Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Screaming Frog vs SEMrush: which one will serve you best as an SEO tool? This is the topic I explore in this article.

My short answer is that it depends on your place in the SEO world and your level of expertise. For example, your needs as an SEO agency or large company could be quite different from those of an individual or SEO freelancer.

I would recommend Screaming Frog to agencies. But Semrush is more user-friendly and is therefore better suited for individuals and most freelancers.

Both platforms offer extensive features. So, by diving deeper into each tool, I hope to guide you in making the right choice.

Screaming Frog vs SEMrush: An Overview

Here is a comparative glimpse into the two SEO powerhouses for site optimization and digital strategy.

Screaming Frog Overview

Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Screaming Frog is a desktop program widely recognized in the SEO community for its powerful and flexible website crawling capabilities.

It enables users to crawl websites’ URLs to analyze and audit technical and onsite SEO. The tool was developed by a UK-based company called Screaming Frog.

Screaming Frog is particularly appreciated for its utility in large-scale SEO campaigns where handling vast amounts of data and numerous web pages is required.

It provides a granular level of control and a clear window into how a website functions from an SEO perspective.

In addition, the following agency services are provided:

  • Search engine marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Pay-per-click management
  • Link building
  • Content marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Analytics consultancy
  • Conversion rate optimization

SEMrush Overview

SEMrush one of best SEO reporting tools
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

The SEMrush SEO audit tool is a popular SaaS platform. The software includes more than 55 tools divided into the following categories:

  • SEO
  • Content marketing
  • Market research
  • Advertising 
  • Social media marketing tools

SEMrush is designed for marketers who want an all-in-one platform to manage various aspects of their online presence and gain competitive intelligence. Its data-driven insights are pivotal for formulating effective digital marketing strategies.

In case you need the help of an expert in a specific field, you can find them in SEMrush Agency Partners. You can search by:

  • Services
  • Industry
  • Country
  • State
  • City

These agencies cover everything from advertising to web development.

SEMrush digital marketing experts.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Comparing Screaming Frog to SEMrush's Web Crawler

A web crawler, also known as a spider, is a software that browses the internet. This tool inspects a website's pages and structure to unearth technical SEO shortcomings.

By addressing those problems, you can boost your site's search engine performance.

Both web crawlers can find the following issues:

  • Status codes: Pages returning 300, 400, or 500 status codes 
  • Metadata issues
  • Directives, proper usage of Noindex and Nofollow
  • Broken links
  • Internal linking
  • Page response time to identify slow-loading pages
  • Image size and file format 
  • Site structure

Website Crawling

SEMrush crawler will report three types of problems according to SEO industry standards:

  • Errors (to be fixed first)
  • Issues 
  • Warnings (which you can fix when you have the time)

Some points regarding this crawler:

  • Only URLs belonging to the projects in your plan can be crawled. For example, in the Pro plan, you can only crawl URLs in your five projects.
  • You can schedule crawls.
  • You can get a historic report showing the differences between two consecutive crawls.

The Screaming Frog SEO spider is more flexible:

  • There are no limits to the number of URLs you can crawl. 
  • Since the program is installed on your machine, a crawl of a big website will take more resources and time.
  • You have the option to make a list of URLs that you would like to crawl.
  • Since Screaming Frog SEO spider is cheaper and you can crawl a large number of URLs, the price per crawl is lower.

Log File Analysis

SEMRush Log File Analysis.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

You can use log file analysis to examine server logs. The result provides information on search engine crawling patterns.

This analysis helps identify:

  • How often spiders visit a site
  • The pages they access
  • How the crawl budget is spent by the bot
  • Orphan pages
  • Audit Redirects
  • Which search bots crawl most frequently
  • Crawl errors found

Use the above results to optimize a website's search engine visibility and user experience.

SEMrush and Screaming Frog both include a Log File Analyser.

The SEMrush all-in-one SEO tool offers this functionality for free. If you would like to use the tool with Screaming Frog, the cost is $139 per year.

Screaming Frog and SEMrush: Comparing Features

Let’s dive deeper into a comparative analysis of Screaming Frog and SEMrush to determine the superior tool for your business by evaluating key factors critical to your decision-making process.

Screaming Frog Strengths

Here are some of Screaming Frog’s primary functions.

SEO Auditing

Quickly identify common SEO issues on a website, like:

  • Broken links  
  • Redirects (301s, 302s) 
  • URLs blocked by robots.txt
  • Metadata analysis 
  • Duplicate content
SEO Audit - Redirects.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Custom Extraction

You can use XPath, CSS Path, or Regex to collect any data from the HTML of a webpage for advanced SEO or content audits.

