Anyone in the digital marketing industry or in any way related to it has asked themselves at least once – which is the best SEO tool? We’d say there’s no perfect solution, and it’s all about what you expect from your online marketing efforts. In this guide, we discuss whether SpyFu or Ahrefs could be the ideal fit for your website or business.
Our guide will analyze the main features of both platforms, such as rank tracking, keyword and competitor research, and PPC utilities. We also check pricing terms to ultimately decide who offers the better value in the SpyFu vs Ahrefs showdown. Keep reading to check our comparison!
What Are SpyFu and Ahrefs?
SpyFu Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
SpyFu has a long tradition in the SEO industry since its history goes back to 2005. Its main office is in Scottsdale, United States, with the company attracting clients worldwide.
The tool focuses on helping digital marketers receive in-depth competitive intelligence and keyword research details, with the goal of assisting in boosting online visibility and SEO performance. PPC research is among the key features offered by SpyFu, and those who want more success in paid searches should consider using this tool.
- Detailed PPC statistics and a Google Ads advisor with a wide range of templates to use
- The “also buys ads for” in keyword research can be useful for your PPC endeavors
- It is easy to identify organic competitors and check common keywords and potential gaps
- Backlink outreach ensures you find contacts of website owners easily
- Rank tracking features are far from impressive
- No site audit tool available
Ahrefs Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
According to our SpyFu vs Ahrefs team, this tool entered the market later than SpyFu. Ahrefs was founded in 2011, but it immediately showed that it seriously aims at the top of the industry.
The company designed the most active web crawler currently available. Ahrefs proudly states that they have over 33 petabytes of data about live sites, with the total content index size going over 14.2 billion pages.
- A detailed rank tracker with regularly updated information
- Keyword research ensures a generous list of suggestions in different categories
- Many graphs that are highly customizable to visualize the data you need
- A reliable and fast site audit tool
- Expensive, especially for more advanced subscription
- Not the best choice for beginners
To gain a comprehensive understanding of Ahrefs’ features and performance, the Ahrefs Review provides an in-depth analysis, offering valuable insights for potential users.
According to what we found on the website, SpyFu secures weekly tracking updates. That’s far from an impressive frequency, especially if you are a professional who wants the option of daily updates. It’s a major drawback for SpyFu in this SpyFu vs Ahrefs comparison, but the good news is the information you receive is nicely sorted, although not that detailed.
For each keyword, the platform will show details like the estimated monthly searches and CPC, as well as if any changes in ranks or clicks have occurred compared to the previous scan. You can access charts that show changes for each ranking position, making it easy to track your performance and see areas where you’ve had success.
Our SpyFu vs Ahrefs review team found that SpyFu has a separate organic and paid ranking history. The platform supports Google and Bing search engines, and including Bing is the only advantage SpyFu has over Ahrefs.
Additionally, the SpyFu Alternatives page presents a range of other SEO tools, providing insights into how SpyFu compares and highlighting other solutions that might better suit specific requirements.
The rank tracker is one of the six core tools offered by Ahrefs. It ensures you can track keyword performance in approximately 190 countries. Ahrefs supports mobile and desktop devices, and it focuses on the Google search engine.
The first thing we noticed in the Ahrefs comparison is the Share of Voice metric. It’s a parameter that shows the percentage of organic search traffic clicks that your website received. That’s an excellent way to immediately assess the site’s visibility. The tool goes in-depth with metrics like keyword difficulty and CPC, as well as showing the estimated search volume and clicks.
Ahrefs also tracks your average position and ranking distribution and checks if you compete in any of the 15 supported SERP features. This information can help improve your traffic, making this parameter worth your while. Ahrefs makes it easy to check the list of pages that are best ranked for each tracked keyword. It shows the top phrase for each page and allows checking related organic keywords with a click of a button.
It’s possible to add competitors to see how you compare with the main rivals in the industry. If you want to dive deep and receive rankings that are older than 16 months, Ahrefs offers an option to connect to the Google Search Console.
There’s not much to choose between SpyFu and Ahrefs here because Ahrefs is the obvious winner in this category. Its update frequency is much better, and the data metrics available are everything you’ll need when tracking keyword positions, including the information about SERP feature ranks.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research improved our overall impression of SpyFu significantly, and the platform can be proud of these tools. It all begins by entering the seed phrase and checking the overview that includes a quick glance at related keywords and questions, along with statistics about the monthly search volume.
For each keyword, you get access to traditional metrics like keyword difficulty, search volume, and CPC. Our SpyFu comparison team mentions that you also get access to separate mobile and desktop search percentages, and you can also check the share of organic and paid clicks.
The default setting is for SpyFu to show related keywords that include a match with the seed phrase. You can also pick the “also rank for” and “questions” sections, as well as the “also buys ads for” if you want to focus on PPC. Transactional keywords are the final option, and they are great if you need inspiration for new content.
