Spyfu Review: Competitor Website Analysis Made Easy

spyfu review

Spyfu is one of the old guards of SEO tools. It’s still more than capable to deliver the SEO and PPC goods of your site and competitors. But it needs to make necessary changes to compete with the best tools in the industry.

INTERFACE

Researching SEO data for your website and competitors is a breeze. The Overview pages provide you with everything you need to know about the site.

USEFULNESS

Spyfu is best if you want to build an SEO and PPC strategy in the US or UK. Therefore, brands outside both countries are better off using a different SEO tool.

USABILITY

Aside from the tremendous keyword data it offers, the tool makes SEO and PPC reporting a breeze, with one-click report creation that you can customize.

EFFECTIVENESS

Despite its limitations, Spyfu delivers the goods to people who want to make the most out their competitor analysis to create their campaigns.


WHAT IS SPYFU?

Spyfu is a competitor research tool that helps you analyze the SEO and PPC strategies of your competitors.

Therefore, instead of starting from scratch, you can take a peek at what other similar sites are doing using Spyfu. The goal here is to find out what works for them and replicate their tactics on your site.

WHAT DOES SPYFU DO?

As a competitor website analysis tool, Spyfu can do a lot of tasks related to that. In fact, you can develop a full-fledged SEO strategy for your website using the data gathered using this tool.

If you’re an SEO freelancer or work for an agency, you can manage clients by tracking your progress and sending them reports.

But before I get ahead of myself, below are Spyfu features that you can use:

SEO Research allows you to extract vital SEO information about your competitors.

spyfu - seo overview

Below are things you can do from this feature:

  • SEO Overview – Get a summary about a site’s SEO performance such as keywords, backlinks, and more.
  • Competitors – Check out sites that share the same keywords as the site you entered here.
  • Kombat – Compare a site with the top two sites ranking for the same keywords as you do on organic search. See the keywords they all share and the keywords the other two sites rank for and the other doesn’t.
  • Keyword Groups – See keywords the site is ranking for organized according to the same phrases and terms.
  • SEO Keywords – Shows organic keywords of a site and their respective rankings. It also breaks down the keywords according to different variables like search volume, difficulty, and more.
  • Ranking History – Reveals the history of keyword rankings across the different algorithm updates throughout the years.
  • Backlinks – Lists down the types of backlinks the site has and their metrics like organic traffic, domain strength, and more.
  • SEO Reports – Download a quick report of the site and send them to prospects. Use this to show opportunities to capitalize as an SEO freelancer so you can land them as clients.

PPC Research shows you the estimated monthly of a site and its competitors for PPC keywords.

spyfu - ppc overview

If you’re an SEM freelancer, then you’ll find using the features below the most:

  • PPC Overview – Shows a bird eye’s view of a website’s monthly ad spend and and websites vying for the same keywords.
  • Competitors – Breaks down the ad keywords of a site and its competitors. Also shows how much each site overlaps with the site your entered.
  • Kombat – Shows a Venn diagram of the entered site and its top two competitors regarding their keywords.
  • Keyword Groups – Organizes PPC keywords according the shared terms and phrases.
  • PPC Keywords – Reveals the performance of the site’s PPC keywords based on costs, clicks, and more.
  • Ad History – Shows the different PPC ads the site launched over time and the keywords each ad targeted.
  • AdWords Advisor – Shows potential PPC keywords the site should buy based on the competitors who bought the same keywords for their ad campaigns.
  • AdWords Templates – Choose from pre-built ad templates handcrafted by Spyfu’s in-house ads expert to help you jumpstart your campaign.

Keyword Research lets you drill down on your niche and industry to find low-hanging fruit to optimize for SEO or bid on AdWords.

spyfu - keyword research

Below are things you can do for your keyword research:

  • Keyword Overview – Gives you the lowdown about the search term you entered.
  • Related Keywords – Provides you with keyword suggestions similar to the initial one you searched.
  • Advertiser History – Lists down websites that spend ads for the keyword. Also shows you the different versions of ad copy the sites launched.
  • Ranking History – Shows the top 10 pages ranking for the keyword on SERPS through the years.
  • Backlinks – Gives you the page URLs from domains where you should get a backlink from to rank for the keyword.
  • Keyword Grouping – Lets you analyze keywords in bulk and analyze each using Spyfu data such as monthly searches, difficulty, and others.
  • SERP Analysis – Gives you an overview of a keyword’s SERPs along with other keyword data.
  • AdWords Advisor – Suggests keywords you should consider buying ads for based on your initial keyword.

