There are lots of other broken link tools available. We even put together a detailed comparison of those broken link tools. However, the most common tool is a crawl tool. How do those tools work and how is SpringTrax different than a crawl tool?
Crawl tools, as the name suggests, crawl a website to look for broken links. What that means is that those tools send a computer program to your website, and that computer program looks at all the links on your website to determine if any of those links on your site are broken.
A crawl tool is limited to finding broken links on just your website. A crawl tool can't tell you about broken links that exist anywhere else on the web. That includes broken links to your website that exist in search results, social networks, or other websites.
We've seen that broken links to your site somewhere else on the web account for around 85-90% of your site's broken links. As a result, crawl tools miss out on lots of the 404 errors your visitors encounter.
The bigger problem we have with crawl tools is that they ignore visitors. Are visitors clicking on those broken links? If no visitors are reaching a broken page, is it really worth investing the time to fix those broken pages compared to everything you have to do on your site? At minimum, if no visitors are encountering broken links, you can put fixing your broken pages at a lower priority.
At SpringTrax, we monitor your site to detect every 404 error people encounter on your site. Because we monitor visitors, we can detect every source the visitor came from. One news website using SpringTrax found hundreds of broken links they didn't realize they had.
SpringTrax offers a complete picture of every broken page on your site, from every source. We then use this information to help you determine which broken pages affect visitors the most, so that you know how critical those 404 errors are.
With all of that said, we aren't completely against crawl tools. Crawl tools let you quickly scan your website to see if you have any broken links on your site. Although not a complete look at broken links, this quick scan of your site will help you find broken links before your visitors find broken links.
Our suggestion is to rely on crawl tools after major updates of your website to make sure you aren't introducing new broken links to your visitors. Then, use SpringTrax to continually monitor your site to find every broken links visitors encounter from every source.