SpyFu Review: Is It the Secret Weapon for SEO and PPC?

by Manas Chowdhury
14 minutes read

Having an online presence without knowing your competitors is like playing chess without studying your opponent before heading. The chances of success? 

Negligible we would say. 

Competitor analysis is a vital step for businesses as it gives them a comprehensive understanding of their industry. 

By examining competitors’ histories, tactics, and market positioning, a company can identify opportunities to emulate successful strategies and avoid pitfalls. 

Competitor analysis involves thousands of steps and doing it all alone in the fast-paced online world is impossible. 

You should have an analysis tool that can help you in every step. 

That said, SpyFu is known to be one of the most accurate sites with the best competitor insights. 

  • But is it only good for competitor analysis, or there’s more to it? 
  • Should you invest in this tool? 
  • Does it fit your requirements? 

This guide holds the answers to all your questions. 

What is SpyFu? 

One of the favorite tools of marketers and business owners, SpyFu is a cloud-based platform that is built to help users with SEO and PPC. 

The tool has a range of features that includes

  • Competitor analysis
  • Keyword research
  • SEO analysis
  • PPC research
  • Finding backlinks
  • Reporting and tracking

It does provide several SEO tools but the one it is best known for is to find keywords used by your competitors.

As the name suggests, the tool is built specifically for spying on your competitors. 

With this tool having your back, you will always have an eye on every move of your competitors.

Whether you want to outperform your competitors organically or through paid search results, SpyFu can help you achieve it. 

How Does SpyFu Work?

SpyFu offers insights by collecting data from search engines like Google, Bing, YouTube, etc. It also sources data from advertising networks to analyze your competitors’ online marketing strategies. 

In order to analyze your competitor, you have to provide your competitor’s URL in their search panel. Once you do, SpyFu takes a few seconds to come up with insights into their organic and paid search performance. It lists the keywords they rank for, their search volumes, and their ranking difficulty. 

SpyFu Features Review

Spyfu has quite a unique approach to its interface. 

Unlike other websites where you have to enter a domain link every time you choose a feature, in SpyFu you can enter it once and it will show you analysis for SEO, PPC, Backlinks, etc. 

All you have to do is click on one feature to the other. 

That said, it has a constant toolbar on the top with all the tools SPYFu offers. Users find it easier to navigate from one tool to the other. 


Every tool we have come across has an overview for each tool. 

For example, if you are in keyword research, there will be an overview page for keywords specifically, and then a detailed analysis of keywords. 

However, Spyfu does it differently. 

In Spyfu you will find a different section for an overview where there is a birds-eye view of every tool, from PPC analysis, and keyword research to competitor analysis and whatnot. 

SpyFu features overview

Here’s a glimpse of how the overview section looks. [Screenshot above] 

Of course, the overview is good for nothing but only to understand how every aspect of your website is performing on an outer level. 

You will have to dive into each section later on. 

SEO Research

The real analysis starts from here!

SpyFu has combined all the SEO metrics one could possibly imagine. 

Starting with a few metrics at first glance like: 

  1. Organic Keyword: Total number of Unique organic keywords in the site. 
  2. The sum of Rank Change: The total of the increase and decrease in ranking of each keyword on this domain. 
  3. Est. Monthly SEO clicks: Total number of clicks the domain gets in a month from its organic keywords. 
  4. Est. Monthly SEO Click Value: Monthly organic traffic value that sums up the value all its organic keywords bring in. 

You might have noticed that the metrics have a longer name. This is because SpyFu wants to make its tool beginner-friendly as much as possible. 

To the right, there is an interesting presentation of the keywords that made it to the top page of Google, the keywords that fell off from the top page, and keywords that are almost there to make it. 

Honestly, we think things are a bit scattered here. This could have been in the keyword section that will come later on. 

Why this information in particular? Anyway, it is still helpful information to gulp. 

Since SpyFu is known for its competitor analysis, the first thing it jumps on is the loss of top organic competitors. [Screenshot Above] 

On the left side, you will have the list, and on the right side a graphical comparison of top competitors over different time frames. 