Spyfu is one of the link building tools that lets you find partners and opportunities for a site to grow its ranking on SERPs.

spyfu - backlinks

Use this feature on Spyfu to do the following:

  • Backlinks – Find potential link partners to help grow your ranking for the keyword you entered.
  • Backlinks Outreach – Leverage social outreach to warm up prospects before getting backlinks from their websites. In here, you can create a campaign containing contact details of people that match your specs. You can then reach out to them via social media before you can ask for links back to your site.

Browse through lists of domains and keywords compiled by Spyfu as requested by other users to help you build your SEO and/or PPC campaigns.

spyfu - list builder

Below are things you can do using this feature:

  • Domain Top Lists – Find lists of domains based on different prerequisites, i.e. sites with the most ad spend, most organic traffic with Twitter accounts, and others.
  • Keyword Top Lists – Show lists of SEO and PPC keywords according to description. Most of the lists pertain to ad spend for each keyword.
  • Custom Lists – Request a list that you want Spyfu to compile and include for you in this section.
  • Leads – Find leads you can reach out to using filters to find the right type of prospects for your business.

You can monitor the keywords your site is currently ranking for or those you’re working to improve.

spyfu - tracking

You can organize keywords into groups and tags so you can increase your productivity when tracking them.

From here’ you can also monitor the performance of your outreach campaign. You can label and create notes for each prospect to keep you on top of things.

Reports lets you create, well, reports for the websites you manage.

spyfu - reports

You can create SEO and/or AdWords reports to show clients your progress with their websites. With just a few clicks of a button, you can create a beautiful report that shows your KPIs in seconds.

HOW DOES SPYFU WORK?

Now that we’ve discussed what Spyfu can do, it’s time to put its features into action.

In this review, I will only discuss how to use Spyfu to increase your organic traffic. I won’t delve deep into how you can use it for PCC purposes since I have no authority or experience to discuss it in depth with you.

Analyzing websites

While people associate Spyfu as an SEO competitor analysis tool, you can use it to gain a better understanding of your site’s performance.

You can do this using the SEO or PPC Research. The latter only makes sense to use if you or your clients are launching an ad campaign.

If not, go to SEO Research to see how Spyfu views your site’s organic reach.

spyfu - seo overview - inbound links

Aside from information regarding a site’s organic keyword, the overview shows you its inbound links. We’ll discuss this in depth later.

spyfu - seo overview - competitors

On the Competitors section, you will see the top competitors the site has. It also shows a graph of the total number of keywords the sites are ranking in a month.

You can toggle the graph to show monthly clicks or value the sites are getting from their keywords.

spyfu - seo overview - kombat

Kombat is my favorite feature of the tool. It automatically compare the site you entered with the top two competitors with the most shared keywords with you. The tool then shows a Venn diagram that represents how many keywords each site has.

From here, you can identify your site’s “weaknesses” which are keywords that the top competitors are ranking for but not the main site.

This helps you cut your keyword research time since the keywords you should be optimizing for are handed to you on a silver platter!

Other information you’ll see from this page are the following:

  • Most Valuable Keywords – those with the highest monthly clicks on SERPs and thus have the highest click value
  • Newly Ranked Keywords – those breaking the top 50 of Google search for your site
  • Keyword Rank Gains – those that increased its keyword rankings
  • Keyword Rank Losses – those that decreased its keyword rankings
  • Page One Keywords – those that appear on top of organic search
  • Almost There Keywords – those that almost on top of SERPs – just need a little bit more push!
  • Keywords that Just Made the First Page – those that appear on the top 10 of SERPs – probably keywords that you’re working hard for to rank
  • Keywords that Just Fell Off the First Page – those that dropped out of the top 10 of Google search

Judging from the data above, you’ll be hard-pressed to find another tool that present its SEO keyword data like Spyfu!

If you are analyzing your site, you can take away insights that you can use for your SEO strategy. For example, you can further optimize pages with target keywords that are almost on top of SERPs or just entered the top 10.

Using SEO Overview to analyze your competitors, you can take keywords they’re currently ranking for and create a better version of their page on your site.

Researching for keywords

Just when you think gathering keyword data from Spyfu can’t get any easier, its Keyword Research is more than happy to prove your wrong.

Upon entering the keyword on the tool, you will see a great overview of it:

spyfu - keyword research - overview 1
spyfu - keyword research - overview 2

I love the estimated clicks data for each analyzed keyword. This shows you how many people are clicking on the results instead of the ads or featured snippets. The higher the percentage is, the more reason you should optimize for it!

Another cool feature of Spyfu’s Keyword Research is the Questions section. Most keyword research tools possess this feature. But Spyfu shows lots of questions compared to the ones I’ve used.

spyfu - keyword research - questions

It shows you basic data like keyword difficulty and search volume. You can also filter the results according to your specifications. But again, the volume of questions it gathered is what impressed me the most.

