You may not be the most skilled in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and that’s ok because many business owners are not. To become proficient at integrating SEO into your marketing strategy, it takes time to do your own research and learn how to make it work for you, as well as a teacher that can walk you through everything and show you what it all means.
SpyFu actually does this for you, too, but their service does a lot more than that and can empower you with information about your competitors that will actually be of great use to you—not just a ton of meaningless data.
There are quite a few services that you can find online which will provide you with tools to let you look at a lot of metrics for the SEO marketing campaigns of competitors and keyword research; however, none are as comprehensive as SpyFu, nor do they make it as easy to view and digest the information as SpyFu does.
Why You Need SpyFu
The first thing to note is that it’s very important to make educated, deliberate moves when it comes to utilizing SEO to compete with other businesses, no matter what kind of business you’re in. SpyFu enables you to do this by providing you with online tools that can literally dissect every aspect of your competitors’ online marketing campaigns, down to the smallest detail.
If you don’t want to look so deeply into that kind of data, then you can simply look at the broad strokes because SpyFu has awesome overview tools that let you get the basic idea of what you really need to know about competitor activity, without needing to wade through a lot of very specific metrics.
It’s better than just about any analytics resource that you will find out there for researching your competitors online. SpyFu has nailed down the best ways to view and understand what you need to know about what keywords are performing well for your competing businesses so that you know which keywords you may want to start targeting, and the software gives you the option to collect information about any domain on the Internet.
So, even if you’re just curious about a certain domain and have a hunch about them, you can quickly look into it and see if you can learn anything from their SEO activity and strategy. If you’re new to content marketing and SEO, then you can probably benefit even more from using SpyFu because it’s a platform with a wealth of information and resources to learn about why the information is important.
Rest assured that you need to better understand SEO. And to improve your SEO, you need to see how others are doing it—what you need to do to beat them.
They Help You Demystify the Data
When you start going knee-deep into SEO analytics and keyword research, there is a mountain of data that you’ll encounter, and all kinds of information to wade through. SpyFu will walk you through the process, point out what matters most, and decipher the data for you, so that you’ll understand what it means to you.
Once you start using the tools that they give you for researching and investigating competitors, you’ll see just how much data is available to you, but that’s when you need to remind yourself that there’s no need to panic because not only are there clear, in-depth explanations on their website of how to decode the data and use it, support from their team is also available for additional help.
As you’re working with the tools on the SpyFu site, you’ll find that what you’re looking at is pretty much explained on that page. One of the best parts of using their service is that, when there’s something about SEO or keyword research that you’ve always wondered about or didn’t fully understand, you can see it in action and learn about it.
Superior Keyword Research
If you’ve just been conducting keyword research for your site on your own, or even using a tool like Google AdWords, then you’ve probably found that it isn’t very effective or difficult to use to your advantage.
AdWords is a key app and very useful to figure out the best way to leverage keywords to market your business, either through organic content marketing or PPC ads, but AdWords isn’t of much use to you if you don’t really know what you’re doing and it’s the only tool you’re using to ramp up your SEO game.
SpyFu will give you way more insights for keywords, and they also provide you with data for thousands more keywords than you could find otherwise. As they have been collecting data from websites for more than a decade, and it is still archived in their system because they never deleted any of it, you will have a massive pool of information from which you can draw to better understand the performance of keywords for other domains over time.
This gives you a huge advantage because the trends and analytics they derive from those many years of data show how keywords have performed over that span of time, and how you can capitalize on that. Finding the best keywords that you can target in the content you publish online is crucial because if you don’t get it right, you’re wasting time and energy putting out content that is built around keywords which don’t draw in enough traffic.
That’s a necessary evil as you figure out the game and learn to only compete for keywords that you know you can win, for example, but having a resource like SpyFu will only speed up that learning curve for you.
Run Ongoing Research Campaigns for Your Own Domain
Part of being successful with SEO marketing is monitoring and studying how your own site is doing. You can actually enter your business’ domain into your SpyFu account and let the software create running campaigns that collect data for how the keywords you’re targeting are performing.
It lets you see which keywords Google is “rewarding”, so you can just stop working on the ones that aren’t performing well. All the elements that you will look at for your competitors’ domains you can also keep an eye on for your own site, and this gives you a much better insight into where you’re strong, and where your content is unsuccessful or weak.
