SEO Tool How-To: SpyFu

Learn how to gain a competitive advantage in SEO and search advertising using SpyFu to instantly find your competitors’ keywords and ad copy.

Have you ever wondered what your competitors are doing online to bring in traffic and conversions? If so, you’re going to love learning about SpyFu. It’s like having a private investigator who finds out how your competitors are marketing and the results they’ve received from those efforts.

In our ongoing series to spotlight the SEO tools top brands are using, let’s dig into what this secret agent can do for your business.

About Super Sleuth SpyFu

SpyFu is a powerful tool that allows you to see what your competitors are doing behind the scenes with their online marketing.

The tool provides a competitive analysis for the following:

  • Search engine rankings
  • PPC campaigns
  • Backlinks

Insight into these three online marketing areas can provide a wealth of information to get ahead of your competitors.

Search Engine Rankings

SpyFu finds websites that are trying to rank for the same keywords as you. Simply by entering your URL and keywords, the tool will return a list of your closet competitors.

The information provided allows you to see what other keywords competitors rank for, and how they ranked for them. You can click on the website pages for the keywords that are ranking highly to see what may be garnering those top spots, and then come up with a plan to make your content better.

The tool allows you to save competitors you want to follow. You can then regularly look at those saved competitors to see how their rankings have changed, and how your site is ranking in comparison.

PPC Campaigns

A big part of PPC is trying different ads to see which ones perform better. But what if there was a way for you to see which ads perform better before even testing them? That’s exactly what SpyFu lets you do.

In the PPC Research section of the tool, you can see your competitors’ ads, keywords, and results from them. You can see how much money they have spent. How many clicks their ads received and how long they were live. All of this information can help you determine:

  • Budget
  • Best performing keywords
  • Most effective ad copy

The best part of this competitive analysis is that you can see what was ineffective, which can save you a lot of money. In other words, you can let your competitors pay for your market research!


Backlinks continue to be an important ranking factor. It’s not always easy to get those links, unless you know where to find websites willing to link to you. The good news is that SpyFu helps you do that by letting you see which websites have linked to your competitors’ sites.

All you have to do is put in your competitor’s URL. The tool looks up all of the URL’s backlinks and gives you a list of links. You can then go to each one to see if you already have a backlink from it. If you do, move on to the next one. If you don’t, find out whether you can get one too. It could be as simple as contacting the website owner to ask if he/she would be willing to link to an article on your site.

Why SpyFu Should Be Part of Everyone’s SEO Toolbox

You need to keep an eye on what your competitors are doing online if you are going to outrank them on Google. Marketing your business without SpyFu is like shooting in the dark. Turn on the light by using a competitive analysis tool. It will provide you more insight than you could ever get from just scanning their site and searching for their ads.

For more information on how to boost your rankings on Google, click here to grab a copy of our Ultimate SEO Checklist.

Author: Phil Frost

Phil is Founder and COO of Main Street ROI. Phil leads the company’s operations and is primary creator of Main Street ROI’s marketing training programs. He is an expert in search engine marketing, website analytics, and sales funnel optimization. Phil’s marketing thought leadership has been published on,,, and many other major business media outlets.

Phil earned his Master of Engineering Management degree from Thayer School of Engineering and Tuck School of Business and his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Engineering degrees from Dartmouth College. While attending Dartmouth, Phil started every game on the varsity football team as the defensive safety.

Want more SEO tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate SEO Checklist. Want more AdWords tips? Get your free copy of Phil’s Ultimate Google AdWords Checklist.

One thought on “SEO Tool How-To: SpyFu”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *