Best SEO Software 2020

SEMrush vs. SpyFu: Compare SEO Software

Is SEMrush or SpyFu the better solution for you? This in-depth, feature-by-feature breakdown will help you select the best search tool to drive more traffic to your website.

Digital marketers and business owners use SEO software to capture more website traffic and improve marketing campaign ROI. There are hundreds of SEO software tools in the market, which makes it challenging to pick the best solution for you.

Good news - if you're reading this article, you're on the right path. Both SEMrush and SpyFu are strong, trusted software platforms that have been happily used by thousands of customers for over 10 years. This guide will explain the difference between the two solutions, including a deep dive into their top features, and make it simpler for you to decide which tool is best for you.

Comparison Summary

SEMrush and SpyFu are popular software products used by digital marketers to improve their performance in online search. When comparing the two, the single most important factor to understand is that SpyFu offers a subset of the tools found in SEMrush for a fraction of the price.

Overall, SEMrush is the stronger product, but it is significantly more expensive and might include features that you don't need. Here's a quick test to determine which solution is best for you:

You'll prefer SEMrush if:

  • You have the budget to spend at least $99.95 per month.
  • You need a tool for keyword rank tracking, website traffic analytics, or SEO audits.
  • It's critical that you can do keyword research for specific devices or geographies.
You'll prefer SpyFu if:

  • The $39 monthly subscription is better for your budget.
  • Keyword research and competitive research are your only priorities.
  • You don't have a need for keyword rank tracking, traffic analytics, or SEO audits.

Table of Contents

SEMrush & SpyFu Price Comparison

As mentioned above, SpyFu is considerably cheaper than SEMrush. The entry plan for SpyFu costs about 40% of the entry plan for SEMrush. As a result, you can save at least $60 per month if SpyFu has the tools that you need.

SEMrush Pricing Details

SEMrush pricing starts at $99.95 per month. You save 16% if you pay annually.

  • Pro Plan: $99.95 per month for 1 user
  • Guru Plan: $199.95 per month for 1 user
  • Business Plan: $399.95 per month for 1 user

SpyFu Pricing Details

SpyFu pricing starts at $39 per month. You get additional savings if you pay annually.

  • Basic: $39 per month for 1 user
  • Professional: $78 per month for 1 user
  • Team: $199 per month for 5 users

SEMrush & SpyFu Feature Comparison

The SEMrush platform includes far more tools and features than SpyFu. This is the main difference between the two solutions.

SpyFu's product is very good at what it does, but it has a much narrower focus compared to SEMrush. The table below provides an overview of the tools found in each solution.

ToolSEMrushSpyFu
Keyword ResearchYesYes
Competitive ResearchYesYes
Keyword Rank TrackingYesLimited
Backlink AnalysisYesNo
SEO Site AuditsYesNo
Content ResearchYesNo
Traffic AnalyticsYesNo
Business Listing ManagementYesNo
Social Media ManagementYesNo

The tools that SEMrush and SpyFu both offer are keyword research, competitive analysis and keyword rank tracking. Below, we'll analyze how each solution approaches these tools, and share actual screenshots of the product to give you a feel for its design.

Keyword Research Comparison

SEMrush and SpyFu are both very strong tools for keyword research. Either can be used to find high volume keywords that your business can target through organic and paid search. SEMrush has slightly more data, but also has a steeper learning curve.

Choosing the best solution for keyword research comes down to personal preference. We recommend testing both and determining which tool is more user friendly for you.

Keyword Research with SEMrush

SEMrush comes with several tools to help you research the best keywords for your business. The three most powerful are the Keyword Magic tool, Keyword Overview tool, and the Keyword Gap report.

SEMrush's most popular feature is the Keyword Magic tool, pictured below. This tool makes it very easy to find all keywords related to any other keyword. Below, you can see the related keywords that SEMrush suggests for the root keyword "cars."

SEMrush Keyword Magic Tool Cars

You can use the Keyword Overview tool to get in-depth insight into any specific keyword. This report shows much of the same information that is visible in the Keyword Magic tool. In addition, you can see keyword variations, questions related to the keyword, and marketing ads that have been used to target the keyword.

SEMrush keyword overview report

SEMrush also includes a Keyword Gap report that allows you to find keywords that your competitors rank well for, but you do not. This tool quickly returns hundreds of high-value keywords that you can target using new content or paid search campaigns. Since they already work well for your competitors, there's a greater chance that the keywords will work for your company as well.

SEMrush Keyword Gap Analysis

Keyword Research with SpyFu

The process for doing keyword research with SpyFu is similar to SEMrush. In addition, much of the data provided by the tool is the same.

To start your keyword research, enter an initial keyword into SpyFu. The Keyword Overview report provides detailed information about the keyword including monthly search volume, estimated organic and paid clicks, similar keywords, and questions related to the keyword.