You can customize this chart based on 3 different parameters i.e. SEO keywords, monthly clicks, and monthly value. 

You can click on the View all Competitor option below the graph to have a list of more than 20 competitors. 

Users can also customize the chart and select the competitors they want to compare their websites with. 

Scrolling down a bit, SpyFu has its competitor Kombat. Here there is a Venn diagram representation of keywords by your site and the top two competitors. [Screenshot Above] 

The keywords shared by all three of the sites are named core keywords. With this insight, you can find the keywords you are missing out on. 

Further, if you click on the Venn diagram you will find out the overlapping keywords in between two domains. 

All in all, it is a great start to find the keyword gap and work on it. 

Next comes the keyword analysis of the site. First, SpyFu covers the most valuable keywords. [Screenshot above] 

We think it would have been better if they stuck to top-ranking keywords instead of naming them as the most valued keywords. Because it is not clear in what respect these keywords are valuable. 

Anyways to the right, it has the newly ranked keywords on your website. 

This section can give you an idea of the keywords that need further attention so that they can climb up to the first position. 

The next thing lined up is keyword click gain and keyword click loss insight. 

Here you can have a look at the keywords that have gone up in their ranking and by how much as well as the keywords that have fallen in detail. 

SpyFu also focuses on your site’s Off-Page SEO by providing you insights into your site’s backlinks. 

It lists out Inbound links to your websites, the monthly organic clicks from it, the domain strength of the site, and the ranked keyword position. 

The last insight is the top pages on the site along with their estimated monthly SEO clicks and keywords. 

Sounds simple, but can help you when you are analyzing your competitor’s SEO performance. 

PPC Research

Businesses shouldn’t just focus on one aspect of marketing. While SEO can get your organic traffic in the long run, having a well-strategized PPC campaign is always a bonus. 

To ace your PPC campaign you need a tool that gives you proper insights. 

Whether you have a campaign running that needs monitoring or want to spy on your competitor’s campaign before putting out one, SpyFu has some cool insights. 

Spyfu provides a detailed analysis of a website’s PPC marketing. All you need to do is enter the root domain. 

Let’s review every aspect of PPC research SpyFu has to offer. 

No matter which tool you cross paths with, a few things like the paid keywords, Est. Monthly PPC clicks and Estimated monthly PPC budget will be common. 

SpyFu is no exception to that! 

However, what truly holds our attention is the chart right below these metrics. Everything becomes so easy to understand once you look at the metrics and chart together. 

And of course, Spyfu has to have its Kombat in PPC analysis as well. 

To the right of the dashboard, you can find a Venn representation of shared keywords by the site you entered and its competitors. 

Going down a bit further there will be a section with a list of top-paid competitors for your site. 

As usual, the list of sites is to the left, and a graphical comparison of those sites is to the right. 

Perfect place to see the growth of any website’s ad copy over time. You can look at the variation of Ad copies and keywords used over time. 

This gives marketers a strong idea of what is considered the best messaging for that particular keyword or industry. 

The section categorizes keywords as most profitable and least profitable. The most profitable are the ones that the site invests the most time and budget in, However, the least profitable are those which have not been used much. 

However, let us warn you, that the profitability of a campaign does depend on the revenue generated by the business from a campaign and we don’t know that. 

Here, we can only guess that a particular ad is run again and again because it’s generating good revenue. That might not always be the case. 

Keyword Research

Although SpyFu is specifically good at competitor analysis, their keyword research tool is no less. 

All you have to do is enter your seed keyword in the search panel with the target location. 

In seconds you will have the monthly visits to this keyword, estimated clicks, a chart representation of mobile vs desktop estimated clicks, etc on the left side of the dashboard. 

To the right side, the dashboard presents a list of similar keywords as well as keywords in the form of questions. 

Scrolling down a bit you can get other metrics like Keyword difficulty, CPC, Monthly cost, paid search volume, etc on the left. 

We must say that Spyfu has a completely different and unique approach to its interface. 

In this case, we don’t think this approach does any good. Because a user would prefer all the metrics on the left at the first glance and the list of keywords while scrolling down. 

