The best SEO tool for you depends on the goals set, the budget available, and the features you need in the software suite. In this guide, we’ll compare SpyFu and Semrush and help you see if the perfect solution for you is among these platforms.
The short explanation would be that SpyFu has a smart selection of SEO tools, ranging from keyword research to domain and backlink analytics with useful insights and custom reporting. Semrush, on the other hand, is more comprehensive and also has a content marketing platform and additional tools to be a truly powerful asset for all professionals. Here is a detailed Semrush vs SpyFu review that reveals more about these SEO platforms!
What are Semrush and SpyFu?
Semrush Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
Semrush is a big name in the SEO industry, and it’s been like that since its launch in 2008. The platform promises to boost your online marketing and secure measurable results. It covers all main areas, including SEO, competitor research, social media, and PPC. You can even find an advanced content marketing platform and customized reports. Samsung, Tesla, and Quora are only some reputable brands that use Semrush.
- Keyword magic tool offers extensive information that’s well-sorted
- Daily rank tracking updates
- Keyword cannibalization and content creation tools are great
- Additional features like social media and local SEO management
- Pricing is a bit high, even for the basic subscription
- Not the best choice for beginners
SpyFu Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
SpyFu is a US-based company focusing on search analytics. It scrapes data from the web to offer keyword research, competitor analysis, and other information that those in the SEO industry might find useful.
The company has been around since 2005, and it’s an entry-level SEO suite that offers a decent tool selection. SpyFu has around 200,000 monthly users and an extensive database that covers 109 million domains and seven billion results.
- Excellent advertisement history archive
- A quick way to identify link-building opportunities
- Checking organic ranking history for a particular keyword
- White-label and scheduled reports with a Google Ads advisor
- No site audit tool for technical analysis
- It misses detailed backlink analysis
If you compare Semrush and SpyFu, you will notice that both tools are web-based, just like most other SEO platforms. There’s a professional dashboard for easy access to different functions and utilities. Now, let’s analyze one by one and see what to expect!
From getting a general overview of a domain to reports for top pages and keyword ranks, these are all tools that can provide insight into the competition. Here’s how the SpyFu vs Semrush showdown went in this category!
Apart from entering the domain to search, you can narrow down the results to a particular country and also filter by mobile and desktop visits. The search is fast, and the overview screen presents loads of useful information.
The authority score is the one metric that gives you a great idea about the website rating. You can also see if the site is going up or down in Semrush ranks, which is great for identifying if your rival might be having a rough patch. Organic and paid search traffic statistics will provide more details about the traffic, and there’s a box that displays backlinks and links to referring domains. You can see the distribution of organic traffic by country and historical data, as well as domain ranking in search engine results.
The next tool worth checking in this Semrush vs SpyFu review is the report about the top pages on a domain. It allows filtering by traffic, keywords, or backlinks and provides general information to get a better idea of each page’s success.
The keyword bar is an interesting touch since it features four different colors. The idea is to portray different keyword intents, such as navigational, commercial, transactional, and informational. That can be convenient if you are looking for specific pages, such as product descriptions or news sites.
Our SpyFu vs Semrush review experts note that it’s possible to see details about the keyword positions of your competitors. You’ll learn how many of their pages are at the top of search engine results, ranging from the top three to the first hundred. Traffic volume and keyword difficulty metrics are there to help you see if it’s worth competing for a particular phrase. The parameters available for filtering also include CPC, last update, and other useful statistics.
You can execute a search overview of any domain with SpyFu. Generating results is possible for 15 countries, ranging from the USA and Australia to Singapore and Spain. It’s possible to see organic keywords, including their excellent visual presentation, as well as monthly SEO clicks and value and estimated rank changes. Another thing our SpyFu comparison liked is that the tool displays the list of keywords for which the website is positioned on the first page of the search engine.
You can find information on the improved ranks and new keywords, as well as lost ranks and the history of collected rankings. Inbound links will show you a chart with different types of links, such as blogs, news, forums, and directories.
