How would you like to learn how your competitors are attracting organic and paid traffic? If so, then you should check out SpyFu.
In this SpyFu review, I’ll go over the features of the tool. I’ll also explain its pros and cons.
SpyFu lives up to its name. It’s a tool that enables you to spy on other businesses.It’s all perfectly legal industrial espionage, though. All’s fair in love and capitalism.In fact, it’s quite possible that your competitors are using SpyFu to spy on your business. So you should return the favor.When you learn what other businesses in your industry are doing to enhance their visibility in the search results, you can imitate those strategies. That will give your brand greater exposure as well.
It’s astonishingly easy to use SpyFu. All you have to do is enter the domain name of a competitor.Yeah. That’s it.In response, SpyFu will give you a series of reports. They’re packed with data, charts, and key insights about organic and paid search results for that website.One of those reports is the SEO Overview. Use it to learn about:
The types of pages that link to the website
Flaws exposed by Google updates
The SEO Overview is a good starting point to gain some insight on your competitor’s organic strategy.
SpFu Review: Competitors
Unfortunately, you probably have more than one competitor.When you enter the domain in SpyFu, it won’t just show you info about that website. You’ll also learn about its competitors as well.Of course, those competitors are your competitors, too.Here’s what you can do with the competitor report:
Learn about the sites that are your toughest competitors
Get advanced warning of domains gaining on your keywords
Determine the value of the competitor clicks in search results
Lighten your workload by imitating a competitor’s strategy
The report will also show you how a Google algorithm update affects keyword rankings.
SpyFu also includes a tool called Kombat that will help you deliver the right keywords to your target audience.Here’s how it works: you select two other competing domains. Kombat will show you a report that compares your keywords with theirs.Use that report to learn about:
Keywords your competitors rank for, but you don’t
Keywords any competitor ranks for
Keywords you rank for but your competitors don’t
Keywords you and your competitors rank for
Remember: if you rank for certain keywords and your competitors don’t, that’s not necessarily a “win.” It could mean that there isn’t much of an audience for those keywords.
SpyFu Review: Keyword Groups
SpyFu groups your competitor’s organic keywords into segments. That will give you further insight into the company’s content strategy.Use the Keyword Groups report to:
Filter based on specific keywords
Export all grouped keywords into Excel using CSV format
Learn more about clicks, keyword expenses, and search volume
Refine your research using global or local searches
You might even gain some keyword inspiration when you see how SpyFu groups the search terms.
Although your competitors might have snagged some great keywords, it’s not likely that they’ve captured every keyword related to your niche.SpyFu’s SEO Keywords report gives you ideas by identifying keywords related to the search terms your competitors rank for.Here are some ways that you can use the SEO Keywords report:
Export the full list of keywords in CSV format
Learn the dollar value of a competitor’s total organic clicks
Filter the list of keywords so that you only see related keywords
Learn about the history of ranked content
Use the info from this report to imitate a competitor’s strategy.
SpyFu Review: Ranking History
It’s useful to see how well your competitors have ranked over time. That way, you’ll gain some insight about which of them is taking their SEO strategy seriously.Competitors with rankings that continually improve are the ones you need to watch out for.SpyFu’s Ranking History report will also show you how major algorithm updates like Panda affected competitor rankings.In fact, the line graph chart will show exactly where a website’s ranking took a turn. Currently, SpyFu has nine years worth of data available.The report isn’t limited to websites, though. You can track the rank of a specific web page over time as well.You can also filter the report with preset options like “keywords that gained ranks” or “fell from the top 10.”
Backlinks are an important part of a great SEO strategy. Fortunately, SpyFu shows you how your competitors are getting their link juice.Here are some ways that you can use the Backlinks report:
Find links that help other sites get a great rank
Target links that your competitors frequently use
Filter by specific page types (forums, blogs, etc.)
Find quality links and filter out webspam
SpyFu only shows backlinks that rank in the top 5 pages of Google.
SpyFu Review: PPC Overview
Some of your competitors might have a paid strategy as well as an organic strategy. SpyFu offers plenty of info about how they’re getting traffic with search ads.Use the PPC Overview report to gain the following insights:
Find a site’s paid keywords
Find a site’s ad spend history
Learn about keyword weaknesses and strengths
See the ad copy competitors are using to attract visitors
The report will also show you high-priority keywords that your own site is missing.
Guard against PPC threats with the Ad Competitors report. Learn about the domains that are spending on search ads and how they’re spending their marketing dollars.The report will also show you:
All domains bidding on your keywords
Changes in your competitors’ ad spend over time
Emerging threats to your keyword strategy
Use the report to establish a budget for your own ad spend.