Spyfu takes it further by providing insights on the top Google Ads buy recommendations. 

If you are wondering what that is, let us clarify. 

SpyFu takes the keyword and your site into consideration to compare your site with competitors’ recent advertising habits. Using these insights they suggest more effective campaigns for your site. 

Following those metrics, Spyfu has introduced another segment in keyword research which is the most successful advertisers and their best ads. 

Here you will have a list of the top 5 advertisers whose Ads have used your seed keyword. 

You can view a bunch of other advertisers if you click on “View Full Google Ads History”. 

After covering every aspect of advertising the keyword could possibly have, SpyFu moves to organic ranking history. 

To the left, you will have the top domains that rank for the keyword. To the right, there is a chart representing the ranking history of each domain on the left using the seed keyword. 

The chart is customizable. You can adjust the time frame as per your requirements. 

More to it, one can also filter domains based on the biggest gains and biggest losses. 

At the end of the Keyword Research Dashboard, you can have a long table that gives you the ranking analysis of URLs targeting seed keywords. 

The table covers metrics like Rank Change, Root Domain, Domain Strength, and the Est Monthly Clicks. 

Backlink Analysis

Backlink analysis is an important part of your own website as well as while spying on your competitors. 

Spyfu gives you the link to the site, its domain authority, monthly organic clicks, ranked keywords, etc. 

You can customize the backlink report as per the type of backlink. Whether it is a backlink from a blog or is it from the news. 

As you know what Spyfu is best at, it has to have a Backlink Kombat between your competitors. 

The Kombat is super useful to quickly filter out the Domains you are missing out on. You can reach out to them in their List Builder tool. 

Although most of the things are good here, to speak the truth, we were disappointed with the Backlink Analysis by SpyFu. 

It should have metrics like lost and found links, the unique domains that are referring to you, the spam score of the links, and much more. 

List Builder

The last and final tool in SpyFu’s collection of tools is their list builder. 

This tool helps you to find the top websites and companies that have an online presence. 

The aim here is to find the right fit for your business and send them an email or proposal through social media requesting them to provide a backlink. 

To make the task easier, Spyfu has categorized the companies based on Domain top list and Keyword Top List. 

In the top domain list, you will have links to domains in different categories. This includes the top domains that spend most on Google ads, the ones that have the highest organic traffic, companies with a Twitter account, etc. 

This truly gives you an edge in prospecting. For example, now you know which company you want to reach if you want to drive traffic organically and most importantly where to find them. 

Next is their Keyword top list which has the list of keywords with different parameters like their CPC, number of clicks, expense, etc. 

Finally, we have Spyfu’s business lead and contact list. You can enter the keyword and target location to find the right business lead for your company. 

Spyfu displayed the website links of businesses, their monthly Ad budget, monthly SEO clicks, and contact type. 

User Reviews On SpyFu

“We use Spyfu for researching competitors and finding new keywords to use in our PPC ad campaigns. I like having the ability to look back over time at the different ad variations. This allows us to historically see which ads are the most successful. Great overall SEO tool.”

“I apparently use SpyFu a little bit differently from many others who’ve left reviews – I use it for prospecting. I run a marketing agency, and cold outreach plays a role in getting new clients. I find SpyFu a great tool for building that list of prospects and ensuring that I only reach out to prospects who are already spending money.”

Data Aggregator Reviews on SpyFu

Reading a few reviews will boost your trust in the tool, but to make a decision it’s better to look at the average of ratings and reviews. 

To reduce your research work, we have compiled the avg. ratings and reviews from top review platforms like G2, TrustRadius, and Capterra.

Let’s dive into what people have to say about SpyFu. 

Starting with the most popular site, G2, we have got 4.3 /5 from 488 users. 

That’s a good number to begin with. 

Furthermore, the number of users is comparably more than some of SpyFu’s competitors.

Moving to the next one, we have a score of 8.2/10 on TrustRadius. 

The number of users is around one-third of what was on G2. 

Although the number of users is less, SpyFu has managed to keep up its reputation on both sites.

