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When it comes to digital marketing, few things are more important than the tools to use in setting up your website or company. However, finding the perfect tool to help you grow and expand your digital business can be very confusing, especially with all the buzzwords that fly around.

We’re here to help make your life easier by comparing two SEO keyword engines, so you don’t have to. Both SpyFu and SEMRush are two acclaimed tools with reputations for starting, growing, and maintaining online businesses. We’re here to help answer the question: which program is the best fit for you?

Both SpyFu and SEMRush are SEO marketing tools that make sure you’re choosing the best, most searched, and most applicable keywords on your webpage. The biggest mistake you can make when first starting a website is not optimizing it for search engines to find easily. The second biggest mistake is biting off more than you can chew when creating a website.

However, there are a ton of other features that both contenders offer. We’re going to break their multitude of features down for you, so you know what you’ll get exactly with each program and tier membership. The last thing you want to do is go into this without ample information about what each company can do for you and your growing business.

What is SpyFu?

SpyFu has been around for over ten years, originally launched in 2006. As a company, it has grown into one of the top competitors in tracking SEO and PPC trends. By finding high-ranking keywords for companies to use, they boost the company’s profitability and overall digital marketing success.

What SpyFu Offers

As the name suggests, SpyFu advertises all the ways you can spy on your competitors to help get a leg up on them. You can see comprehensive lists of competitor site domains, purchased keywords, and organic rankings that will help you improve your website.

PPC Tools

Their PPC competitor research tools help you “spy” and pick out the best keywords to run your campaigns with to make sure you stay on par with your competition. This comes with a grouping tool as well, so you can see which groups have worked best for the competition and how you can improve it.

They also track how much money is spent on buying certain keywords, which helps you stay ahead of the curve and hop onto trending keywords long before your competition catches on. All of this and more comes with the PPC competitor research information, and it’s all available in unlimited downloads.

SEO Tools

SpyFu’s SEO competitor research tools are also top-notch and function similarly to the PPC research. You can get access to your competition’s top SEO keywords and even categorize them into groups with their handy Keyword Group Analysis Tool.

You can not only see keywords but see actual numbers to their ranking as well. You can pinpoint exactly why you may not be ranking in the same capacity that your competition is and improve your digital marketing efforts with ease. SpyFu will also help you track and generate backlinks to help boost your website’s domain presence.

SpyFu Bonuses

Speaking of domains, SpyFu will also track and show you the top-ranking websites in your specific niche, not to mention how much money they spend on buying AdWords too. They’ll help you see the most searched keywords straight from Google Keyword Planner, so you guide your online marketing presence in the right direction.

Besides these amazing marketing tools at the tips of your fingers, SpyFu also offers both step-by-step guides and over 200 video tutorials to make sure you’re thoroughly acquainted with their technology and use it correctly. They also have easy to access customer service.

Pricing

SpyFu has three different product tiers that each come with their own advantages. The first tier is Basic, which is great for those just starting out and gives unlimited search results, data exports, and domain overview PDF files. However, it’s only used for small domain SEO domains—anything with less than 1,000 keywords.

The second tier is Professional, and the tools included in this tier include everything from Basic and up the numbers of things like domain contacts and sales leads, tracking keyword rankings, and expanding from just small SEO domains to include medium as well—anything between 1,000 to 30,000 keywords.

Finally, there’s the Team tier. This is for well-established businesses and includes up to 5 separate user logins. The Team tier builds off the Professional tier and ups the numbers on everything mentioned before, and includes large SEO domain tracking—anything larger than 30,000 keywords.

Plus, if you’re unsatisfied with your SpyFu experience, they offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can cancel with ease via email, their live chat service, by phone, or even just logging into your account and canceling through the portal.

What is SEMRush?

SEMRush was started about two years after SpyFu in 2008. In its 12 years of business, the team grew from more than just SEO and IT specialists. SEMRush offers over 40 different SEO and PPC marketing tools that help companies grow and experiment in their ads to see what sticks and what doesn’t.

What SEMRush Offers

Much like SpyFu, SEMRush offers various tools to help boost your SEO keywords, PPC keywords, social media, and content marketing presence, and give insight into your competitors’ marketing to help you focus on where to improve your own.

