence expires, the SEO Spider returns to the restricted free lite version. The Spider’s configuration options are unavailable, there is a 500 URI maximum crawl and previously saved crawls cannot be opened.

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What additional features does a licence provide?

A licence removes the 500 URI crawl limit, allows you to save and upload crawls, opens up all the configuration options and the custom source code search, custom extraction and Google Analytics integration features. We also provide support for technical issues related to the SEO Spider for licensed users. In the same way as the free ‘lite’ version, there are no restrictions on the number of websites you can crawl with a licence. Licences are however, individual per user. If you have five members of the team who would like to use the licenced version, you will need five licences.

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Can I use my licence on more than one device?

Yes. The licence allows you to install the SEO Spider on multiple computers. Licences are individual per user. Please see section 3 of our terms and conditions for full details.

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Why can’t my Licence Key be saved?

The SEO Spider stores the licence in a file called licence.txt in the users home directory in a ‘.ScreamingFrogSEOSpider’ folder. You can see this location by going to Help->Debug and looking at the line labeled “Licence File”. Please check the following to resolve this issue:

  • Ensure you are able to create the licence file in the correct location.
  • If you are using a Mac, see the answer to this stackoverflow question.
  • If you are using Windows is could be the default user.home value supplied to Java is incorrect. Ideally your IT team should fix this. As a work around you can add: -Duser.home=DRIVE_LETTER:\path\to\writable\directory\ to the ScreamingFrogSEOSpider.l4j.ini file that controls memory settings.

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Is it possible to move my licence to a new computer?

Yes, please take a note of your licence key (you can find this under ‘licence’ and ‘enter licence key’ in the software), then uninstall the SEO Spider on the old computer, before installing and entering your licence on the new machine. If you experience any issues during this move, please contact our support.

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How do I renew my licence?

At the moment the best way is to simply purchase another licence upon expiry. Licences do not auto renew – so if you do not want to renew your licence you will not be charged and need to take no action.

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How much does the Screaming Frog SEO Spider cost?

As standard you download the lite version of the tool which is free. However, without a licence the SEO Spider is limited to crawling a maximum of 500 URIs each crawl. The configuration options of the Spider and the custom source code search feature are also only available in the licensed version. For £99 per annum you can purchase a licence which opens up the Spider’s configuration options and removes restrictions on the 500 URI maximum crawl. A licence is required per individual using the tool. When the licence expires, the SEO Spider returns to the restricted free lite version.

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What payment methods do you accept & from which countries?

We accept PayPal and most major credit and debit cards. Payment via American Express is covered here. The price of the SEO Spider is in pound sterling (GBP). If you are outside of the UK, please take a look at the current exchange rate to work out the cost. (The automatic currency conversion will be dependent on the current foreign exchange rate and perhaps your card issuer). We do not accept cheques (or checks!)

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I have purchased a licence, why have I not received it?

If you have just purchased a licence and have not received your licence, please check your spam / junk folder. Licences are sent immediately upon purchase. You can also view your licence(s) details and invoice(s) by logging into your account. Please also check your payment method. If you have paid via an e-cheque, then the licence will only be sent when it has cleared. Paypal explains this as well.

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Why is my credit card payment being declined?

There are a few reasons this could happen:

  • Incorrect card details: Double check you have filled out your card details correctly.
  • Incorrect billing address: Please check the billing address you provided matches the address of the payment card.
  • Blocked by payment provider: Please contact your card issuer. Screaming Frog does not have access to failure reasons. It’s quite common for a card issuer to block international purchases.

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How is the software delivered?

The software needs to be downloaded from our website, the licence key is delivered electronically by email.

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What is the reseller price?

We do not offer discounted rates for resellers. The price is GBP at £99 per year, per user.

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Where can I get licensing terms?

Licensing details can be found here.

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Can I get a quote in a currency other than GBP?

No, we only sell in GBP.

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Why won’t the SEO Spider crawl my website?

This could be for a number of reasons:

  • The site is blocked by robots.txt. A count of pages blocked by robots.txt is shown in the crawl overview pane on top right-hand site of the user interface. You can configure the SEO Spider to ignore robots.txt by going to the “Basic” tab under Configuration->Spider.
  • The site behaves differently depending on User Agent. Try changing the User Agent under Configuration->HTTP Header->User Agent.
  • The site requires JavaScript. Try looking at the site in your browser with JavaScript disabled after clearing your cache. The SEO Spider does not execute JavaScript by default. If the site is built in a JavaScript framework, or has dynamic content, adjust the rendering configuration to 'JavaScript' under 'Configuration > Spider > Rendering tab > JavaScript' to crawl it. Remember to ensure JS and CSS files are not blocked.
  • The site requires Cookies. Can you view the site with cookies disabled in your browser after clearing your cache? Licenced users can enable cookies by going to Configuration->Spider and ticking “Allow Cookies” in the “Advanced” tab.
  • The ‘nofollow’ attribute is present on links not being crawled. There is an option in Configuration->Spider under the “Basic” tab to follow ‘nofollow’ links.
  • The page has a page level ‘nofollow’ attribute. The could be set by either a meta robots tag or an X-Robots-Tag in the HTTP header. These can be seen in the “Directives” tab in the “Nofollow” filter. To ignore the NoFollow directive go to Configuration -> Spider -> and tick "Follow Internal 'No Follow'" and recrawl.
  • The website is using framesets. The SEO Spider does not crawl the frame src attribute.
  • The Content-Type header did not indicate the page is html. This is shown in the Content column and should be either text/html or application/xhtml+xml.