Here comes the final round of tests for SpyFu. 

Yes, it’s a rating on Capterra. 

The number of users who have rated SpyFu is almost similar to TrustRadius. 

On this platform as well, SpyFu has managed to get a rating above 4 stars. 

Honestly, after reading the reviews ourselves we were impressed with the number of ways people use SpyFu. 

How Accurate is SpyFu?

The truth is that SpyFu’s accuracy depends on several factors, such as the data sources used and how often they are updated. 

The accuracy of a tool depends on several factors including the source from which it is obtained. 

For SpyFu, the data source includes search engines, social media, and web scraping. 

There are a few things that SpyFu takes into consideration:

  • Website advertised, past and present (ironclad)
  • Estimated Search volume for each keyword they advertise
  • Percent of searches the advertiser actually shows up on

However, at times, it is difficult to be accurate, especially when you have to input details manually. 

For example, there is room for error if you input the location of your competitors.

In general, SpyFu does an excellent job of collecting data from multiple sources and providing up-to-date insights about your competition’s activities.

SpyFu User-Interface

SpyFu’s user interface is a bit clustered which can be off-putting for some users. 

There’s a lot of information and options on their dashboard which can be overwhelming for beginners. 

We guess it’s their attempt to provide a lot of information, but they seriously need to put some effort into improving their UI. 

SpyFu Chrome extension

The Chrome extension by SpyFu can be super easy and flexible to use. 

You don’t have to run to the site for the smallest of information. 

Instead what you can do with their Chrome extension is access years of data, showing competitor’s potion then and there. 

Not just that!

Their Chrome extension also allows users to peak into every keyword their competing site has bought. 

It will give you an instant idea of where their marketing efforts go and where they don’t waste their time and energy. 

SpyFu Customer Support 

SpyFu’s customer support is fast and reliable. You can reach out to them on weekdays. 

They offer multiple support channels: live chat, email, and phone. 

The response time goes from 24 hours to 48 hours. 

Unlike a few tools that provide customer support based on your plans, SpyFu doesn’t distinguish their support regardless of the pricing tier you’re on. 

Their support staff are friendly and knowledgeable. They address your issues patiently and guide you throughout the process. 

One thing that can really use some improvement is their training resources. 

While they do offer some tutorials and in-depth guides on their site and blog it’s no match to competitors like SEMrush and Ahrefs. 

Most of the resources do not offer the in-depth information you would be looking for. 

Honestly, It’s better to watch some videos on YouTube than refer to their training resources for complex topics. 

SpyFu Pricing Plan

Basic Plan

Annual Plan: $16/month (Billed Annually)

Monthly Plan: $39/month

Key Feature:

  • 10k row search results
  • 10k row data exports
  • 100 domain overview PDFs
  • 6 months of historical data
  • 250 sales leads & domain contacts
  • 5k weekly tracked keyword rankings

The Basic plan by SpyFu is ideal for:

Individuals or small businesses on a budget looking for essential competitive research and SEO insights.

Those who want to access limited data and are not focused on extensive historical data or extensive keyword tracking.

Professional Plan

Annual Plan: $36/month (Billed Annually)

Monthly Plan: $39 for the 1st month, then $79/month thereafter

Key Feature:

  • Unlimited search results – see all the data
  • Unlimited data exports. All you can eat.
  • Unlimited domain overview PDFs
  • 10+ years of historical data
  • 500 sales leads & domain contacts
  • 15k weekly tracked keyword rankings
  • API access
  • Custom branded reporting

Who Is it for:

The Professional plan by SpyFu is designed for:

  • SEO professionals, agencies, and marketers who need comprehensive data access and advanced features.

Team Plan: 

Annual Plan: $149/month (Billed Annually)

Monthly Plan: $299/month

Key Feature:

  • Unlimited search results – see all the data
  • Unlimited data exports. All you can eat.
  • Unlimited domain overview PDFs
  • 10+ years of historical data
  • 2000 sales leads & domain contacts
  • 40k weekly tracked keyword rankings
  • API access
  • Custom branded reporting
  • 5 user logins

The Team plan by SpyFu is tailored for

  • Marketing teams, agencies, and larger businesses require collaboration and extensive data usage.