If you check the top pages of a website, this tool has a lot to offer in the Semrush vs SpyFu showdown. It’s a nice touch that you see the URL and the meta title, as well as the estimated monthly SEO clicks and a shortcut to keywords for that page. Expanding that column gives you a better chance to understand the page and see if it’s a good choice to compete with it.
SpyFu will show you the list of the most valuable keywords, including estimating the keyword difficulty and showing the rank and volume. You can also check the percentage of desktop searches, which is great when optimizing content for different devices.
If you are choosing Semrush or SpyFu solely for competitor analysis, there’s no doubt that Semrush can offer more extensive information. Starting with the authority score to a better overview of the domain, this tool is capable of providing all the details you need. SpyFu does have a small convenience if you prefer to combine domain analysis with keyword research since it makes it easy to access key phrase details from the report.
Fixing those small technical issues can go a long way since it guarantees maximum optimization for Google. Let’s see what Semrush has to offer and whether SpyFu can match it!
Site audit is fast and offers beautifully organized results that are easy to navigate. You will see the number of errors, warnings, and notices. As usual, focus on errors first since they are the priority issues you need to fix. You’ll also see a current Site Health rating and the number of crawled pages for the report. The thing that thrilled us was the inclusion of thematic reports. These include site performance, internal linking, crawlability, core web vitals, and other statistics in a particular category. It’s nice you can export errors to Excel or CSV files and send tasks to other team members for fixing.
SpyFu doesn’t actually have a site audit tool as a separate feature, which is a shame. The good news is that you can use other tools for this purpose to achieve the same targets. For example, you can run a domain overview report and get information about your website. The information you receive will tell you a lot regarding the current website condition. Improving the domain strength is a way to enhance overall site health, too. However, from a technical perspective, we can only hope that SpyFu will include this tool in the future to help you recognize and iron out potential structural issues on your site.
Semrush is the clear winner since SpyFu doesn’t even compete since it doesn’t have an actual site audit tool. And while you can get some information with other tools available, it’s nowhere near the extensive reports offered by Semrush. This platform offers one of the simplest but most extensive technical site audits that help you keep track of and prioritize issues to repair.
If we only check the statistics, we can pinpoint that Semrush has 25.1 billion keywords and 808 million domain profiles in its database. Our Semrush vs SpyFu comparison shows that the latter has only 109 million profiles and seven billion results, but that should be enough for most users. Let’s check out the experience of using both platforms for a better overview!
If your goal is to identify new keywords to use to build your site SEO, your first pick is the Keyword Magic tool. The name seems appropriate since it really does magical things after you insert the desired seed phrase.
It takes some time to get comfortable with the extensive report published, but once you get used to it, this can be a strong suit when choosing between SpyFu or Semrush. The top sections help you narrow the results by country or filter by different parameters.
Here are some choices:
- Broad matches. These are phrase variations, so if your seed phrase is “basketball player,” you could get “playing basketball” suggestions.
- Exact matches. These only focus on those keywords that feature the actual order of your seed phrase.
- Related. You can use these for inspiration since the tool looks for all keywords that could be similar to the seed phrase.
Our Semrush comparison team notes that there’s an entire section dedicated to questions, including your seed phrase. That’s great when creating the FAQ section, and you can also use these suggestions to come up with subheadings for your content pages.
The left-side panel will help you search for key phrases that include an additional word. For example, if you search for “basketball player,” you’ll find suggestions of phrases that include that term plus “best,” “American,” European,” and so on.
The main table shows a detailed keyword overview, which is important to check when selecting the winner of the Semrush vs SpyFu showdown. The list includes volume, estimated keyword difficulty and CPC.
Keyword Overview and Gap Analysis
The next thing we’ll consider is the keyword overview, which you can filter by countries or devices. The main parameters you see include the volume for the chosen country, the global volume, and the estimated keyword difficulty. Intent and trend will show you how and when it might be best to use the term, while CPC information will reveal details if you consider paid advertising. In the main table, you’ll find a narrower overview of key phrases and related term suggestions.
Another interesting tool is the keyword gap analysis, which can be a part of competitor research. Semrush comparison shows keywords for which you rank lower or stronger than the competitors. You can also find missing keywords, which can be great SEO opportunities, and there’s the option of comparing paid and organic keywords.