You can use the most searched questions as supporting pages to the page optimized for your main keyword. You can also use them to create an FAQ page about the topic.

spyfu - seo overview - organic search ranking analysis

Scrolling down the page, you will see the SERP analysis for the keyword.

Aside from showing you the type of page ranking for the term, you can see the Domain Strength of each, the Domain Diversity, and the number of results in which the keyword appears in the title and URL.

Other metrics found in the Keyword Research include:

  • Also ranks for – Keywords that websites are ranking for aside from the keyword you typed
  • Also buys ads for – Keywords that people bid ads for related to the main one
  • Top AdWords Buy Recommendations – Keywords that Spyfu suggest you bid for in your campaign
  • Most Successful Advertisers and Their Best Ads – Domains that bid for the keyword and had the highest ranking ones
  • Organic Ranking History – Shows pages that historically ranked for the keyword
  • Inbound Links (Backlinks) – List of pages you should try and get a backlink from to rank for the keyword
  • Current Ads – Ads launched by businesses who bid for the keyword

Building links

Spyfu has a feature that lets you find links to rank for your site. But while it’s not worth writing about, I’ll at least try and take a stab at it.

From the Backlinks page, you can search for the domain or keyword.

spyfu - backlinks - backlinks

If you entered the latter, you will see pages where you should acquire a link from to increase your ranking for the keyword. You can determine the quality of the page based on the organic clicks of the domain or page.

However, it doesn’t give you any ideas on how to get a backlink from it. It just throws you the information with the assumption that you know what to do else.

But this is where the Backlinks Outreach comes in.

What it does is take the contact information of prospects the tool finds for you using the keyword you entered.

spyfu - backlinks - backlinks outreach

This feature works pretty much like an outreach tool, as the name suggests. You can manage the prospects, add notes to each, and lets you warm them up before asking for a backlink on their site.

The concept is sound and viable. But it ends up sounding like a free CRM tool. Backlinks Outreach just doesn’t have enough features to help it stand out from the pack and make it useful for people.

Creating reports for clients and leads

Spyfu makes it easy for users to create reports with just a few clicks of a button. And what makes this feature is that the reports actually do look good!

Whether it’s for generating leads for your SEO business or keeping clients updated with your progress, there’s something for everyone on Spyfu.

First, you must choose between SEO and PPC report for your client or lead.

spyfu - reports - my recon reports

After entering the domain you want to analyze, you need to choose the keywords that you want to feature the report. If you don’t have a list of keywords, you can just choose “All SEO Keywords.” Spyfu will get information from its database.

spyfu - reports - competitors

Then determine the competitors that you want to compare with the domain. You can replace or remove the competitors automatically added by the tool.

And just like that, you’ll be able to create a report similar to this one:

spyfu - reports - seo dashboard

Click on the links from the Table of Contents to go directly to that section of the report.

spyfu - reports - seo dashboard 1

You can change the appearance and contents of the report before sending them to the client.

spyfu - reports - customize

With just a few minutes of setting up the report, there’s no way you can’t create a winning report that’ll convert leads into clients and clients into repeat customers!


SPYFU PRICING: HOW MUCH DOES SPYFU COST?

spyfu pricing

Spyfu has a clear and simple pricing structure for customers.

There are three plans: Basic, Professional, and Team. All plans offer unlimited searches and exports. The only difference is the monthly limit for sales leads, weekly tracked keywords, and top lists results.

For the Professional and Team plans, you can access custom branded reporting for your clients. So, if you’re running an SEO agency working with multiple clients, you’re better off choosing between the two. But for website owners and entrepreneur, you can do away with the Basic plan.

If you subscribe for a yearly plan, you can save even more money compared to the monthly plan.

SPYFU REVIEW: PROS AND CONS

PRO: Unlimited searches and downloads

The problem with other SEO tools is that you can only search for keywords, research for domains, and download reports for a certain number of times every week or month.

If your run out of credits in the middle of your research, you have to wait for the next cycle, whether it’s tomorrow or next month, to refresh them. This is a cumbersome because it cuts you off from your SEO work and throws you off-rhythm.

Most importantly, you can’t maximize your productivity because you have no choice but to wait instead of getting deep into your research.

With Spyfu, you won’t have this problem at all. You can research as many domains or keywords as you want anytime, anyplace. This allows you to get your research done fast for as many clients or websites as you can.

CON: Limited database

The bigget drawback with Spyfu is that it only supports US and UK databases. Granted, both are some of the biggest databases around. Still, people with non-US and -UK clients won’t have any use for Spyfu.

Not to mention, you cannot drill own your research to specific counties or cities in the UK and US. For example, if you’re searching for a keyword, you will see data across the US. You can’t filter the search volume from a particular city in the US.

This makes Spyfu less attractive to people doing local SEO for clients.