What We Liked About SpyFu? 

  • SpyFu offers incredible features at an affordable price
  • Insights into competitors’ ad history and PPC strategies
  • Easy data export and sharing data with team members.
  • Rich data on competitors’ keywords, ad copy, and backlinks.
  • Good for prospecting and identifying potential clients already investing in marketing.

What We Didn’t Like About SpyFu? 

  • Some domain analyses may lack precision.
  • Free plans offer limited information, especially in ad data.
  • SpyFu can be overwhelming due to its overloaded information. 
  • The pop-out navigation bar on the right side is not preferred. 
  • Lacks video tutorials and a user community for sharing insights and knowledge.
  • Minimal data for German-speaking countries like Germany, Switzerland, and Austria.

Final Verdict

SpyFu offers a dynamic set of tools for competitor analysis, keyword research, and PPC research. It provides awesome insights into competitors’ ad history and strategies. 

SpyFu is not just perfect for competitor analysis but there is a lot of other stuff you can do too. For example, their prospecting feature is awesome for building links that your competitors are already prying on. 

However, SpyFu may have some limitations, such as inaccuracies in domain analyses and a lack of depth in keyword research compared to some alternatives like SEMrush. 

Ultimately, whether SpyFu is the right tool for your needs depends on your specific requirements and goals.

SpyFu Alternatives


Data Loading SpeedFaster data loadingSlower data loading (organic search)
Data VisualizationExtensive data visualizationAt-a-glance information
Outreach ToolsCRM-style link buildingExport data for outreach
Ease of UseFeature-rich but may feel busyUser-friendly, less cluttered
Customer SupportPhone, live chat, emailPhone, live chat, email
Pricing PlansPro: $129.95/mo, Guru: $249.95/mo, Business: $499.95/moBasic: $39/mo, Professional: $79/mo, Team: $299/mo
Custom PlansAvailable, negotiableNot specified
Free TrialYesLimited access to reports
Rank TrackingLimitsLimited More generous

SE Ranking

ParameterSE RankingSpyFu
Keyword ResearchRobust keyword research with keyword variations and metricsCompetitor-based keyword research, limited traditional keyword research
Competitor AnalysisComprehensive competitor analysis with accurate reportsEffective competitor research but lacks depth compared to SE Ranking
PPC AnalysisBasic PPC analysis, limited PPC intelligenceAdvanced PPC analysis with features like AdWords Advisor and Templates
User InterfaceUser-friendly interface with efficient data accessUser-friendly interface with a focus on competitor research.
SEO ToolsOffers a wide range of SEO tools, including site audit, backlink checker, and on-page SEO checkerFocuses more on competitor analysis and PPC, lacks some SEO tools
Data SourcesProvides data from multiple sources and locationsPrimarily focuses on data from Google search results in the US and UK
Pricing PlansStarting at $44/month, suitable for beginners to large organizationsFree plan available, paid plans starting at $39/month, budget-friendly
Free PlanNo free plan, but offers a 2-week free trialOffers a free plan with limited features


FocusStrong emphasis on SEO and site optimizationStrong emphasis on PPC marketing
Data QualityProvides accurate and relevant dataClaims to have the largest keyword database in the industry
FeaturesKeyword research, site audit, competitor analysis, PPC analysis, backlink analysisSEO research, PPC research, keyword research, domain & backlink analysis, competitor research
Additional FeaturesRank tracking, display advertising data, site auditsKeyword grouping, keyword tracking, ad history
User InterfaceUser-friendly, Clean and intuitive interfaceClumsy Interface which require some adaptation
Customer SupportExcellent support through email, phone, and forumsExcellent support through email, phone, and forums
PricingStarts at $50 per monthStarts at $39 per month


There you have it! 

The good, the best, the bad, and the worst about SpyFu. 

Now it’s your time to decide whether or not SpyFu is a tool for your requirements or not. 

To make a better decision, you can start SpyFu free trial right away!

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