The first impression of the SpyFu vs Semrush comparison is that this tool doesn’t dive as deep but still covers the basics regarding keyword research. Once you enter the seed phrase, the tool will list keyword difficulty and volume details. Another parameter shows the number of homepages where you can find the keyword.
Filtering results by search volume and keyword difficulty is possible, and you can also turn on the adult filter, which can be a valuable metric for some users. SpyFu comparison also showed a “Questions” tab for those looking for inspiration for questions, and you can also check the “Also Ranks for,” which can be excellent when discovering phrases for a keyword cluster.
If we check SpyFu vs Semrush in terms of keyword gap analysis, we should mention the Kombat tool. That’s the name of this platform’s utility to search for overlapping phrases. You have three available filters here:
- Missing keywords. They show which phrases competitors have and you miss on your website.
- Core keywords. These show the overlaps with the competition.
- All keywords. This simply includes all keywords the search generates.
Semrush is the clear winner of the SpyFu vs Semrush showdown in keyword research. It’s not only about its larger database but the more options to filter the results, including broad and exact matches. If you are searching for keyword gaps, Semrush will show far more extensive statistics, while SpyFu offers rather basic coverage.
These tools can help you understand the current site’s position in the search engine rankings and get measurable results from your marketing strategies. Now, let’s see the Semrush vs SpyFu comparison in this department!
The first thing you notice is that the rank tracking tool is easy to use. The initial requirement is to enter keywords, which you can import from a project or Google Analytics or enter manually. It’s also possible to ask the platform to analyze the database and discover keywords from the targeted domain.
The statistics you receive are advanced, although the number of keywords shown depends on the package. You can see the starting position, SERP features, and search intent, which are all useful. Visibility is another useful metric, as well as the average position in the rankings. You can also see distribution by keywords located in the top three, ten, 20, or 100.
Another thing noted in our SpyFu vs Semrush review is that this tool also shows positive and negative changes in keyword ranks. Checking out the visibility gain and loss can help identify which content needs improvement or which you can advertise to get better results. Keyword cannibalization is another useful option to identify pages with similar keywords on your site. It can serve to help optimize pages to ensure Google can identify which ones deserve a higher rank when using similar phrases.
SpyFu allows importing phrases from groups or projects. It’s possible to enter up to 10,000 keywords and pick from groups like the most searched keywords and biggest traffic opportunities. It’s possible to open a group and see the ranking for those particular keywords.
Our Semrush vs SpyFu review showed the results are available quickly, but they aren’t exactly extensive. You can see monthly searches and CPC, ranking difficulty as well as rank changes since the last update. At its essence, rank tracking covers all basics, but we can’t help but think the details could be a bit more extensive.
One positive thing is that you can check the organic ranking history for a particular keyword. The report will include position history up to 2016, which can be helpful to see how your phrases performed in the past. The platform searches keywords weekly, and that’s when ranking updates are available, so there aren’t daily changes available.
It’s hard to look beyond Semrush as the winner of this SpyFu vs Semrush comparison since its rank tracking offers daily updates. That’s not the case with SpyFu, which only updates rankings weekly. If you add the fact that Semrush offers keyword cannibalization and other useful extras, there’s no doubt this tool should be your pick for extensive rank tracking.
PPC Research Features
Paid-per-click advertising is an important aspect of online marketing, and it’s a true art to make the most of your investment. It’s hard to identify the right PPC campaign keywords without a professional tool, so let’s see how Semrush vs SpyFu measures in this area!
It’s worth noting that you can use the Keyword Magic tool, as well as the gap analysis and manager utilities, to your benefit here. However, there’s also a specialized PPC Keyword tool. It will allow seeing and collecting keywords based on metrics like volume, CPC, and other parameters. It’s possible to import keywords from different file formats and identify duplicates to avoid confusion.
Advertising research is another critical tool in this department. It allows you to unveil search ads used by your competitors, discover new rivals in time, and check how live ads actually look for the chosen phrase. Semrush vs SpyFu review team mentions that you can even see how much your competitors are spending. Advertising history is a useful metric since it can also show which keywords have been a success for your rivals.