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Why does the SEO Spider freeze?

This will generally be due to the SEO Spider reaching its memory limit. Please read how to increase memory.

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Why do I get a “Connection Refused” response when connecting to a secure site?

You may get connection refused on sites that use stronger crypto algorithms than are supported by default in Java. Before going any further, check you have the latest version of Java installed as this fixes a lot of issues connecting to secure sites. If the problem persists, read on.

You will see a “Connection Refused” in the Status column on the SEO Spider interface. The log file will show a line like this:

2015-01-19 09:10:03,218 [SpiderWorker 1] WARN - IO Exception for url: 'https://www.example.com/' reason: 'javax.net.ssl.SSLHandshakeException: Received fatal alert: handshake_failure'

You can view the log file(s) by either going to the location shown for ‘Log File’ under Help->Debug, or downloading and unzipping the log files from Help->Debug->Save Logs.

Due to import restrictions Java cannot supply this stronger crypto support by default. You can however, install the Java higher strength crypto support by downloading the following:

For Java 8: Java 8 Security Fix For Java 7: Java 7 Security Fix
If you download, unzip and follow the instructions in the README.txt file you should be able to crawl your site successfully. Note that you can find where your <java-home> directory is set to by running up the SEO Spider and going to Help->Debug and looking at the Java section.

For more background information see here and scroll down to the section “Adding stronger algorithms: JCE Unlimited Strength”.

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Why do I get a “Connection Error” response?

Connection error, or connection timeout is a message when there is an issue in receiving a response at all. This is generally due to network issues or proxy settings. Please check that you can connect to the internet. If you have changed the SEO Spider proxy settings (under configuration, proxy), please ensure that these are correct (or they are switched off).

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Why do I get a “403 Forbidden” error response?

The 403 forbidden status codes occurs when a web server denies access to the SEO Spider’s request for some reason. If this happens consistently and you can see the website in a browser, it could be the web server behaves differently depending on User Agent. In the premium version try adjusting the User Agent setting under Configuration->HTTP Header->User Agent. For example, try crawling as a bot, such as ‘Googlebot Regular’, or as a browser, such as ‘Chrome’. If this happens intermittently during a crawl, it could be due to the speed the Spider is requesting pages overwhelming the server. In the premium version of the SEO Spider you can reduce the speed of requests. If you are running the ‘lite’ version you may find that right clicking the URL and choosing re-spider will help.

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Why is the character encoding incorrect?

The SEO Spider determines the character encoding of a web page by the “charset=” parameter in the http Content-Type header, eg: “text/html; charset=UTF-8” You can see this in the SEO Spider’s interface in the ‘Content’ columns (in various tabs). If this is not present in the http header, the SEO Spider will then read the first 2048 bytes of the html page to see if there is a charset within the html. For example – “meta http-equiv=”Content-Type” content=”text/html; charset=windows-1255″ If this is not the case, we continue assuming the page is UTF-8. The Spider does log any character encoding issues. If there is a specific page that is causing problems, perform a crawl of only that page by setting the maximum number of URLs to crawl to be 1, then crawling the URL. You may see a line in the trace.txt log file (the location is – C:UsersYourprofile.ScreamingFrogSEOSpidertrace.txt): 20-06-12 20:32:50 INFO seo.spider.net.InputStreamWrapper:logUnsupportedCharset Unsupported Encoding ‘windows-‘ reverting to ‘UTF-8’ on page ‘http://www.example.com’ java.io.UnsupportedEncodingException: windows-‘. This could be an error on the site or you may need to install an additional language pack. The solution to fix this is to specify the format of the data by either the Content-Type field of the accompanying HTTP header or ensuring the charset parameter in the source code is within the first 2048 bytes of the html within the head element.

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Why is the SEO Spider not finding images?

There are generally four reasons for this:

  • The images are loaded using JavaScript. Try viewing the page in your browser with JavaScript disabled to see if this is the case. The SEO Spider does not execute JavaScript by default. If the site is built in a JavaScript framework, or has dynamic content, adjust the rendering configuration to 'JavaScript' under 'Configuration > Spider > Rendering tab > JavaScript' to crawl it. Remember to ensure JS and CSS files are not blocked.
  • The images are hosted on a Content Delivery Network (CDN) so do not appear in the Images tab, but are present in the External & Response Codes tabs.
  • The images are hosted on a subdomain different to the one being crawled.
  • The images are blocked by robots.txt.

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Why can’t I view the graphs?

If you’re using Ubuntu and are unable to view the graphs, this is because the SEO Spider makes use of the JavaFX library for its graphing function. This requires java 7 from Oracle to be installed. This is an optional step, but required if you would like the Spider to display graphs/charts etc. Click here to view our Java 7 Installation Guide

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Does the SEO Spider crawl PDFs?

The SEO Spider will check links to PDF documents. These URLs can be seen under the PDF filter in the Internal and External tabs. It does not parse PDF documents to find links to crawl.

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Why won’t my crawl complete?

First ensure the Spider is still crawling the site and if so what the URLs it has been finding look like. Depending on the URLs the Spider has been finding will explain why the crawl percentage is not increasing:

  • URLS seem normal – The Spider keeps finding new URLs on a very large site. Consider splitting the crawl up into sections.
  • Many similar URLs parameters – The Spider keeps finding the same URLs with different parameters, possibly from faceted navigation. Try setting the query string limit to 0 (Configuration->Spider, “Limit Number of Query Strings” in the “Limits” tab).
  • There are many long URLs with parts that repeat themselves – There is a relative linking error where the Spider keeps finding URLs that cause a never ending loop. Use the exclude feature to exclude the offending URLs.

