SpyFu is a search analytics company that offers a popular SEO tool, that uses web scraping technology to scour the internet for data used to identify the keywords that companies and websites purchase using Google AdWords. It also matches search results with search terms so that companies gain more insight into the types of searches and strings of words that appear on Google’s Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

Essentially, SpyFu lets you ‘spy’ on the competition by pinpointing the keywords that they purchase for online advertising and by focusing on the words and phrases that generate the most traffic. Via this method, you can stay ahead of other companies or services working in your industry while driving more traffic to your own sites.

SpyFu: Plans and pricing

SpyFu has three tiers of different plans. The basic plan costs $39 per month (or $33/month with a discounted annual plan) and comes with 250 sales leads and domain contacts, 6 months of historical data, as well as 5,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings. This plan works well for new startups and small companies with a limited online footprint looking to keep costs down.

For those in need of more advanced keyword analytics, you can opt for the professional plan for $79 per month on a monthly basis or with the annual discount it works out to $58/month. It comes with unlimited search results, 500 sales leads and domain contacts as well as 15,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings and custom branding for your company.

The most feature-rich plan is the team plan, which comes with 2,000 sales leads and domain contacts, 40,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings, custom branding, and five user logins. This plan is the perfect fit for fully-fledged marketing departments that have resources dedicated to SEO and keyword-based online advertising. The cost is $299/month paid monthly, or $199/month when paid annually.

In addition to the plan-specific features outlined above, the two upper tier plans come with unlimited search results, unlimited data exports, and unlimited domain overview documents.

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(Image credit: SpyFu)

SpyFu: Features

Key features of SpyFu include pay per click (PPC) analytics, SEO research, and keyword research: 

PPC Analytics

SpyFu lets you look up specific competitors, visualize all the keywords they purchase on Google Ads, and then see how well these ads performed. Armed with this data, you can aim to replicate their successes while avoiding their mistakes. You can also see the number of clicks they get for their keywords, track bidding on words you are interested in, and see the changes for your ad spend across time. Additionally, PPC data allows you to pinpoint keywords that your competitors do not already bid on, so that you can get a competitive edge by taking them and making them your own.

Through SpyFu’s AdWords visualization tools, you can use PPC data to identify keyword groups, figure out which words do not work, and then see the impressions you generate on the keywords most important to you.

SEO Research

This useful feature allows the identification of content and keywords, including backlinks, that reveal how your competitors outrank you, and it also helps you track the websites that operate within your niche. This SEO research feature shows you how rankings and content progress over time, while helping you catch up-and-coming competitors faster.

The keyword group analysis tool makes organizing SEO keywords into groups—too often a laborious and time-consuming task—quick and effective. Furthermore, you can custom brand your SEO reports to land and then retain specific clients.

Keyword Research

SpyFu has multiple tools to use when it comes to keyword research. As an example, generate keyword ideas based on search volume, click-through rates, or SEO difficulty. Additionally, you can see the number of advertisers who also bid on similar words as those you have in mind for your SEO campaign. Finally, you can even type in your current keywords to see your most highly profitable keywords within the same niche. 

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(Image credit: SpyFu)

SpyFu: Interface and use

The dashboard for SpyFu’s and its UI use simplicity for a clean layout with seven tabs at the top to give you quick and easy access to your keywords, SEO tools, PPC research, tracking, and reports. This allows you, at a glance, to visualize how your keywords are performing, what your pay per click costs are, which keywords end up on the first page, and how your SEO campaign is doing overall based on organic vs. paid clicks.

At the top and center of the dashboard is the search bar that really makes it a snap to initiate keyword searches and instantly see your results thereafter. This contributes to making the entire app simple to use, as you can be up and running with searches and research literally within minutes.

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(Image credit: SpyFu)

SpyFu: Support

In case of tech issues, you can contact the tech team via live chat, a support portal or over the phone using specific lines dedicated to US and international customers. There are also comprehensive help resources open to all users, including blogs, tutorials, a glossary, and videos, along with live chat and comparison tools between SpyFu and some of its most direct competitors. 

SpyFu: The competition

SpyFu’s most direct competitor is SEMRush.  While SpyFu’s entry level plan (confusingly called Pro) offers unlimited historical data, unlimited keyword exports, and 5,000 tracked keywords for $39 per month, SEMRush’s basic plan is more expensive at $119.95 per month, yet provides only 500 tracked keywords, 500 words per export, and no historical data. Furthermore, SEMRush’s upper tier plans, Guru and Business are significantly costlier than the corresponding plan from SpyFu, but they come with lower keyword, export, and data limits.

SpyFu: Final verdict

Few products out there approach the depth and functionality you get with SpyFu. While being priced below its main competitors, it remains easy to use, and can be customized for your needs. It provides all of the PPC, SEO, and keyword research tools for anyone from a big company to a small startup would need, and is a highly effective and well-designed application. 

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