Look at which periods of time (during the year or over the life of your business) brought you the most success with the keywords you were targeting, and actually examine the details to see what factors contributed to that success. One great insight you can gain with the SpyFu software is to track conversions.
Look at the web visitor path from their first keyword search and clicking on your site’s page, all the way through to the point where they converted to a customer of your business. This is really valuable information to have because it tells you a lot about what your customers are looking for when they’re searching online, which then tells you how to more effectively target potential customers.
Then, as you’re collecting all of that information about your own site, you can compare your own keyword performance, for example, with that of your competitor’s sites. The analysis doesn’t even have to stop there (though you might want it to stop when you have so much data to look at) because SpyFu offers premium “Recon” reports, as well, that they provide for you to explore even more in-depth research campaigns.
These reports can be produced for any domain and reveal an almost staggering amount of information that you can use to really go deep with research.
“Spy” on Competitors to Gain Valuable Information
This is the true advantage you get from using SpyFu, hence their namesake. You can literally choose a competitor’s domain to spy on their activity, which of course involves nothing illegal; it simply lets you examine tons of information in the public domain.
See what keywords they’re targeting, what PPC ads they’re bidding on, how much they’re spending on those ads, and a lot more. You can see pretty much everything they’re doing online to improve their own SEO marketing. Then, you can take all that information and learn from them. Clearly see what has been successful for them, as well as what did not work, and use that information to fortify your own efforts with SEO.
It really is like you’re legally spying on the activity of your competitors because there is so much data that you can collect and view, that a service like SpyFu was created for the specific purpose of making sense of all that data and putting it to use so that you can improve your own marketing efforts.
If you just take even a small amount of time to explore the software and tools that SpyFu offers use their built-in resources to figure out how to use it, which is really not all that complicated, you will be able to adjust your online marketing and keyword-targeting campaigns to draw a lot more traffic to your business site. And since you’re targeting the right keywords, you’ll see a lot more visitors who end up converting to paying customers, which is naturally the whole point of using this service.
PPC Activity Research
If you’re open to utilizing PPC (Pay Per Click) ads to bring is new sales (conversions) through SEO, or even if you’re not open to it yet, you can gain still valuable information through this platform because the PPC research tools on SpyFu are second to none. PPC is a difficult aspect of online marketing, as it’s tough to navigate and doesn’t always yield results.
You may actually find that organic SEO marketing through targeting the right keywords is more effective, and it doesn’t cost you anything but the time to create the targeted content. PPC is definitely worth a try, though, so it’s just another tool to put in your toolbelt.
Some businesses can benefit more from paid ads than others, but keep in mind that it is tough to design a good ad headline, with the right keywords, and put it in the right place so it gets in front of the right kind of eyes.
To get started, you should see what keywords your competitors are bidding on or already running successfully, to find out which ones you should possibly be bidding on. Looking at which keywords they’re targeting is a really good reference because it means you don’t have to feel around in the dark for the right ones.
This is especially helpful if the competitors’ businesses are structured very similar to your own, or that have products very close to, or exactly the same as what you’re selling. You can even look at the entire history of a competitor’s domain for a comprehensive view of what has worked for them over time and what has not.
Numerous Research Tools at Your Fingertips
Simply put, SpyFu gives you all kinds of tools that you can either decide to use or to not use, but in any case, anything you need to know about your competitors’ SEO and keyword activity you can find out and analyze using SpyFu.
You can get simple, easy-to-understand overviews of any competitor’s domain and what they’re doing. Tag specific domains and track their activity, so that you can bring up reports of that activity anytime. Backlinks are another important element of SEO because they are one of the primary things that Google looks at when deciding how highly to rank your content in search pages.
You can always look at how many and which backlinks any domain is getting, as well as your own backlink stats. Use SpyFu’s active comparison tool they call “Kombat” to run ongoing reports of how you compare to another domain of your choosing.
There’s no limit to the amount of useful information that you can collect about your competitors through SpyFu, and the best part is that you’ll be able to make sense of it, so that you can draw increasingly more targeted traffic to your business’ site.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.