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Why does the Installer take a while to start?

Because Windows Defender is running a security scan on it, this can take up to a couple of minutes. Unfortunately when downloading the file using Google Chrome it gives no indication that it is running the scan. Internet Explorer does give an indication of this, and Firefox does not scan at all. If you go directly to your downloads folder and run the installer from there you don’t have to wait for the security scan to run.

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Why are the fonts so small on my high res display?

Because the SEO Spider to not obeying your windows scaling settings. You must choose the Windows Look and Feel by going to Configuration -> User Interface, selecting “Enable Windows Look and Feel” and restarting the SEO Spider.

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Why does the SEO Spider user interface run slowly on my MacBook Pro?

There is a bug in the Java graphics library (JavaFX) that the SEO Spider uses for the graphs. This only affects the latest MacBook Pro – Late 2013 model with Intel Iris Pro GPU. If you are affected you will see the following message under Configuration->User Interface: mac_config_user_interface A bug has been raised with Oracle who are looking into this, we currently don’t have any information on when a fix will be released. We will up this FAQ when we have that information. In the mean time, there are two work arounds available. You can either run the application in “Low Resolution Mode”, keeping the graphs, or disable the graphs. There is no need to do both.

1) – Set the SEO Spider to be opened in “Low Resolution Mode”. To do this:

  • Quit the SEO Spider if it is currently open.
  • In the Finder, choose Applications from the Go menu.
  • In the Applications folder that opens, click the Screaming Frog SEO Spider icon so it is highlighted.
  • Choose Get Info from the File menu.
  • Place a checkmark next to “Open in Low Resolution” to enable Low Resolution mode. If this option is not displayed, then you do not have a Retina display MacBook Pro, and this is not the reason for the SEO Spider running slowly.
  • Start the SEO Spider
You can read more about this on the Apple website here.

2) – You can disable the graphs by going to Configuration->User Interface and unticking the ‘Enable Graphs’ option (as show above). This should fix the issue, but we do also still support version 2.40 which you can download and use, which simply doesn’t have the graphs.

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The Spider GUI doesn’t have the latest flat style used in Yosemite

Unfortunately we are at the mercy of Oracle to update their Mac look and feel to more closely match the new style introduced in Mac OS X Yosemite. There is a Java bug related to this at JDK-8052173. This will be updated in a future Java release.  

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How can I open multiple instances of the SEO Spider?

To open additional instances of the SEO Spider open a Terminal and type the following: open -n /Applications/Screaming\ Frog\ SEO\ Spider.app/

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How do I provide feedback?

Feedback is welcome, please just follow the steps on the support page to submit feedback. Please note we will try to read all messages but might not be able to reply to all of them. We will update this FAQ as we receive additional questions and feedback.

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How do I use the configuration options?

You cannot use the configuration options in the lite version of the tool. You will need to buy a licence to open up this menu, you can do this by clicking the ‘buy a licence’ option in the Spider’s interface under ‘license’.

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What do each of the configuration options do?

Please read our user guide, specifically the configuration options section.

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How do I bulk export all images missing alt text?

You can bulk export data via the ‘bulk export’ option in the top level navigation menu. Simply choose the ‘images missing alt text’ option to export all references of images without alt text. Please see more on exporting in our user guide.

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How is the response time calculated?

It is calculated from the time it takes to issue an HTTP request and get the full HTTP response back from the server. The figure displayed on the SEO Spider interface is in seconds. Note that this figure may not be 100% reproducible as it depends very much on server load and client network activity at the time the request was made.

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How do I increase memory?

Please see the how to increase memory section in our user guide.

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Where can I see the pages blocked by robots.txt?

You can simply view URLs blocked via robots.txt in the UI (within the ‘Internal’ and ‘Response Codes’ tabs for example). Ensure you have the ‘Show internal URLs blocked by robots.txt’ configuration ticked under the ‘Configuration > Spider > ‘Basic’ tab. Disallowed URLs will appear with a ‘status’ as ‘Blocked by Robots.txt’ and there’s a ‘Blocked by Robots.txt’ filter under the ‘Response Codes’ tab, where these can be viewed. The ‘Blocked by Robots.txt’ filter also displays a ‘Matched Robots.txt Line’ column, which provides the line number and disallow path of the robots.txt entry that’s excluding each URL. If multiple lines in robots.txt block a URL, the SEO Spider will just report on the first encountered, similar to Google within Search Console. URLs blocked by robots.txt If you’re using the older 2.40 Mac version of the SEO Spider, you can view the ‘Total Blocked by robots.txt’ for a crawl on the right-hand side of the user interface in the ‘Summary’ section of the overview tab. This count includes both internal and external URLs. Currently, there isn’t a way of seeing which URLs have been blocked in the user interface. However, it is possible to get this information from the SEO Spider log file, after a crawl. Each time a URL is blocked by robots.txt, it will be reported like this: 2015-02-18 08:56:09,652 [RobotsMain 1] INFO - robots.txt file prevented the spider of 'http://www.example.com/page.html', reason 'Blocked by line 2: Disallow: http://www.example.com/'. You can choose to ignore robots.txt files in the Spider configuration. You can view the log file(s) by either going to the location shown for ‘Log File’ under Help->Debug, or downloading and unzipping the log files from Help->Debug->Save Logs.

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Can the SEO Spider crawl staging or development sites that are password protected or behind a login?