Our SpyFu vs Ahrefs review team also mentions that you can easily paste up to 1,000 keywords with the bulk upload option. While researching keywords, you might also want to use the SERP analysis tool. SpyFu will display top-ranked pages, along with some useful metrics like ranking difficulty and domain strength in search results.
Ahrefs offers keyword research data for nine search engines. That covers major players like Yahoo, Google, and Bing, but also Baidu, Amazon, and several others. From the start, that’s a huge advantage in the Ahrefs vs SpyFu comparison.
The overview page shows traditional metrics like keyword difficulty, search volume, and CPC. You can see global volume, along with the percentage of searches by country. The area we were impressed with was the keyword ideas.
Ahrefs will list all keyword ideas in the section with the same name, but you can filter the results by your needs. It’s easy to focus only on the “terms match” results or look for terms that contain the same words. Ahrefs also pulls results from the search suggestions in a separate section and can also display questions that users usually ask connected to the seed phrase.
Ahrefs will list all keyword ideas in the section with the same name, but you can filter the results by your needs. It’s easy to focus only on the “terms match” results or look for related terms that contain the same words. Ahrefs also pulls results from the search suggestions in a separate section and can also display questions that users usually ask connected to the seed phrase. For each suggested phrase, Ahrefs offers basic SEO metrics and the parent topic, and there’s an option to use lists to organize keywords into segments.
Finally, our Ahrefs vs SpyFu team browsed reports about the traffic share by domain or page. Not only can you check the top destinations for the phrase listed, but with a single click, you can access SERP analysis for each term.
Ahrefs once again proved to be the better SEO tool in our Ahrefs vs SpyFu showdown, except it was a close call this time. Detailed reports and suggestions for different categories are why we liked this tool. On the other hand, SpyFu is a good pick if your focus is on finding the most suitable PPC keywords since it has an “also buys ads for” section.
You’ll find multiple tools that help analyze your competition with SpyFu. In the SEO research section, there’s a tool that provides a general score of your competitors. You can enter your domain URL, and the platform will show the best organic competitors in seconds. The visual chart is a nice touch and makes the data presentation more attractive.
For each competitor, SpyFu will display monthly clicks and their value, and there’s an overlap bar, along with the common keyword number. You can explore this list to identify those phrases, which can be convenient to use for future content improvements to succeed in your industry.
In our Ahrefs vs SpyFu showdown, we have to pinpoint that the Kombat tool is a great addition to the SpyFu platform. The tool requires adding up to two competitor domains to search for the most suitable keywords based on comparing your website with them.
SpyFu Kombat tool will show the core niche keywords, which are phrases that all competitors use. However, the main advantage is that this feature identifies your weaknesses. That’s the keyword gap, so phrases that your competitors have but you still haven’t used. You can also see exclusive phrases, which are only available on your website. It’s great to learn about your strongest suites, which can be helpful to marketing experts presenting campaign results to clients.
Our Ahrefs vs SpyFu comparison team notes that Ahrefs has a Site Explorer tool, which serves to analyze the competition. You can enter a specific URL or focus on an entire domain. You’ll receive detailed reports about backlinks and traffic performance, and we’ll focus on the latter in this section.
On the overview page, you can see basic statistics for organic and paid traffic. That includes the keyword number and traffic volume estimation for each. In the next section, you have customizable charts that can visualize almost any possible metric. You can pick locations, competitors, and the metrics to display, ranging from average organic traffic and referring domains to URL and domain ratings. It’s also possible to pick how long back you want to check the data for, which is another great option.
Our Ahrefs vs SpyFu review team also mentions that you can see quick statistics about traffic by location and website structure details. Site structure includes page organization by levels, which can be useful when building a content strategy. The top pages report is available in a separate section, and it offers data like the traffic estimation and page organic traffic value, and the top keyword. Ahrefs also has a content gap tool, which identifies the keywords you’ve been missing but your competitors use.
If you compare SpyFu and Ahrefs, we decided to go with SpyFu in this area. The reason is that it generates a reliable competitor list and assesses the keywords you have in common with each rival in a neat table. That makes SpyFu better if you receive quick info about how you perform against the rivals, while Ahrefs does offer a more extensive specific website analysis with its site explorer tool.
For those considering SpyFu, the SpyFu Review offers a detailed overview of its capabilities, helping users make an informed decision based on their SEO needs.
SpyFu has a bit of a basic but decent backlink research tool. You can enter the desired domain or keyword and get a backlink overview in seconds. In the left section, you can check backlink types and pick which to display. The selection includes blogs, news, forums, directories, gov/edu, and pages with affiliate links. That’s a convenient addition since you can narrow down the list to the type of pages that you pursue.