PRO: Comprehensive SEO and PPC data

For what it’s worth, Spyfu shows and presents data better than the best SEO tools.

From the SEO and PPC Overviews, you can get a clearer picture on how a website is performing in lieu of its competitors. You will immediately have access to vital search marketing data and dive deeper into these metrics with a few clicks.

For instance, form the SEO Overview, you can compare ranking organic keyword among the site’s top competitors to immediate give you ideas on how to approach your keyword research. Clicking on the Kombat section lets you compare the sites and see simialr and distinct keywords all sites are ranking for in SERPs.

CON: Link building feature needs work

Spyfu does a valiant effort by helping users determine which domains and prospects they should get links from to increase their keyword rankings. However, most of the features aren’t fully realized

Backlinks is Spyfu’s version of backlink .

The Backlinks Outreach is an interesting concept, but is hardly a novel one. Basically, it works like an outreach tool but doesn’t have the necessary outreach data to help users make informed decisions.

Don’t get me wrong – both features are useful in their own way. However, they feel under-cooked and need more seasoning to be truly valuable to users.

PRO: Client-friendly

If you’re using Spyfu for clients, then you can help create reports and pull out data from the tool with just one click.

You can download information from a page as a PDF and submit them to clients for easy reference. Also, you can create reports using different metrics and variables to help show to them the effectiveness of your campaign.

There is even a white label option for the Pro and Team plans. This helps you create custom reports with your branding in it to make you look much more professional and respectable to leads and clients.

COMPETITORS

Spyfu is as good as it gets when it comes to spying on your competitor’s SEO and PPC activities. However, if you’re looking for another tool that can also spy on competitors and do other things to help you develop an effective SEO strategy for your site, then consider the tools below. For a breakdown of the different Spyfu alternatives, click here.


SEMrush

Spyfu Review: Competitor Website Analysis Made Easy 1

SEMrush is one of the most popular SEO tools in the market. Aside from competitor research, the tool can also audit your website for SEO issues, help you create optimized content, and reach out to prospective link partners. It’s a more comprehensive tool than Spyfu but at a much steeper price.


Moz

moz keyword research

Moz is one of the more popular SEO tools in the market. It’s undergone lots of changes through the years, but it remains a very steady and stable tool for monitoring your rankings and backlinks. It doesn’t help you conduct PPC research and is quite expensive compared to Spyfu. But for the things it can do, it does them rather well.


iSpionage

what is ispionage - organic keywords

iSpionage is the direct competitor of Spyfu. As an SEO competitor research tool, it does the same things that Spyfu does. The difference is its white-label features so you can show data from the tool labeled under your brand. It arguably has a lower learning curve compared to Spyfu due to its simple and straightforward design and UX.


FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Below are the most common questions people ask about Spyfu. The answers here should help you decide if Spyfu is the right tool for your SEO and PPC needs.

According to Spyfu, their roll-up estimates have a 90% accuracy. It is not promising a 100% because there is always a margin for error for providing estimates of data using their calculations. This goes for all SEO tools in general.

Also, the data you see from the results came from the cached page of SERPs that it uses as reference. From the dashboard, you will see a “View Cached Page” beside “Export as PDF” just below the menu. All the data you see comes from what the tool captures from the cached SERPs.

No. Spyfu is a premium SEO tool with plans as low as $33/month (paid annually). If you sign up for the Professional plan, the first month costs $39/month, before the succeeding $78/month kicks in.

Spyfu uses information from search results to power its data. It takes the top 50 pages from SERPs and the top two pages of PPC for a keyword.

IS SPYFU WORTH IT?

The most important question of all in this Spyfu review.

SPYFU REVIEW: A powerful yet limited website competitor analysis tool

Christopher Jan Benitez

Interface
Usefulness
Usability
Effectiveness

Summary

The great thing about Spyfu is the availability of SEO and PPC information at your fingertips. With a quick SEO, PPC, and Keyword Overview, you can get mountains of data to help you understand not only your competitors, but also your website.

As a tool for helping out clients, it lets you export data and produce beautiful and easy-to-understand reports that even non-SEO clients can pick up from the get go.

Also, I enjoy the fact that it’s the perfect balance between SEO and PPC. The backlinks do need a bit more work, but the keyword data more than makes up for it.

However, and ultimately, I consider Spyfu a step below tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush.

The biggest problem it has is the lack of databases outside of the US and UK. Considering the fact that businesses all over the world observe SEO , it’s mind-boggling that a tool like Spyfu that’s been long in the game still can’t more databases to compete on a global scale.

Worse, there’s no way to filter results from US and UK database on a more granular level. You can’t research for data from cities and counties. That means no local SEO for you using this tool as well.

If you can overlook this glaring disadvantage that Spyfu has, then there’s a lot to love about it as you can see from above.

4.3