The SEO Spider supports basic and digest authentication. If you visit the website and your browser gives you a popup requesting a username and password, that will be basic or digest authentication, which is supported. If the login screen is contained in the page itself, this will be a custom login system that is not supported. Often sites in development will also be blocked via robots.txt as well, so make sure this is not the case or use the ‘ignore robot.txt configuration‘. Then simply insert the staging site URL, crawl and a pop-up box will appear, just like it does in a web browser, asking for a username and password. authentication Enter your credentials and the crawl will continue as normal. You cannot pre-enter login credentials – they are entered when URLs that require authentication are crawled. This feature does not require a licence key. Try to following pages to see how authentication works in your browser, or in the SEO Spider.

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How do I block the SEO Spider from crawling my site?

The spider obeys robots.txt protocol. Its user agent is ‘Screaming Frog SEO Spider’ so you can include the following in your robots.txt if you wish the Spider not to crawl your site – User-agent: Screaming Frog SEO Spider Disallow: / Please note – There is an option to ‘ignore’ robots.txt and change user-agent, which is down to the responsibility of the user entirely.

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Why does the number of URLs crawled not match the number of results indexed in google or errors reported within Google Search Console?

There’s a number of reasons why the number of URLs found in a crawl might not match the number of results indexed in Google (via a site: query) or errors reported in the SEO Spider match those in Google Search Console. First of all, crawling and indexing are quite separate, so there will always be some disparity. URLs might be crawled, but it doesn’t always mean they will actually be indexed in Google. This is an important area to consider, as there might be content in Google’s index which you didn’t know existed, or no longer want indexed for example. Equally, you may find more URLs in a crawl than in Google’s index due to directives used (noindex, canonicalisation) or even duplicate content, low site reputation etc. First of all, the SEO Spider only crawls internal links of a website at that moment of time of the crawl. Google (more specifically Googlebot) crawls the entire web, so not just the internal links of a website for discovery, but also external links pointing to a website. Googlebot’s crawl is also not a snapshot in time, it’s over the duration of a site’s lifetime from when it’s first discovered. Therefore, you may find old URLs (perhaps from discontinued products or an old section on the site which still serve a 200 ‘OK’ response) or content that is only linked to via external sources in their index. The SEO Spider won’t be able to discover URLs which are not linked to internally, like orphan pages or URLs only accessible by external links. There are other reasons as well, these may include –

  • The set-up of the SEO Spider crawl. As default the SEO Spider will respect robots.txt, respect ‘nofollow’ of internal and external URLs & crawl canonicals but not execute JavaScript. So please check your configuration. Please remember, Google may have been able to previously access these URLs which are now blocked, nofollowed etc.
  • The SEO Spider does not execute JavaScript by default. If the site is built in a JavaScript framework, or has dynamic content, adjust the rendering configuration to 'JavaScript' under 'Configuration > Spider > Rendering tab > JavaScript' to crawl it. Remember to ensure JS and CSS files are not blocked.
  • Google include URLs which are blocked via robots.txt in their search results number. Don’t forget, robots.txt just stops a URL from being crawled, it doesn’t stop the URL from being indexed and appearing in Google.
  • Google crawl XML sitemaps. The SEO Spider does not currently crawl XML sitemaps by default, you currently have to upload them in list mode. The reason we decided against crawling XML sitemaps by default is that it shouldn’t make up for a site’s architecture. If a page is not linked to in the site’s internal link structure, and only in an XML sitemap, it will help it be discovered and indexed, but the chances are it won’t perform very well organically. This is obviously because it won’t be passed any real PageRank, like a proper internal link. So we believe, it’s useful to analyse websites via the natural crawling and indexing process of internal links to get a better idea of a site’s set-up. There are some scenarios where it does make sense to crawl XML sitemaps though and we may make this possible in the future as an option.
  • Google’s results number via a site: query can be pretty unreliable!
  • Google’s error reporting can be pretty slow and outdated!

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Can I crawl more than one site at a time?

Yes. There are two ways you can do this: 1) Open up a multiple instances of the SEO Spider, one for each domain you want to crawl. Mac users check here. 2) Use list mode (Mode->List). Remove the search depth limit (Configuration->Spider->Limits and untick “Limit Search Depth”, untick “Ignore robots.txt” (Configuration->Spider->Basic) then upload your list of domains to crawl.

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Why is my sitemap missing some URIs?

Canonicalised, Noindex and paginated URIs are not included in the sitemap by default. You may choose to include these in your site map by ticking the appropriate checkbox(s) in the “Pages” tab when you export the site map. Please read our user guide on XML Sitemap Creation.

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Why is my regex extracting more than expected?

If you are using a regex like .* that contains a greedy quantifier you may end up matching more than you want. The solution to this is to use a regex like .*?. For example if you are trying to extract the id from the following JSON: "agent": { "id":"007", "name":"James Bond" } Using "id":"(.*)" you will get: 007", "name":"James Bond If you use "id":"(.*?)" you will extract: 007

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Why doesn’t GA data populate against my URLs?