Analyzing the competitor’s PLA is another feature offered by Semrush. It’s easy to identify your rivals in Google Shopping but also see the ads that were most successful for your competition. These live ad examples will show you the ads that Google likes the most. It’s just weird that the panel per ad is too small, which isn’t exactly intuitive.
Our Semrush vs SpyFu team notes that this tool is convenient to use and offers a simple user interface. You can check the best keywords and identify ads and phrases that are most profitable. You’ll notice ad boxes that portray advertisements a particular domain currently uses for a particular keyword. The basic data portrays clicks per month and the average cost per click, as well as the estimated coverage.
Checking out the top ads is also useful and can assist in identifying advertisements that are most successful, making it easy to use in your templates. The great thing about it is that you can see various ads and get inspiration in less than a minute.
It’s worth noting that SpyFu collects information about PPC campaigns from 2007. That’s surprisingly impressive, and the archive of cached Google pages shows an amazing advertisement history.
Here’s one area where SpyFu comes out as the winner of the SpyFu vs Semrush comparison. For starters, it has an archive that’s richer than the rival, going back to 2007. And the interface is easier to use, making it fast and simple to access desired ads.
Backlink analysis is an integral part of your link-building strategy, and the following sections will show how the SpyFu vs Semrush showdown went down in this department!
It’s best to start with the analysis of your website’s backlink profile, but you can also use the Backlink Analytics tool to focus on the competition. Either way, Semrush has you covered by an extensive report that will show everything you need to know.
Our SpyFu vs Semrush comparison shows this tool allows sorting links by type or attribute. The no-follow or follow attributes, as well as seeing sponsored and UGC links by percentage, could be useful pointers. The same is true for link categories, including text, image, form, and frame.
The number of referring domains won’t tell you much, but the categories will. Apart from main classes like news or business sites, you can see subcategories for more detailed information. Semrush supports exploring URLs and domains and shows statistics regarding the domain’s authority score for a better understanding of how much you can benefit from that link.
Backlink gap analysis covers up to five domains, so you can get a detailed comparison with your rivals. Any results you receive can be exported to CSV or Excel. The Backlink audit tool is another useful utility that focuses on using the Toxicity Score metric and discovering the links that could actually be harmful to your site. Finally, the bulk analysis tool is great for large teams since it allows analyzing up to 200 websites or URLs at once.
Once again, it all starts by entering a website, and SpyFu only takes seconds to create a backlink report. The statistics begin with the domain strength rating, as well as information about ranked keywords, page or domain monthly organic clicks.
You’ll quickly realize that SpyFu uses a slightly different method that aims to help you find quality backlinks for your site. It’s possible to search the results by categories, so you can only check government sites, blogs, forums, or affiliate pages. A nice touch is the list of other sites that domains are linking to, which you can see if you place your mouse on top of the “Outbound links.”
The Backlink Kombat tool is a neat addition since it allows identifying inbound links shared by two different domains. You can enter two domains and the tool will analyze and list any pages linking to both. The trick to using this to your advantage is entering your domain into the “exclude” field. With this, the Kombat tool will identify any link gaps between you and the rivals. These can be great opportunities to use to strengthen your backlink profile.
Considering that SpyFu doesn’t seem to have a strong intent on competing in this area, it’s easy to pronounce Semrush to be the winner. SpyFu can be useful for discovering link-building opportunities, but if you want an actual backlink analysis, Semrush is the way to go.
Comparison of Other Features
We’ll end our feature comparison by mentioning some other tools that can be vital when choosing the SpyFu vs Semrush showdown winner. Here’s what to expect from SpyFu:
- SEO reports. The Google Ads Advisor is a nice feature that you can use to impress clients with useful insights in this department. Other than that, you have scheduled reports available, and you can white-label them to maintain a high reputation.
- Bulk upload. You can use this feature to analyze up to 1,000 keywords.
- List builder. It’s convenient that you can make domain, keyword, and custom lists.