For each link listed, SpyFu will show the URL and the information about social media engagement across different channels. Other metrics include page and domain organic monthly click estimation, domain strength rating, and the number of ranked keywords and outbound links.
According to our SpyFu vs Ahrefs team, a backlink outreach tool is a convenient option available at SpyFu. The platform allows importing backlinks and websites and proceeds to search for relevant contacts for you. While browsing the contacts, you can approve the ones you find most suitable. The platform is also showing social handles, infrastructure, and tools used on the website.
SpyFu also has a backlink Kombat tool, which allows entering several domains and then identifying the pages that lead to both. The trick is to exclude your domain from the results, which allows you to identify only links that your rivals get.
Although backlink analysis is only a part of Ahrefs’ Site Explorer, it’s incredibly extensive. You can enter the domain URL to receive a detailed overview of their links, as well as the domain and URL rating scores.
As our Ahrefs vs SpyFu review team discovered, that only scratches the surface of what Ahrefs can do for backlink analysis. You can use charts to customize the display of referring domain numbers and other metrics for the chosen period. On the right side, you can see the ratio of followed and not followed referring domains. Additional lists will display the percentage of links by type (UGC, sponsored, not followed or followed), URL, or domain rating.
If you enter the backlinks section, you get a table with detailed info about each link. From the URL and the page title to anchor text, page traffic, and other relevant metrics. It’s possible to focus solely on broken or internal backlinks and also get detailed information about anchor texts. That’s convenient for creating a perfect linking and keeping an eye on the errors.
While choosing between Ahrefs or SpyFu, keep in mind that Ahrefs can display detailed information about outgoing links, which is great for scanning the resources’ quality you use on the website. You’ll learn more about the target domain ratings, anchors, link types, and other details. Don’t forget that this platform has a huge backlink database, with over 35 trillion links in it. Ahrefs also has a link intersect tool, which helps find any gaps in your and the competitors’ links.
SpyFu shows that not everything has to be about a large database, which is why it wins the showdown in this category. The reason why we picked it as the winner of the SpyFu vs Ahrefs comparison is the existence of backlink outreach features. After the Kombat discovers the links you’ve been missing, you can use the outreach tool to gather contacts of owners of those websites. That’s convenient for most users, although those who need comprehensive data will still appreciate Ahrefs’ extensive backlink analysis.
As for SpyFu, it seems like we saved the best for last because this platform excels at PPC research, and it’s among its main focuses. The tool has multiple tools focused on improving your Google Ads performance. It all starts with a quick overview of a domain, which shows estimated monthly PPC clicks and budget.
For any website, you can check the detailed history of paid keywords and advertisement spending. The competitor tab will show the biggest rivals for that site, including a graph with historical data about each domain. Similar to backlink and organic keyword tools, you can also use the Kombat feature to analyze shared paid terms. And it’s the fastest way of identifying any gaps and strongest suits in your paid advertisement strategy.
SpyFu displays detailed PPC keyword analysis. That includes a small graph featuring the ad timeline, along with metrics like the daily cost and searches, ad position, CPC, and total ads. As our Ahrefs vs SpyFu review team indicates, this is a fast way to learn the advertisement secrets of your competitors. It’s even possible to analyze ad evolution and identify the most successful ad copy, but also which copies to avoid.
SpyFu also has a Google Ads Advisor, which will provide best buy recommendations after analyzing your competitors. The advisor offers a buy rating to help you identify potentially successful keywords, and you can mix competitor names to get more suggestions. Our SpyFu vs Ahrefs team also mentions that you’ll find Google Ads templates, which simplify creating a copy for your product or service campaign.
Once again, we turn to Ahrefs Site Explorer to receive information about paid ads. After you enter a domain, you can find basic statistics for paid keywords or enter pages with detailed lists. If you look at the paid keyword overview, there are extensive metrics about each phrase. That includes the ratio between paid and organic clicks, CPC, keyword difficulty, URL, and ranking positions.
In the Ads section, you can actually see how ads look in the search results. You can look at the Ads position history chart to learn more about performance over time.
Finally, our SpyFu vs Ahrefs team came across the Paid Pages section. The statistics include thepaid traffic and any changes compared to the previous search, keywords and ads, and the top keyword on the page. You can also visualize data by using the customizable chart with various timeframe selections available.
If you compare Ahrefs and SpyFu for PPC research, SpyFu is the clear winner. The tool specializes in helping you improve paid advertising, especially in Google Ads. That’s why you’ll find many templates for this platform and an advisor on how to improve your ad copies and results.
Comparison of Other Features
We mentioned some unique SpyFu features, such as the backlink outreach tool and the Google Ads advisor, throughout the guide. In the SpyFu vs Ahrefs showdown, SpyFu doesn’t have that many original features that aren’t found in Ahrefs. That’s why we’ll focus on some useful SpyFu extras that we haven’t mentioned so far, and those include:
- Reports. You can pick between multiple report types and let the client know about SEO and PPC research results quickly.
