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The SpyFu Keyword Research Tool Review

Posted on November 18, 2009 by Tim Schroeder

logoThe number of internet marketing products available these days makes it tough to sort through which ones are the best to use.

That in itself is what sets the SpyFu keyword research tool apart.  They aim to give actionable information that search marketers can use now.  It’s like the answer to analysis paralysis, instead kicking you into action with insight and direction. Let’s see how they deliver and stack up against their competition.

How is SpyFu different?

SpyFu jumps to the top of most internet marketing “must-have” discussions, and for good reason.  As a long-time player, they built loyalty with their extensive list of domains and keywords.  16 million domains and 7 million keywords to be exact.  Where similar products will monitor your keywords and domains that you give them, SpyFu takes the route of casting a wide net and letting you rake in the information on anything and everything you’d like.

When you talk to them, they explain that they respect many of their competitors for what they offer, but their services don’t completely overlap.  They add that with the competition, it’s a matter of “defending your castle” while with SpyFu, you are “expanding your empire.”

What does this mean?  If you need to scrutinize a set of pre-selected keywords every day, then something else might be better for you.  But when it comes to learning where the best new opportunities lie, SpyFu nails it.  Their core function is to provide a look at how domains use keywords—organic and paid—to succeed in their niche.

What should I expect to find?

SpyFu also gives the spending on these keywords and ad copy that the domains used.  Where it really makes itself valuable is how SpyFu narrows down the information into the keywords that are the most actionable: the ones that make a difference now and how you can best add them to your ad groups right away.

And now with added emphasis on measuring organic efforts, they give SEOs help to prioritize their focus and win over skeptical clients.

Very simply put, if you need to grab attention online, SpyFu helps you find the fastest and most effective ways to do that within your budget.

What can I do with it that makes sense for my business?

Starting on SpyFu’s main page, enter a domain or a keyword into the search box.


Once you click search, you’ll land on a page showing statistics like a domain’s daily spending to a keyword’s top advertisers.  More important, these information pages exist as launch pads where you can get more answers depending on what you are trying to accomplish.

There is a free version of basic SpyFu, and the paid subscription of SpyFu allows you access to the premium features like SpyFu Kombat, Keyword SmartSearch, and Ad History (Keyword and Domain versions).  I’ll show you a peek at each one of those next.

SpyFu looks at your query and points you to more advanced research.  For example, when you want to find out more about how monster.com advertises, SpyFu invites you to compare the job hunting site’s keyword selections against its top competitors’ picks.  When you do that you get the fastest path to the most popular and trusted keywords in that niche.


SpyFu Kombat:
Try that example yourself with selected advertisers from the domain information page or head there directly with SpyFu Kombat.  You can enter up to three domains and use their shared keywords to pinpoint where the action is in this niche.  That’s even more powerful when you see where you’re not advertising but the others are.

Keyword SmartSearch:
By collecting the millions of keywords and phrases that your competitors consider the most effective, Keyword SmartSearch mines the strongest keywords for your niche.  This puts relevance and performance over quantity for quantity’s sake.  The biggest differentiator here, though, is how you can customize this list builder.  If you know your budget limitations, you can tap SpyFu’s cost stats and ask only for keywords in a certain cost per click range, and search volume is another editable range.  Once you get your terms, you can add bid multipliers and export these directly to your Adwords account.

Keyword Ad History and Domain Ad History:
The premise behind each of these is seeing how the activity over the past year on a keyword or a domain helps you make decisions about what you are going to do now.  However, don’t overlook a major takeaway from this—headlines and ad copy patterns.


With Keyword Ad History, SpyFu uses a “Gantt chart” with color changes marking when a domain advertised on that term and where they updated their ad.  You see who had success with the term by learning those that stuck with it consistently over time.


Using Domain Ad History, you can spot every keyword a domain used over the past year.  When you’re tracking a competitor, this helps you to determine their most trusted keywords, where they just dabbled and cut bait, and where they have tested and tweaked their ads.

In both cases optimized ad copy and headlines become clear.  You get the tested results without having spent time or money.

Plus, I just got word that SpyFu has tucked Kombat History into its SpyFu Kombat results.  Combining the elements of Ad History we see here with SpyFu Kombat, you can compare three different competitors’ rankings on a keyword over the past year.  It gives you context to make your next move.  Is a keyword moving down in popularity or is it dominated by one industry player?

There are resources for both the person just building a business and one looking to improve an already-existing campaign.  Either way, SpyFu quickly exposes new opportunities to leap to the next step.

Click Here To Try The Free Version of Spyfu or See If The Paid Version Is Right For You

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