Overall, SpyFu isn’t exactly rich in extra features. On the other hand, here’s what you get with Semrush:
- Content creation and marketing. SEO writing assistant and content template are two main assets that Semrush offers here. You can use the power of AI and integrate the tool with WordPress and Google Docs.
- Local SEO. You can monitor directory listings and keep track of all reviews from a single platform.
- Social media. Semrush Social allows you to manage content for social media platforms, build a community, and even find influencers to work with.
You can pick from three premium subscriptions:
- Pro. It’s possible to create five Semrush projects and track 500 keywords. Each report will have 10,000 results, and the package costs $129.95 monthly.
- Guru. The cost is $249.95 monthly, and you get 15 projects, 1,500 keywords to track and loads of extra features. Access to historical data, content marketing platform, and Looker Studio Integration are some worth noting.
- Business. The most comprehensive package costs $499.95 monthly, and you get 40 projects with 5,000 keywords to track daily. API access, the Share of Voice metric, and seeing Product Listing ads are some extra features.
Pro and Guru packages come with a seven-day free trial, but it’s necessary to provide credit card details. If you pay annually, you qualify for a discount of up to 17%. Some tools, such as those focused on local SEO and trends, are available as add-ons.
The next section of our Semrush pricing vs SpyFu pricing covers this platform’s subscription options:
- Basic. The subscription costs $39 monthly or $192 annually. It includes up to 10,000 keyword and domain search results, competitor and backlink info, and domain comparison. You also get up to 10,000 exports and custom reports.
- Professional. For $79 monthly or $432 annually, you get unlimited searches and 15 years of historical data. API access and custom-branded reports for small and medium domains are also included.
- Team. The most extensive package costs $299 monthly or $1,788 yearly. You receive white-labeling, large domain reports, and the option to create multiple user accounts.
Although there’s no free trial, SpyFu offers a 30-day money-back guarantee to its clients.
We can see two different approaches in SpyFu pricing vs Semrush pricing, and they fit what the platforms offer. SpyFu’s subscriptions cost less, but you also receive less for the money. Semrush is far more comprehensive and covers extensive SEO needs, and the prices reflect that. Therefore, small businesses and individuals will find SpyFu a better choice, while Semrush is for those serious about their SEO endeavors.
Alternative to SpyFu and Semrush
The best alternative to SpyFu and Semrush would be a platform with all-around SEO services and a fair price. It’s not easy to find a suite that fits those terms, but if you look closely, it seems that SE Ranking is the best match!
SE Ranking has a simple goal – offering a complete toolkit to improve your SEO endeavors while ensuring these utilities remain available to everyone through honest pricing. Over 25,000 companies, including big names like Mizuno, Yamaha, and Zapier, use this service.
Premium subscriptions start at $55 monthly, and you get a 14-day free trial. Here’s which tools SE Ranking has available:
- SEO research. The range of tools includes a keyword suggestion utility, SERP and backlink checkers, and competitive research resources.
- SEO monitoring. Reliable and detailed rank tracking, an extensive website audit, and on-page SEO checkers are at your disposal.
- Content marketing. The content editor is powered by AI and includes suggestions on word count, terms to include, and other details to improve your content.
- Local marketing. It’s a range of tools that focus on local presence and improving SEO in that department.
- Agency success kit. White-label and scheduled reports and lead-generation tool are available in this category.
SE Ranking has a database that covers 188 countries and includes two billion domain profiles and 4.2 billion keywords.
From a professional point of view, Semrush is the clear winner of the SpyFu vs Semrush showdown. The reason is that it offers more features, and even those that are available on both platforms are more extensive on this service. You can expect a huge database of backlinks and domain profiles, useful information and unique metrics regarding site health and keyword discovery.
There aren’t many areas where SpyFu dominates, especially if you consider that it misses detailed backlink analysis and site audit tools. It does offer a nice organic keyword history, as well as a useful Google Ads advisor. The core features in SpyFu might be basic, but they are decent for those with a limited budget. On the other hand, if you need a truly powerful SEO tool, don’t look beyond Semrush.