- List builders. It’s possible to check the current domain and keyword top lists, browse the directory of business leads and contacts, and also get in touch with SpyFu to request a customized list that fits your needs.
It’s worth noting that SpyFu has a sister platform called RivalFlow AI. It was founded by the same person, and this AI writing tool is there to help optimize content on your site. However, SpyFu itself doesn’t have any similar features.
Comparing Ahrefs and SpyFu tools wouldn’t be complete if we don’t say that Ahrefs is the more comprehensive tool. Here are some extras to expect on this platform:
- Site audit. The website audit offers an exhaustive analysis and covers over 140 pre-defined issues, divided into categories like CSS and social tags, content, and localization. You can explore data by using advanced filters, and Ahrefs even offers a detailed explanation of how to fix any issue encountered.
- Content explorer. You can use this tool to identify potential link prospects and content ideas by browsing the top-performing texts in your niche.
- SEO toolbar and WordPress plugin. You can install the SEO toolbar on Chrome and Firefox to receive valuable insights on each page and website you visit. As for the WordPress plugin, it’s a content audit tool that can help boost your traffic.
Exploring alternatives to Ahrefs can broaden your SEO tool options; the Ahrefs Alternatives section lists comparable tools, each with unique features and benefits.
SpyFu has monthly and annual subscription plans, with yearly payments securing a 30% discount. The platform also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Here are the details of SpyFu plans:
- Basic. The price is $39 monthly, and you get 5,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings and 10,000 rows of search results.
- Professional. The cost is $79 monthly, and you receive unlimited search results, along with 15,000 weekly tracked keyword rankings.
We continue our Ahrefs pricing vs SpyFu pricing comparison with the details about Ahrefs plans:
- Lite. You pay $99 monthly and receive 750 tracked keywords updated weekly and 500 credits to use monthly.
- Standard. The price is $199 monthly, and you get 2,000 tracked keywords updated weekly and 600 credits monthly.
- Advanced. You pay $399 monthly to get 5,000 tracked keywords updated weekly and 750 credits monthly.
- Enterprise. The pricing starts at $999 monthly, and you get 10,000 tracked keywords updated weekly, along with the number of credits customized to your requirements.
If you pay annually, you receive two months for free.
If we only look at the cost, SpyFu is the winner of the SpyFu pricing vs Ahrefs pricing comparison. However, there’s more to it than that. Considering that Ahrefs is a far more advanced platform with a bigger database, the higher price tag seems justified. In the end, users who need a comprehensive SEO tool will pay more for Ahrefs, while individuals and small teams might be happy with SpyFu at the price.
Alternative to Ahrefs and SpyFu
Ahrefs and SpyFu can be great options, but they aren’t perfect. The former might be a bit expensive for some users, while the latter doesn’t offer so many SEO features. And that’s where SE Ranking comes into play. For starters, it has many premium plans to choose from, including budget-friendly and advanced user subscriptions.
SE Ranking offers detailed keyword research with phrase suggestions smartly sorted into multiple categories, such as “questions” and “related keywords.” Its competitor analysis tool will break down any domain into details about its traffic and keywords, as well as competitors and ads. You can check extensive PPC metrics and identify the most popular keyword ads easily.
The backlink checker provides fast and reliable backlink analysis for any domain, including the expected statistics for referring domains, backlink types, and anchor texts. You can use the backlink monitor to have crawlers run regular check-ups and send you alerts about any changes.
SE Ranking has a site audit that uses 120+ metrics to uncover every small technical SEO problem on your website. Its powerful crawler can check 150,000 pages per project and crawl 1,000 pages in only two minutes. You can count on the content editor powered by AI to help you optimize texts to perfection, while local marketing tools help manage your online local presence efficiently.
Comparing SpyFu and Ahrefs wasn’t an easy task, and each tool has its advantages. But if we assess all features, there’s no doubt that Ahrefs offers more functions and provides more detailed data. After all, it does have the most active web crawler in the market and a large database loaded with various information.
Ahrefs has many filtering options to help you find the data you need, and you can visualize most of it in neat graphs. While that’s great for advanced users, beginners might find it unnecessarily complex. That’s why their attention might turn to SpyFu, which is more user-friendly and has convenient options. It even dominates over Ahrefs in the PPC research. With a Google Ads advisor and detailed data, SpyFu is the winner of the SpyFu vs Ahrefs showdown for anyone who wants to boost their PPC performance.
Pricing-wise, Ahrefs is more expensive, which can be another important consideration. Ultimately, the decision is yours, so it’s best to pick based on your requirements.