SpyFu Keyword Overview

The SpyFu Keyword Overview report shares additional information about the keyword. This includes the most successful advertisers targeting the keyword, the websites that rank in the top 10 for the keyword, and related keywords to target using Google Ads. This information is also available in SEMrush, but you have to use multiple reports to access it. As a result, SpyFu is slightly easier to use.

The SpyFu Related Keywords report is very similar to SEMrush's Keyword Magic tool. It suggests thousands of keywords related to your initial keyword. You can filter results using many of the same dimensions as SEMrush. However, you cannot filter results by device or geography in SpyFu.

SpyFu Related Keywords

Finally, SpyFu also has a tool to identify keywords that work well for your competitors' websites, but not yours. This Kombat report functions very similarly to SEMrush's Keyword Gap report.

SpyFu Organic Kombat

Competitive Analysis Comparison

SEMrush and SpyFu are two of the best solutions for conducting competitive research to better understand your competitors' online marketing tactics. Both can be used to see the website traffic that your competitors get from online search, and the search ads that they have used in PPC campaigns.

However, the SEMrush platform enables broader competitive analysis. SEMrush has a Traffic Analytics Package that uses data from hundreds of millions of internet browsers to generate rich insights about your competitors' audiences. It also provides visibility into your competitors' display & product listing ads (PLAs), as well as their backlink profiles.

Overall, both tools are outstanding options for competitive analysis. If you have a need for advanced competitive analysis, then it might be worth paying the extra price for SEMrush.

Competitive Analysis with SEMrush

SEMrush has tools that you can use to identify your top competitors, the keywords that drive the most traffic to their websites, and the online ads they are using. In addition, the SEMrush Traffic Analytics Package gives you access to rich data generated by real internet users. This can be used to see information on your competitors' traffic sources, website performance, and where internet browsers go after leaving their websites.

The Competitors tab in the Organic Research report displays the websites that share the most keywords with your website. This is a quick way to identify your top online competitors. For each website, you can see their traffic, number of paid keywords, and the number of keywords you have in common.

SEMrush Competitive Analysis

Once you've identified your top competitors, you can use SEMrush's Advertising Research report to investigate your competitors' paid advertising tactics. This report shows you the keywords that your competitors are bidding on, and the corresponding search ads that they are using.

SEMrush Advertising Research

SEMrush has a similar report for display advertising. This report can be used to investigate your competitors' display advertising tactics.

SEMrush display ads report

In addition to the tools above, the SEMrush platform includes a Traffic Analytics Package that offers information about your competitors' website that cannot be found in SpyFu. The basic version of this tool is free, but the full add-on costs an extra $200 per month.

SEMrush Traffic Analytics Report

This package uses data from actual internet browsers to surface insights for any website, including:

  • Website unique visitors, pages per visit, and bounce rate
  • Website traffic by source and geography
  • Top referring websites
  • Top performing pages
  • Websites that visitors go to after the target website

Competitive Analysis with SpyFu

The process for doing competitive research with SpyFu is similar to SEMrush. You can start with the Top Organic Competitors and Top Ad Competitors reports to identify your top online competitors. As you can see below, these reports are almost identical – one shows the websites you compete with in organic search (SEO) and the other in paid search.

SpyFu Top Organic Competitors
SpyFu PPC Ad History

Once you've identified your competitors, you can use SpyFu to research their online advertising tactics. SpyFu provides data on all the keywords that your competitors have advertised for, along with estimates for their cost-per-click and monthly spend. You can also use SpyFu to see their most profitable ads and corresponding ad copy.

SpyFu PPC Ad History

Bottom Line

SEMrush and SpyFu are both affordable, high-quality software tools that will help your business capture more value from online marketing. Both solutions are highly effective for researching keywords and investigating the online marketing tactics used by your competitors.

The primary difference between the tools is the breadth of their feature set and their price point. SEMrush, starting at $99.95 per month, offers a whole suite of tools that can be used to support almost any search marketing initiative. In contrast, SpyFu, which starts at $39 per month, has solid products for keyword research and competitive analysis.

If you have the budget to spend $99.95 per month, or want a solution that comes with a broad range of features, SEMrush is probably best for you. If you need a tool specifically for keyword research and competitive analysis, then SpyFu is an excellent, more affordable option.

Both companies offer free trials of their products. Visit SEMrush or SpyFu today to get started.

Bruce Hogan

Bruce Hogan is Co-founder & CEO of SoftwarePundit, a technology research firm that provides advice, information, and tools to help businesses thrive. Bruce has experience investing at multi-billion dollar private equity firms, leading teams at venture-backed Internet companies, and launching new businesses.

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