3WhiteHats have been using SEO Tools for Excel for a number of years. This piece of software is a little beauty and has come in really handy at our agency, especially seeing as many of our reports are created from Microsoft Excel documents.
The feature I’d like to explore today is Spider as we’ve been looking for a way to audit the performance of articles on the 3WhiteHats blog more quickly and accurately. Unlike other SEO spiders, SEO Tools Spider requires no migration from one piece of software to another, and it can pull in data from integrations – useful stuff from Majestic such as total referring domains and social media shares. You simply select the metrics you want from the left box and enter the URL - things like word count, titles, headings and Meta descriptions will help.
The scraper integration is really, really handy!
Usually I’d add a cell to the right of Meta description to count the Meta description's length. With Spider you set ‘warn if length’ and it automatically highlights offending Meta descriptions that are either too long or too short.
Next I’ve used XPathOnURL to extract information directly from the blog post. In our case we are going to extract the author name to help with our content audit. We’re using WordPress to host our blog, therefore the following XPath code will point the Scraper to the author name: //span[@class="author vcard"]
Other useful data you might want to extract include tags, categories, number of comments, number of images, alt text – I’d write a tutorial about this but you can learn the basics of XPath here.
Using XPathOnUrl with XPath input of: //span[@class=’author vcard’] gives us the following output:
Click generate and away Spider goes:
Once it has done its thing, you should be presented with a spreadsheet full of useful data of which you can add a filter, prune pages you don’t want to audit, and then get cracking with your content audit!
- If you are not getting enough pages, you may need to increase the ‘limit search total’ and change the ‘limit search depth’ values. However, this may have the undesired effect of taking longer for the software to crawl the website and longer for you to filter output.
- If you are collecting cache information from Google or ‘hitting’ particular servers often, you may find they stop you from collecting data. To overcome this head to ‘http settings’ and either add some proxies or experiment with the sleep between requests function.
- If my crawl is going to keep Excel hanging out of action, I’ll often run it on a virtual machine or remote desktop into another machine. This way, I can continue with other tasks while SEO Tools for Excel is busy.
- Integrate with Google Analytics, so we can include visitor data.
- Path exclusions / inclusion, so we can bypass or include certain directories.
- Conditional formatting set by warn if length is responsive to cell updates.
- Twitter share count for the URL, not just the domain.
- An option to exclude file types such as images from the crawl.
Are you using the Spider feature, SEO Tools for Excel or have a great piece of SEO software? Let us know what you think by commenting below, or talk to us on Twitter @3WhiteHats.
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Here we explore the Spider feature, as we’ve been looking for a way to audit the performance of articles on the 3WhiteHats blog more quickly and accurately.