The URLs in your chosen Google Analytics view have to match the URLs discovered in the SEO Spider crawl exactly, for data to be matched and populated accurately. If they don’t match, then GA data won’t be able to be matched and won’t populate. This is the single most common reason. If Google Analytics data does not get pulled into the SEO Spider as you expected, then analyse the URLs under ‘Behaviour > Site Content > Landing Pages’ and ‘Behaviour > Site Content > All Pages’ depending on which dimension you choose in your query. Try clicking on the URLs to open them in a browser to see if they load correctly. You can also export the ‘GA & GSC Not Matched’ report which shows a list of URLs returned from the Google Analytics & Search Analytics (from Search Console) API’s for your query, that didn’t match URLs in the crawl. Check the URLs with source as ‘GA’ for Google Analytics specifically (those marked as ‘GSC’ are Google Search Analytics, from Google Search Console). The URLs here need to match those in the crawl, for the data to be matched accurately. If they don’t match, then the SEO Spider won’t be able to match up the data accurately. We recommend checking your default Google Analytics view settings (such as ‘default page’) and filters such as ‘extended URL’ hacks, which all impact how URLs are displayed and hence matched against a crawl. If you want URLs to match up, you can often make the required amends within Google Analytics or use a ‘raw’ unedited view (you should always have one of these ideally). Please note – There are some very common scenarios where URLs in Google Analytics might not match URLs in a crawl, so we cover these by matching trailing and non-trailing slash URLs and case sensitivity (upper and lowercase characters in URLs). Google doesn’t pass the protocol (HTTP or HTTPS) via their API, so we also match this data automatically as well.  

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Why doesn’t the GA API data in the SEO Spider match what’s reported in the GA interface?

There’s a number of reasons why data fetched via the Google API into the SEO Spider, might be different to the data reported within the Google Analytics Interface. First of all, we recommend triple checking that you’re viewing the exact same account, property, view, segment, date range and metrics and dimensions. LandingPagePath and PagePath will of course provide very different results for example! If data still doesn’t match, then there are some common reasons why –

  • The Google API can just return slightly different metrics – We’ve tested this and sometimes the data from the API, can just be a little different to what’s reported in the interface.
  • We use default sampling, and your settings in Google Analytics might be different.
  • We use ga:hostname dimension and a ga:hostname=yourdomain.co.uk filter, to remove other domains which might be using the same GA tracking code as your core domain. Google does not do this by default in the interface, so landing page sessions for your homepage, might be inflated for example.
We actually recommend using the Google Analytics API query explorer and viewing the data that comes back, with the following query parameters which we use as default (obviously using the account, property and view of the site you’re testing) – Google Analytics API explorer You should see that data returned via the API matches pretty closely to what is reported within the SEO Spider.

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Why does the spider show in the task bar but not on screen?

The spider is opening off screen, possibly due to a multi monitor setup that has recently changed. To move the spider on to the active monitor use Alt + Tab to select the spider, then hold in the Windows key and use the arrow keys to move the Spider window into view.

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What IP address and ports does the SEO Spider use?

The SEO Spider runs from the machine it is installed on, so the IP address is simply that of this machine/network. You can find what this by typing “IP Address” into Google.

The local port used for the connection will be from the ephemeral range. The port being connected to will generally be port 80, the default http port or port 443, the default https port. Other ports will be connected to if the site being crawled or any of its links specify a different port. For example: http://www.example.com:8080/home.html

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How many users are permitted to use one licence?

Licences are individual per user. A single licence key is for a single authorised user. If you have five users using five copies of the Screaming Frog SEO Spider software, you will require 5 separate licences. Please see section 3 of our terms and conditions for full details.

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Why is my Licence Key saying it’s invalid?

If the SEO Spider says your ‘licence key is invalid’, then please check the following, as the licence keys we provide always work.

  • Ensure you are using the username we provided for your licence key, not the username you chose for the account created when purchasing the licence. This is by far the most common issue we see.
  • Copy and paste the username and licence key, they are not designed to be entered manually.
  • Please also double check you have inserted the provided ‘Username’ in the ‘Username’ field and the provided ‘Licence Key’, in the ‘Licence Key’ field.
If your licence key still does not work, then please contact support with the details.

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I have lost my licence or invoice, how do I get another one?

If you have lost your licence key or invoice from the 22nd of September 2014 onwards, please login to your account to retrieve the details. If you have lost your account password, then simply request it again via the form. If you purchased a licence before the 22nd of September 2014, then please contact support@screamingfrog.co.uk with your username or e-mail you used to pay for the premium version.

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How do I buy a licence?

Simply click on the ‘buy a licence’ option in the SEO Spider ‘licence’ menu or visit our purchase a licence page directly. You can then create an account & make payment. When this is complete, you will be provided with your licence key to open up tool & remove the crawl limit. If you have just purchased a licence and have not received your licence, please check your spam / junk folder. You can also view your licence(s) details and invoice(s) by logging into your account. Please note, the account login has only been active from the 22nd of September 2014. If you purchased before this date, it won’t be available and you can contact us for any information.

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Will an SEO Spider licence work in the Log File Analyser?

No, the Screaming Frog SEO Spider is a separate product to the Log File Analyser. They have different licences, which will need to be purchased individually. You can purchase a Log File Analyser licence here.

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Do you offer discounts on bulk licence purchases?

Yes, please see our SEO Spider licence page for more details on discounts.

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Do you accept payment via American Express?

Not directly, but by selecting the “PayPal” option on our Billing page: amex Then choosing “Check Out as Guest” when you get to PayPal you should be able to use your Amex card. This option is available in most countries. If you don’t get this option, please use another card, PayPal or contact us via support and you can set-up to pay via bank transfer.

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I’m a business in the EU, can I pay without VAT?

Yes. To do this you must have a valid VAT number and enter this on the Billing page during checkout. Select business and enter your VAT number as shown below: enter_vat_number Your VAT number will be checked against the VIES system and VAT removed if it is valid. The VIES system does go down from time to time, so if this happens please try again later. Unfortunately we cannot refund VAT once a purchase has been made.

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Do you work with resellers?

