John Lincoln

Complete Review of SEO Spyglass: Is It The Best Backlink Tool?

Have you ever wondered why some web pages make it to the top 10 of the search results and yours don’t?

SEO Spyglass will help you answer that question.

In fact, according to the product website, SEO Spyglass can give you that info “instantly.”

How does it do that? By analyzing the backlink profiles of the sites that made it to the top of the search engine results pages (SERPs).

Then, it provides you with a report so you can go and do likewise.

That’s not all that SEO Spyglass does, though. The tool includes quite a few useful features.

In this review, I’ll go over them one-by-one.

It’s Not Cloud-Based

An important caveat about SEO Spyglass: it doesn’t run in the cloud.

That means you’ll need to install software on your system.

Fortunately, the tool runs on a Windows, Mac, and even Linux OS. So chances are pretty good that you’re using a supported platform.

SEO Spyglass Review: Discover a Website’s Backlink Profile

First and foremost, SEO Spyglass enables you to check the backlink profile of a website.

It doesn’t just give you the links, though. I also provides useful data about each link, including its PageRank.

If you’re unfamiliar with PageRank, it’s a metric that identifies a page’s value as a backlink. The better the PageRank, the more “link juice” the page will pass to your site.

The more link juice you earn, the more likely it is that you’ll get a top rank.

Use the SEO Spyglass backlink report to see where your competitors are getting their backlinks and you aren’t. You could find several opportunities that will help you improve your site’s search presence.

SEO Spyglass review: find a website's backlinks

Uncover Keyword Anchor Text in Backlinks

SEO Spyglass also shows you the anchor text in backlinks pointing to a competitor’s site.

Why is that important? It helps establish relevance for keywords.

For example, let’s say a competitor of yours is selling conventional saltwater fishing reels. You check that competitor’s backlink profile and find that a number of backlinks are using the anchor text “conventional saltwater fishing reels.”

Now, if you Google “conventional saltwater fishing reels,” don’t be surprised to find that the competitor outranks your for that term. The anchor text informs Google about the nature of the destination page in a backlink.

Use the anchor text info to find opportunities about the phrases that you should use when pointing backlinks to your own website.

SEO Spyglass Review: See the Traffic for Each Backlink

Would you like to know how much traffic a competing website could receive from a specific backlink? SEO Spyglass can give you that info.

For each backlink identified, the tool will show you the Alexa Traffic Rank for each website that holds a backlink.

Of course, a website could receive a million hits per day and yet not one of those visitors will visit the web page that has the backlink. That’s something you’ll have to keep in mind.

Still, you increase the odds of people visiting your page when you get a backlink on a popular website. So it’s best to go after backlinks from sites with a high Alexa Traffic Rank.

SEO Spyglass review: see the traffic for each backlink
SEO Spyglass review: see the traffic for each backlink

Show the IP Addresses of Websites With Backlinks

Another thing SEO Spyglass will do: show you is the IP addresses of all the servers where your competitors have backlinks.

How will that help? If you find that a large percentage of the backlinks all come from the same IP address, that means your competitor could be practicing some black hat tactics.

You’ll almost certainly do better in the long run if you stick to white hat SEO.

View the Titles of Pages Where Your Competitor Has Backlinks

SEO Spyglass also lets you view the title of each page where your competitor has a backlink.

That will give you some insight as to the quality of the backlink itself. Remember: Google looks for relevance when evaluating the worth of a backlink.

For example, a tutorial article on how to catch blue marlin that includes a link to a site about conventional saltwater fishing reels is considered more relevant than a blog post with cat videos that includes the same link.

You can use the info in this report to find out if your competitors are outranking you because they have more relevant backlinks.

SEO Spyglass review: view titles of competitor's backlinks pages
SEO Spyglass review: view titles of competitor’s backlinks pages

Sort Links by Blogs and Forums

You can also sort your competitor’s backlink profile by blogs and forums.

That will help because if you notice that the competitor is getting a lot of backlinks from forums, then you can be pretty sure that the webmaster is using the forums to build a backlink profile.