SpyFu Review: PPC Keywords
How would you like to find your competitor’s most profitable keywords? You can do that with the PPC Keywords report.Here are some of the secrets you’ll uncover:
Every keyword a competitor has ever purchased
The competitor’s estimated monthly ad budget
How long a competitor has been advertising with a keyword
You can filter the report to focus on specific keywords.SpyFu also enables you to view the complete history of ad copy for a competitor’s ads over time. That will give you some insight as to how the marketing team optimized its ad strategy.
If you want to bid on the hottest keywords for your niche right now, you’ll love SpyFu’s AdWords Advisor.In a nutshell: the tool offers advice based on your competitors’ most successful strategies.AdWords Adviser also displays “buy ratings.” They’ll tell you how much bang for your buck you can expect to get when you run an ad with a specific keyword.You can even enter a few keywords of your own for niche-focused suggestions.
SpyFu Review: AdWords Templates
AdWords offers a great way to get the word out about your brand, but it’s a fairly complicated tool. Fortunately, SpyFu makes your life easier with AdWords templates that you can import.The templates use structured ad groups to keep your keywords organized. There’s at least one ad per ad group.All you need to do is plug in your niche-relevant keywords and you’re all set!
I mentioned at the very beginning of this article that it’s easy to get started with SpyFu because all you have to do is enter the name of a domain. That’s true, but you’re not limited to entering a domain name.You can also enter a keyword.So if you’re more interested in learning about keywords related to your niche than learning about competitors, by all means enter a keyword instead of a domain. SpyFu will give you a wealth of info about that search term.Here are the kinds of insights you’ll get from the Keyword Overview report:
Top domains that rank for the keyword
Search volume, value, and daily clicks for the keyword
History of rank changes for the keyword
Search engine result page (SERP) screenshots for the keyword so you trust the results
Keywords related to the keyword
URLs of the web pages that rank for the keyword
Use the report to develop a content strategy that will appeal to your target audience.
SpyFu Review: Rank Tracking
Once you’ve developed an SEO strategy based on the info you’ve gained from SpyFu, you’ll want to know if that strategy is drawing a crowd. SpyFu’s got you covered there, too.The tool offers a rank tracking report that will show you where your content ranks for a keyword over time. As of now, the tool tracks rank in Google and Bing.You can use the tool to track either PPC or organic keywords.Keep in mind: data is updated weekly. If you need more frequent updates, you’ll have to look for another tool.
SpyFu Review: Pricing
SpyFu is priced competitively. For just $39 per month, you get access to 5,000 tracked keywords and 10,000 top lists. There’s no cap on the number of search results or data exports at that price point.Also, if you go for an annual plan, the price drops to $33 per month.A more expensive plan will give you API access, more tracked keywords and top lists.Even the most expensive plan caps your API results at 10,000 rows, though.SpyFu offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. If you don’t like it, you can always ask for a refund.You can cancel any time via phone, live chat, or email. Nobody will ask you tough questions or require you to fill out a form.
SpyFu Review: Pros & Cons
So what do users like and not like about SpyFu? Here’s what some of them are saying online.First, the pros:
Reveals competitors you might not know about
Plenty of keyword data to develop a content strategy
Saves time on research by identifying the best keywords
Shows a competitor’s ROI
Allows you to learn from a competitor’s mistakes
No limits to how many reports you can run
Tutorials are helpful
Now, the cons:
User interface is a bit overwhelming
Limited data for some industries (life sciences or niche sport)
Not easy to tell which geolocations the rankings are coming from
A little slow at times
Data only available for US and UK
Ad spend is just an estimate
Wrapping Up This SpyFu Review
SpyFu offers competitive insights. You can use those insights to develop your own organic and paid search strategies.Even better: the tool is priced competitively and offers a 30-day, money-back guarantee. You really don’t have anything to lose by trying it out for a month.You do, however, have quite a bit to gain.
About the Author
John Lincoln is CEO of Ignite Visibility, one of the top digital marketing agencies in the nation. Named #1 SEO company in the USA, UK and Canada by Clutch.co and number 1 PPC company by 10BestPPCs, Ignite Visibility has been an Inc. 5,000 company in both 2017 and 2018. 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 book “Digital Influencer,” which was named one of the best new marketing books by Forbes and LinkedIn. Lincoln is consistently named one of the top digital marketing strategiest 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. His business mission is to help others through digital marketing.