Resellers can purchase an SEO Spider licence online on behalf of a client. Please be aware that licence usernames are automatically generated from the first and last names used in the Billing Address entered during checkout. If you require a custom username, then please request a PayPal invoice in advance. For resellers who are unable to purchase online with PayPal or a credit card and encumber us with admin such as vendor forms, we reserve the right to charge an administration fee of £50.

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What is the part number?

There is no part number or SKU.

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Where can I get company information?

On our contact page.

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Where can I get Form W-9 information?

Screaming Frog is a UK based company, so this is not applicable.

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Why won’t the SEO Spider start?

This is nearly always due to an out of date version of Java. If you are running the PC version, please make sure you have the latest version of Java. If you are running the Mac version, please make sure you have the most up to date version of the OS which will update Java. Please uninstall, then reinstall the Spider and try again.

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Why am I experiencing slow down or hanging upon exports & saving crawls?

This will generally be due to the SEO Spider reaching its memory limit. Please read how to increase memory.

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Why am I experiencing a ‘Could not create the Java virtual machine’ message after increasing memory?

If you have just increased your memory allocation and now receive a ‘Could not create the Java virtual machine’ error message like this – could not create java virtual machine It will be due to one of the two following reasons –

  • 1) You’re using the 32-bit version of Java (which is the most common reason). You need to manually choose and install the 64-bit version of Java. If you already have the 64-bit version of Java, then uninstall all versions of Java and reinstall the 64-bit version again manually.
  • 2) You have allocated more memory than you actually have available. Please check how much RAM you have available and lower it accordingly. If you have an older 32-bit machine, you probably won’t be able to increase memory much more than 1,024MB anyway.
Please note, this is covered in the memory section of the user guide as well.

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Why do I get a “Connection Refused” response?

Connection refused is displayed in the Status column when the SEO Spiders connection attempt has been refused at some point between the local machine and website. If this happens for all sites consistently then it is an issue with the local machine/network. Please check the following:

  • You can view websites in your browser.
  • Make sure you have the latest version of Java installed.
  • That software such as ZoneAlarm, anti-virus or firewall protection software (such as the premium version of Avira Antivirus) are not blocking your machine/SEO Spider from making requests. The SEO Spider needs to be trusted / accepted. We recommend your IT team is consulted on what might be the cause.
  • The proxy is not accidentally ‘on’, under Configuration->Proxy. Ensure the box is not ticked, or the proxy details are accurate and working.
  • If you are trying to crawl a secure site (https://) please see here.
If this is preventing you from crawling at all on a particular site, please see try the following:
  • Changing the User Agent under Configuration->HTTP Header->User Agent.
If this is happening intermittently during a crawl then please try the following:
  • Adjusting the crawl speed / number of threads under Configuration->Speed.
  • In the ‘lite’ version where you cannot control the speed, try right clicking on the URL and choosing re-spider.

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Why do I get a “Connection Timeout” response?

Connection timeout occurs when the SEO Spider struggles to receive an HTTP response at all and the request times out. It can often be due to a slow responding website or server when under load, or it can be due to network issues. We recommend the following –

  • Ensure you can view the website (or any websites) in your browser and check their loading time for any issues. Hard refresh your browser to ensure you’re not seeing a cached version.
  • Increase the default response timeout configuration of 10 seconds, up to 20 or 30 seconds if the website is slow responding.
  • Decrease the speed of the crawl in the SEO Spider configuration to decrease load on any servers struggling to respond. Try 1 URL per second for example.
  • Ensure the proxy settings are not enabled accidentally and if enabled that the details are accurate.
  • Ensure that ZoneAlarm, anti virus or firewall protection software (such as the premium version of Avira Antivirus) are not blocking your machine from making requests. The SEO Spider needs to be trusted / accepted. We generally recommend your IT team who know your systems are consulted on what might be the cause.

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Why do I get a “503 Service Unavailable” error response?

The 503 Service Unavailable status code occurs when a web server denies access to the SEO Spider’s request for some reason. If this happens consistently and you can see the website in a browser, it could be the web server behaves differently depending on User Agent. In the premium version try adjusting the User Agent setting under Configuration->HTTP Header->User Agent. For example, try crawling as a bot, such as ‘Googlebot’, or as a browser, such as ‘Chrome’. If this happens intermittently during a crawl, it could be due to the speed the Spider is requesting pages overwhelming the server. In the premium version of the SEO Spider you can reduce the speed of requests. If you are running the ‘lite’ version you may find that right clicking the URL and choosing re-spider will help.

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Why are page titles &/or meta descriptions not being displayed/displayed incorrectly?

If the site or URL in question has page titles and meta descriptions, but one (or both!) are not showing in the SEO Spider this is generally due to invalid HTML markup between the opening html element and the close head element. The HTML markup between these elements in the source code has to valid, without errors, for page titles and meta descriptions to be parsed and collected by the SEO Spider.

The SEO Spider reads up to a maximum of 20 meta tags. So if there are over 20 meta tags and the meta description is after the 20th meta tag, it will be ignored.

The SEO Spider does not execute JavaScript by default. Modifications to any HTML elements via JavaScript will not be seen by the SEO Spider. If the site uses JavaScript, amend the rendering configuration to 'JavaScript' under 'Configuration > Spider > Rendering tab > JavaScript' to crawl it. Remember to ensure JS and CSS files are not blocked.

We recommend validating the html using the free W3C markup validation tool. A really nice feature here is the ‘Show Source’ button, which can be very insightful to identify specific errors.

We recommend fixing any html markup errors and then crawling the URL(s) again for these elements to be collected.

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How do I view alt text of images hosted on a CDN?