You can probably outrank that site by getting backlinks from blogs and news sites.

SEO Spyglass Review: Sort Links by Homepages

SEO Spyglass also allows you to sort links by homepages.

If you see that your competitor has lots of links in homepages, it’s possible that somebody purchased those links.

That’s a violation of the Google Webmaster guidelines.

Again, if you’re competitor is practicing black hat tactics, it’s likely that Google will find out eventually. Play the long game by following the rules.

SEO Spyglass review: sort links by homepages
SEO Spyglass review: sort links by homepages

Identify Links from Directories

Your competitor might have links in DMOZ or the Yahoo directory. If that’s the case, SEO Spyglass will identify those backlinks for you.

You’re going to struggle if you can’t match your competitor by landing in those directories.

Calculate Each Backlink’s Value

You might have plenty of backlinks and your competitor might have just as many. So why is your competitor outranking you?

It might be due to the value of the backlinks.

Not all backlinks have the same value. As I mentioned above, some backlinks pass more link juice than others.

Fortunately, SEO Spyglass will tell you the value of each backlink. Look for opportunities to land links on high-value websites.

View the Domain Age of Sites With Backlinks

In terms of the Google ranking algorithm, there’s a certain level of credibility that comes with age.

Why? Because the folks at Google know that some people might start a website just to put a backlink in it.

So websites that have been around for a while tend to have more authority.

SEO Spyglass will show you the domain age of each website that has competing backlinks.

SEO Spyglass review: uncover domain age
SEO Spyglass review: uncover domain age

Check Data from Hundreds of Search Engines

You’re probably accustomed to seeing data from the “Big 3” search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo. However, SEO Spyglass allows you to check data on regional and foreign search engines.

That’s especially useful if you’re running geo-specific campaigns or would like to start marketing internationally.

Also, the more info you have from various search engines, the more likely you’ll know what to do to earn a great rank.

SEO Spyglass Review: Run a Custom SEO Report

How would you like a blueprint for SEO success? SEO Spyglass can give you that with a custom SEO report.

The report will show you all the steps you need to take to outrank your competitors.

Additionally, you can save your reports, email them to clients, or upload them to the web.

Reports are published in PDF format.


The good news about SEO Spyglass is that it’s a one-time fee.

In other words, there are no recurring monthly costs. You pay for it once and you’re done.

If you’ve shopped around for SEO tools, you know that many of them charge a monthly “rent.” That’s not the case here.

The Professional Edition of SEO Spyglass cost $124.75. The Enterprise Edition costs $299.75.

What’s the difference? The Enterprise Edition is designed for SEO shops. It offers more flexibility on reporting.

There’s also a free edition. It’s got a limited feature-set but it will give you an idea about whether or not the tool is right for your business.

Wrapping It Up

SEO Spyglass is a nifty backlink-checker. However, it’s limited in capabilities compared to some other, more “robust” tools.

If you’re really serious about SEO, you should probably fork over the cash for a tool like Ahrefs or SEMRush.

Yes, you’ll pay a high monthly fee for either of those options. But you do get what you pay for.

Still, if you’re sole focus on SEO right now is about backlinks, SEO Spyglass might be just the tool you’re looking for.

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John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Ignite Visibility is a 4x  Inc. 5,000 company. Ignite Visibility offers a unique digital marketing program tied directly to ROI with a focus on using SEO, social media, paid media, CRO, email, Amazon and PR to achieve results. Outside of Ignite Visibility, Lincoln is a frequent speaker and author of the books “Digital Influencer” and “The Forecaster Method.” Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketers in the industry and was the recipient of the coveted Search Engine Land “Search Marketer of The Year” award. Lincoln has taught digital marketing and Web Analytics at the University of California San Diego since 2010, has been named as one of San Diego’s most admired CEO’s and a top business leader under 40. Lincoln has also made “SEO: The Movie” and “Social Media Marketing: The Movie.” His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.

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