Visualization

It offers features to visualize site architecture and evaluate internal linking with interactive crawl and directory force-directed diagrams and tree graph site visualizations.

Exporting Data

You can export selected data for further analysis and reporting to:

Integration
Screaming Frog can integrate with:

  • Google Analytics
  • Google Search Console
  • PageSpeed Insights
  • APIs to fetch different types of data

SEMrush Strengths

SEMrush’s strength lies in the following areas:

Keyword Research tool

SEMrush wins with its comprehensive suite of keyword research tools. These are designed to help you find keywords to drive website traffic and outperform competitors in search rankings.

It has six specialized tools:

SEMRush Keyword Overview.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?
  • Organic Research
  • The Keyword Magic Tool
Semrush top keyword research tool - Keyword Magic.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Read this article dedicated to the Keyword Magic Tool to learn more.

  • Keyword Gap
  • Keyword Manager
  • Organic Traffic Insights

Competitive Analysis

With its competitive intelligence suite, SEMrush enables users to track their competitors' strategies in display advertising, organic and paid search, and link building.

On-Page SEO

SEMrush provides an SEO audit tool that evaluates your website for common SEO issues and provides recommendations for optimization.

Content Marketing

SEMrush's content marketing toolkit allows for topic research, content creation, and optimization advice and tracks content performance.

Social Media Management

You can schedule and post content on social media platforms and analyze the performance of your posts.

Market Analysis

SEMrush offers market insights such as industry trends and customer behavior analytics.

Reporting and Data Management

The platform enables you to create custom reports and dashboards to monitor and report on your website's performance metrics.

For more on SEMrush, read our SEMrush review and tutorial. It also covers building a content strategy using this tool.

SEMrush vs Screaming Frog: Customer Support and Training

As support and training, SEMrush has:

  • The Academy – learn how to use the SEO tools
  • GoodContent Hub, practical material
  • Help Center, manuals, videos, and how-to’s
  • Webinars
  • Blog – the industry’s latest news
  • Online support
SEMRush Training.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Screaming Frog has:

  • A user guide
  • Tutorial articles and videos
  • Email and ticket support
  • FAQs

Reporting in Screaming Frog and SEMrush

Screaming Frog and SEMrush have different reporting capabilities in terms of complexity and user-friendliness.

Screaming Frog Reporting

This SEO tool offers in-depth access to comprehensive crawl data for specialists who need to perform detailed analysis.

It allows you to examine raw data from every crawled page. That’s beneficial to people who have a high level of expertise in all aspects of technical SEO.

This level of detailed reporting benefits agencies that will export the raw data to Google Sheets and have the expertise to interpret it effectively.

Screaming Frog report.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Semrush Reporting

SEMrush is designed to generate more digestible reports, which are well-suited for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in their simplicity.

It offers a concise summary of a site's health and prioritizes the top issues that need attention. The SEMrush Site Audit interface provides an at-a-glance view of site performance.

Semrush Site Audit.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

The Compare Crawls report feature is valuable for tracking improvements and technical issues. This feature makes it easier to measure progress and validate SEO efforts.

If you have an SEO agency, you may also want to take a look at our article on the best SEO reporting tools.

Screaming Frog and SEMrush: Ease of Use

Comparing Screaming Frog and SEMrush SEO tools in terms of ease of use involves looking at the:

  • User interfaces
  • Complexity of features
  • Learning curve of each tool

Screaming Frog Ease of Use

  • Screaming Frog is a desktop-based application primarily focused on website crawling and site audit.
  • It has a more technical interface that might be intimidating for beginners but is quite powerful for experienced users familiar with SEO metrics and website architecture.
  • The software requires installation. It is known for its wealth of data and detailed analysis, which can sometimes lead to information overload for beginners.
  • There is a learning curve if you want to take full advantage of its custom extraction features and more advanced functionalities.

Semrush Ease of Use

  • SEMrush is a web-based platform that covers a broader range of digital marketing functions, including SEO, PPC, content marketing, social media, and competitive research.
  • It features a user-friendly dashboard that's navigable and well-organized, making it more approachable for beginners and non-technical users.
  • SEMrush provides guides within its tools, including tips on using them and insights into what the data means. This can be very helpful for new users.
  • Although SEMrush has complex features as well, it is generally considered to have a more gentle learning curve due to its design and user interface that guide users through its comprehensive functionality.

In summary, Screaming Frog is highly specialized and might require more technical expertise to navigate effectively.