A content delivery network (or CDN) will either operate from an external domain or a sub domain and hence if one is being used to serve images they will typically appear under the ‘External’ tab, rather than the ‘Images’ tab. Please ensure robots.txt is not blocking the SEO Spider from crawling the CDN. To view alt text of the images, you can still use the ‘image info’ tab in the lower window pane still. To export all image alt text, simply use the ‘bulk export’ and ‘all in links’ export. When you have the data in a spread sheet, simply filter for ‘type’ as ‘IMG’ and the destination URL to ‘does not contain’ ‘yourwebsite.com’. This will then display all images and their alt text on the CDN.

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Why do I receive a warning saying Chrome does not support Java 7 on Mac OS X?

This warning is about running Java in your web browser, not Java Script. If you download Java 7 and need to run Java content (Java Applets for example) you will have to visit those web sites using either Safari or Firefox. Google are working on a 64-bit version of Chrome for MAC OSX that will alleviate this issue. In our testing internally over a 6-month period using the Chrome browser every day alongside Java 7, we haven’t experienced any websites where there was an issue, ever. So, we recommend upgrading and you’ll probably never notice a problem. You can always revert if there was an issue. Alternatively, we do still support version 2.40 which uses Java 6 and can be downloaded here. The only difference is the graphs, which require Java 7 for the feature.  

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Why do I get a ‘Project open failed java.io.EOFException’ when attempting to open a saved crawl?

This means the crawl did not save completely, which is why it can’t be opened. EOF stands for ‘end of file’, which means the SEO Spider was unable to read to the expect end of the file. Java end of file error This can be due to the SEO Spider crashing during save, which is normally due to running out of memory. This can also happen if you exit the SEO Spider during save, or your machine crashes for example. Unfortunately there is no way to open or retrieve the crawl data, as it’s incomplete and therefore lost. Please also consider increasing your memory allocation, which will help reduce any problems saving a crawl in the future.

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Why isn’t my Include/Exclude function working?

Please note Include/Exclude are case sensitive so any functions need to match the URL exactly as it appears. Functions will only be applied to URLs that have not yet been discovered by the Spider. Any URLs that have been discovered and queued for crawling will to be affected, hence it is recommended the crawl is restarted between updates to ensure the results are accurate. Functions will not be applied to the starting URL of a crawl or URLs in list mode. .* is a the regex wildcard

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Why do I get “error opening file for writing” when installing?

Try running the file as administrator by right clicking the installer and choosing “Run as administrator”. Alternatively log in to an administrator account. You may need to request assistance from your IT department depending on your company setup.

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Do you support Macs below OS X Version 10.7.3 (& 32-Bit Macs)?

From version 2.50 the SEO Spider requires Java 7 or above to run. This is only available on OS X 10.7.3 and above, which means older 32-bit Macs (the last of which we understand were made 8-9 years ago) will not be able to use the latest version of the SEO Spider. Newer 64-bit Macs which haven’t yet updated their version of OS X will need to update their OS before installing Java. We do still support version 2.40 for OS X versions below 10.7.3 (and 32-bit) Macs which can be downloaded here. The only difference is the graphs, which require Java 7 for the feature. Features added in later versions such as Graphs, Google Analytics and Search Analytics Integration are not supported.

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Why does the SEO Spider open then immediately close?

This is a known java 8 bug relating to fonts. You can see details of this bug here.

The issue is around the use of non-standard fonts. If you restore standard fonts the SEO Spider will be able to start. To do this, open the “Font Book” application and choose File->Restore Standard Fonts. The SEO Spider should now be able to start without issue.

The removed fonts will now appear in the folder /Library/Fonts (Removed). You can then add them back in one by one, so you can work out and avoid the one(s) that are causing the issue.

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Why do I get a message about installing Java – it’s already installed?

If the SEO Spider shows a pop up saying: “Screaming Frog SEO Spider needs Java 7 or greater.” and you already have installed Java, it sounds like you have multiple versions installed. Please uninstall Java then reinstall.

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How do I submit a bug / receive support?

Please follow the steps on the support page so we can help you as quickly as possible. Please note, we only offer full support for premium users of the tool although we will generally try and fix any issues.

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What operating systems does the SEO Spider run on?

The SEO Spider runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It’s a Java application and requires a Java 8 runtime environment or later to be to run. You can check here to see the system requirements to run Java. You can download the SEO Spider for free and try it. Mac: If you are using OS X 10.7.2 or lower please see this faq. Linux: We provide an Ubuntu package for Linux. If you would like to run the SEO Spider on a non-Debian based distribution please extract the jar file from the .deb and run it manually. Windows: The SEO Spider can also be run on the server variants and Windows 10. Please note that the rendering feature is not available on older operating systems.

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How do I bulk export all image alt text?

You can bulk export data via the ‘export’ option in the top level navigation menu. Simply choose the ‘all links’ option to export all images and associated alt text found in our crawl. This export actually includes data of all link instances found in our crawl, so please filter for images using the ‘type’ column in Excel. Please see more on exporting in our user guide.

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How does the Spider treat robots.txt?

The Screaming Frog SEO Spider is robots.txt compliant. It checks robots.txt in the same way as Google. So it will check robots.txt of the (sub) domain and follow directives for all robots and specifically any for Googlebot. The tool also supports URL matching of file values (wildcards * / $) like Googlebot. Please see the above document for more information or our robots.txt section in the user guide. You can turn this feature off in the premium version.

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How many URI can the Spider crawl?

