Scrape Google SERPs with Screaming Frog

Scrape Google SERPs with Screaming Frog
Google Scraping

You may have heard of Screaming Frog SEO Spider is the go-to tool for analyzing and finding links to your website. It’s a powerful web crawler that allows you to export data from websites, find broken links, check title tags, meta descriptions, and more. But did you know that it can also be used for Google SERP scraping without an API? In this article, we will show beginners how to scrape Google SERPs with Screaming Frog so you can get all the information about what people are searching for in one place!

Before you start, you might have a few questions:

Is it legal to scrape Google?

Google does not take legal action against scraping, likely for self-protective reasons. Google tests the User-Agent (The browser type) and automatically rejects User-Agents that seem to originate from possible automated bots.

Why do we want to scrape Google search results?

Analyzing Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) provides insight into the top search results for a specific keyword or topic. You can use this information to determine how to rank your website in search results better.

All that said don’t be an idiot and get your IP blocked by Google. Please, respect Google’s crawl limits (noted in the tutorial)

This tutorial will teach you how to scrape a Google SERP using Screaming Frog.

Alternative Scraping Tools

You can use open-source python alternatives like Beautifulsoup or Octoparse, but I find this method 10x easier to set up to scrape data.

Configure Screaming Frog

Set Screaming Frog to List Mode

List Mode
Building a Search Scraper – List Mode

Uncheck all items in Configuration > Spider > Crawl

Spider Configuration
Spider Configuration

Add XPath Selectors in Screaming Frog

Set your Custom Extraction using the settings below.

Custom Extraction
Custom Extraction

Then add the XPath Name, Selector, Code, + “Extract Text” from the webpage. This step will parse out the HTML and provide you with clean data. You can change these settings by looking at the source code to extract different items.

Extraction Settings
Extraction Settings
#Page Titles
//h3[@class="LC20lb DKV0Md"]
 
#URLs
//div[@class="r"]/a[1]/@href
 
#Meta Descriptions
//div[@class="s"]/div/span[@class="st"]

Set your User-Agent

Under Configuration > User-Agent, set a user-friendly agent.

User-Agent Settings
User-Agent Settings

Chrome, Firefox, Safari shouldn’t give you any issues.

User-Agent Configuration
User-Agent Configuration

Respect Google

Don’t crawl too fast. In Configuration > Speed, set the Max Threads to 1.0, checked the Limit URL/s, and set the Max URL/s to 0.8. If you want to crawl faster, I recommend using proxies to hide your IP address and a captcha breaker, so Google doesn’t ban you.

Thread Speed
Thread Speed

Enter your Crawl

In the last step, now you need to enter your search query. Under Upload > Enter Manually.

This will also work on scraping LinkedIn, Amazon, Bing with a little bit of tweaking.

Crawl Settings
Crawl Settings for the Google Scraper
#Google Query
https://www.google.com/search?q=your+keyword+phrase
 
#Number
https://www.google.com/search?q=your+keyword+phrase&num=50
 
#Location
https://www.google.com/search?q=your+keyword+phrase&num=50&near=chicago,+il

The results will show up horizontally

Crawl Results
Crawl Results

To pull “People also ask,” I recommend using Ahrefs or AlsoAsked.com to get accurate results.

Transpose feature in Excel

In Excel, you will want to use the Transpose feature to filter your web scraping results. Select the desired cells you would like to change and copy (CMD+C on a Mac) to transpose the data. Then choose Paste Options > Transpose. Since the organic results are horizontal, you can export the results into a CSV.

The same method works in Google Sheets to transpose Google Search Results.

Transpose in Excel
Transpose in Excel Spreadsheets

All search commands in one spot:

Now that you’ve learned how to scrape Google SERPs with Screaming Frog, here are a few other uses for screaming frog:


Published on: 2021-03-10
Updated on: 2021-10-15

Avatar for Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands

Isaac Adams-Hands is SEO Director with SEO North, where he helps the team plan marketing goals that are keyword-optimized and measurable for over 30 clients simultaneously. He has worked at Microsoft, The institute of chartered accountants in Australia, Auto Trader, Le Cordon Bleu, and Algonquin College in various Digital Marketing Roles. Isaac is qualified as a Full-stack developer, Server Administrator, and Cyber Security expert, adding additional experience to his Search Engine Optimization knowledge. His Inuit heritage brought him to the Arctic to hunt and fish for most summers, which grew his passion for 4-wheelers and dirtbikes.