At the same time, SEMrush is designed to be accessible to a broader range of users, from beginners to advanced, with a more intuitive interface.

Pricing: Screaming Frog vs SEMrush

For Screaming Frog, the paid version price is $259 per year. If you want the Log File Analyzer tool, the price is $139 per year. This translates to $33.16 per month.

Or you can take advantage of the free version, but it has some limitations.

Screaming Frog Pricing.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

SEMrush has three plans:
Pro at $129.95 per month
Guru at $249.95 per month
Business at $499.95 per month

You can create a free Trial account, and you have a 7-day money-back guarantee.

SEMrush pricing.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Screaming Frog and Semrush: Pros & Cons

Let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of each tool.

Screaming Frog Pros and Cons

Pros


  • Top crawling functions
  • Limited free plan
  • Price
  • Site Structure Analysis

Cons


  • Not a user-friendly UX for beginners
  • It is a desktop app

SEMrush Pros and Cons

Pros


  • Good keyword research capabilities
  • Bigger keywords database
  • Database of toxic domains
  • Easy-to-use UX
  • SaaS App

Cons


Main Alternatives to Screaming Frog and SEMrush

Here are the main alternative tools on the market.

SE Ranking

SE Ranking landing page.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

SE Ranking is a cloud-based SEO software suite for businesses, SEO professionals, and digital marketing agencies.

It offers a set of tools for:

  • Keyword research
  • Website ranking
  • Competitor analysis
  • Backlinks checking 
  • Site audits, and more

SE Ranking is known for its user-friendly interface and accurate data. This makes it a reliable resource for tracking and optimizing online visibility and analyzing SEO performance.

It’s cost-effective and scalable. SE Ranking is suitable for small and large businesses that want to improve their search engine presence.


SEO PowerSuite

SEO PowerSuite Reporting Software.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

SEO PowerSuite is a comprehensive set of desktop SEO tools that includes everything you need for on-page SEO, off-page optimization, competition analysis, and rank tracking.

It consists of four primary tools:

  • Rank Tracker for SERP monitoring
  • WebSite Auditor for on-page SEO and technical SEO audit
  • SEO SpyGlass for backlink research 
  • LinkAssistant for link building and management

SEO PowerSuite is versatile, with features catering to both beginners and seasoned professionals.

It offers in-depth reports and data analysis to help improve website rankings and online visibility, making it a valuable asset for any SEO campaign.


Moz Pro

Moz Pro SEO Reporting Software.
Screaming Frog vs Semrush: Which SEO Tool is Best For Your Needs?

Moz Pro is a robust SEO software suite that provides various tools to help improve a website's search engine visibility.

Key features include keyword research, site audits to identify SEO issues, rank tracking, backlinks analysis, and insights into competitor strategies.

Moz Pro also offers unique metrics like Page Authority and Domain Authority, designed to predict a site's performance in search results.

Its user-friendly interface and actionable insights make it a popular choice among SEO professionals and marketers aiming to build and maintain an optimized online presence.

Screaming Frog vs SEMrush: Which is Better?

If you need top keyword research and competitor analysis tools, use SEMrush.
It provides:

  • Content recommendations
  • Backlink strategies
  • Identify advertising opportunities.

And if you are looking to manage:

  • Search engine optimization strategies
  • Track performance
  • Improve search rankings.

SEMrush offers a broad suite of SEO tools suitable for all.

Screaming Frog is tailored for:

  • Technical SEO audit tasks
  • Website crawling 
  • Optimizing the structure of a website
  • Functionality that allows for exporting various data types.

Some of the above functions make Screaming Frog the tool of choice for SEO agencies.

Both tools offer excellent features – one is not necessarily better than the other. Your choice depends on your SEO expertise and functional requirements.

If you are particularly interested in SEO audits, take a look at our article on the best SEO audit tools. And if you need to improve your ranking, then check out the 7 best search engine positioning tools.

With so many SEO tools out there, the options can be confusing. But I hope you now have a better understanding of what Screaming Frog and SEMrush offer.

Tran Danh
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Tran Danh

I'm Tran Danh, the author behind Smart Passive Income (SPI), a blog dedicated to online business and entrepreneurship. I started this blog in 2008, following in the footsteps of Pat Flynn, the founder. Being one of the leading business blogs globally, SPI attracts over 2 million readers each month. Through my content, I aim to assist individuals in generating passive income from various online sources. Join me on this transformative journey as we delve into the world of online business and uncover the strategies and tactics that have led to tremendous success for myself and countless others.

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