The SEO Spider cannot crawl an unlimited number of URLs, it is restricted by memory allocated. There is not a set number or pages it can crawl, it is dependent on the complexity of the site and a number of other factors. Generally speaking with the standard memory allocation of 512MB, the SEO Spider can crawl between 5K-100K URLs of a site. However, you can increase the SEO Spider’s memory allocation and crawl into hundreds of thousands of URLs. As a very rough guide, a 64bit machine with 8GB of RAM will generally allow you to crawl a couple of hundred thousand URLs. We recommend crawling large sites in sections. You can use the configuration menu to just crawl HTML (rather than images, CSS or JS), avoid crawling external links, exclude certain sections of the site or only 'include' others. Alternatively, if you have a nicely structured IA you can crawl by directory (/holidays/, /blog/ etc). Please see our 'crawling larger websites' section in the user guide. The tool was not built to crawl entire sites with many hundreds of thousands or millions of pages, as it currently uses RAM rather than a hard disk database for speed and flexibility.

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Why does the URI completed total not match what I export?

The ‘Completed’ URI total is the number of URIs the SEO Spider has encountered. This is the total URI crawled, plus any ‘Internal’ and ‘External’ URI blocked by robots.txt. Depending on the settings in the robots.txt section of the ‘Configuration > Spider >Basic’ menu, these blocked URI may not be visible in the SEO Spider interface. If the ‘Respect Canonical’ or ‘Respect Noindex’ options in the ‘Configuration > Spider > Advanced’ tab are checked, then these URI will count towards the ‘Total Encountered’ (Completed Total) and ‘Crawled’, but will not be visible within the SEO Spider interface. The ‘Response Codes’ Tab and Export will show all URLs encountered by the Spider except those hidden by the settings detailed above.

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Do you collect data & can you see the websites I am crawling?

No. The Screaming Frog SEO Spider does not communicate any data back to us. All data is stored locally on your machine in its memory. The software does not contain any spyware, malware or adware (as verified by Softpedia) and it does not ‘phone home’ in anyway. You crawl from your machine and we don’t see it! Google APIs use the OAuth 2.0 protocol for authentication and authorisation, and obviously the data provided via Google Analytics is only accessible locally on your machine. We don’t (and technically can’t!) see or store any data ourselves.

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Why does the number of URLs crawled (or errors discovered) not match another crawler?

First of all, the free ‘lite’ version is restricted to a 500 URLs crawl limit and obviously a website might be significantly larger. If you have a licence, the main reason an SEO Spider crawl might discover more or less links (and indeed broken links etc), than another crawler is simply down to the different default configuration set-ups of each. As default the SEO Spider will respect robots.txt, respect ‘nofollow’ of internal and external URLs & crawl canonicals. But other crawlers sometimes don’t respect these as default and hence why there might be differences. Obviously these can all be adjusted to your own preferences within the configuration. While crawling more URLs might seem to be a good thing, actually it might be completely unnecessary and a waste of time and effort. So please choose wisely what you want to crawl. We believe the SEO Spider is the most advanced crawler available and it will often find more URLs than other crawls as it crawl canonicals and AJAX similar to Googlebot which other crawlers might not have as standard, or within their current capability. There are other reasons as well, these may include –

  • User-agent, speed or time of the crawl may play a part.
  • Some other crawlers may use XML sitemaps for discovery and crawling. The SEO Spider does not currently crawl XML sitemaps by default, you currently have to upload them in list mode. The reason we decided against crawling XML sitemaps by default is that it shouldn’t make up for a site’s architecture. If a page is not linked to in the sites internal link structure, and only in an XML sitemap, it will help it be discovered and indexed, but the chances are it won’t perform very well organically. This is obviously because it won’t be passed any real PageRank, like a proper internal link. So we believe, it’s useful to analyse websites via the natural crawling and indexing process of internal links to get a better idea of a sites set-up. There are some scenarios where it does make sense to crawl XML sitemaps though and we may make this possible in the future as an option.
  • Some other crawlers might crawl analytics landing pages, or URLs in Google Search Console Tools top pages. Again, this is not the natural crawling and indexing process, but might be something we consider in the future.

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How do I create an XML sitemap?

Read our ‘How To Create An XML Sitemap‘ tutorial, which explains how to generate an XML Sitemap, include or exclude pages or images and runs through all the configuration settings available.

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How can I extract all tags matching my XPath?

You will need to extract one value per extractor using an index selector. If you want to select all the h2 elements from a page, configure extractor 1 to get the first: //h2[1] Extractor 2 to get the second: //h2[2] If you run out of extractors you will have to do a separate crawl to grab any additional elements.

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How do I extract multiple matches of a regex?

This isn’t possible. Only the first match will be returned. What you will need to do is adjust your regular expression such that there is only 1 match. The following html has 2 <h1> tags: <html> <head> <title>2 h1s</title> </head> <body> <h1>h1-1</h1> <h1>h1-2</h1> </body> </html> To extract the first h1, we can use: <h1>(.*?)</h1>. To extract the second one, we could use something like:</h1>.*<h1>(.*?)</h1>

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Why am I experiencing slow down?

There are a number of reasons why you might be experiencing slow crawl rate or slow down of the SEO Spider. These include –

  • If you’re performing a large crawl, you might be reaching the 512mb memory capacity of the Spider. Learn how to increase the Spider’s memory to crawl more.
  • Slow response of the site or server (or specific directives for hitting them too hard)
  • Internet connection
  • Problems with the site you are crawling
  • Large pages or files
  • Crawling a large number of URIs

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Do you have an affiliate program?

No, we do not have an affiliate program for the SEO Spider software at this time.

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