PPC Tools

SEMRush helps you optimize your PPC strategy by offering a variety of features. They’ll give you insight into your competition’s paid search strategies, ad campaigns, and the effectiveness of their landing pages. Additionally, it’ll help you find effective keywords for PPC campaigns, along with the average cost of certain PPC keywords at a local level.

SEO Tools

SEMRush tracks your SEO keywords daily, helping you get an insight into how your ranking changes each day. It will also allow you to look at your competition’s SEO strategies and build upon them in a way that bolsters your own online marketing. Moreover, you can see tons of different SEO keyword ideas to help you get even more traffic to your website.

SEMRush Bonuses

The toolkit SEMRush provides to you will also help you create and execute effective social media and content marketing campaigns. They’ll help you create ads for both Facebook and Instagram and look at your competitor’s campaigns to see what works and what doesn’t.

Market research is also provided with SEMRush, which lets you see your competition’s marketing angles from all sides, not to mention key marketing players in your niche that will help your website grow. It will also help you track and hop on different market trends to stay relevant and timely with your website.

Pricing

Just like SpyFu, there are three different membership tiers within SEMRush. The first is Pro, which is great for those just breaking into digital business and marketing. You can have up to 3,000 reports per day, with up to 10,000 results per report. You can manage three projects at once and up to 500 keywords tracked daily.

The next level is Guru, which is $199.95 per month or $166.62 per month if billed annually. This is the perfect fit for those who own and operate SMBs, small to mid-sized businesses, or expanding marketing agencies. With this tier, you can have up to 5,000 reports per day with 30,000 results per report. You’re also able to have 15 projects at once and up to 1,500 daily tracked keywords.

Guru adds the Content Marketing Platform as well, which helps you find unlimited topic research, 800 different SEO templates, and even lets you track trends in different countries. It also allows you up to 5 plagiarism checks per month and gives you the historical data of your competition’s tracked keywords and ad campaigns.

The final tier is Business, and it’s the most comprehensive tier by far, with 10,000 reports per day and 50,000 results per report, not to mention you get up to 5,000 daily tracked keywords and an unlimited number of projects. Business tier members get access to the same Content Marketing Platform as well as more extensive sharing options, and Google Data Studio integrated into their reports.

All levels get access to mobile ranking, sharing with “edit” access, and every tier comes with one authorized user. However, more can be added if necessary for an additional fee. However, if none of these plans quite fit what you need at the time, SEMRush offers custom plans, too. This will make sure you get access to all the items you need, and you don’t waste money on things you won’t use.

SEMRush allows you to cancel, upgrade, or downgrade your membership tier or your selected features at any time. If you’re unhappy with your experience with SEMRush, they even offer a 7-day money-back guarantee.

The Winner

Both SpyFu and SEMRush are remarkable tools that help digital marketers, and online businesses grow and thrive. In all honesty, the best one boils down to what you need to do for your SEO and PPC business practices. SpyFu vs. SEMRush isn’t an entirely even matchup because each business (and business owner) has different needs.

It’s undeniable that SpyFu is less costly than SEMRush, but it seems SEMRush offers a more comprehensive look at the daily fluctuations of SEO and PPC. You might pay extra for the feature, but there’s a reason for it.

SpyFu, on the other hand, is more like a monthly summary of what worked and didn’t work for you and your competition. SpyFu also seems exclusively focused on helping pick out perfect keywords, while SEMRush helps with keywords as well as other aspects of digital marketing.

It’s important to not bite off more than you can chew at the beginning, so if you’re just starting out, SpyFu is a lower-cost investment that can help you get your feet wet in online content marketing. Once you’re comfortable with traditional SEO and PPC practices and know what to do and how to execute it, it may be smart to make the switch to SEMRush and utilize all its extra features to take your business to the next level.

All in all, SEMRush and SpyFu are great tools to help businesses expand and reach their fullest potential with their SEO and PPC keyword optimization, not to mention the multitude of other services included in their price. However, choosing the best program ultimately comes down to what you’ll need in a keyword research tool and how much you can afford to spend at the time.

FAQs

For beginners and seasoned digital marketers alike, sometimes a refresher is always helpful. We’re going to define some key terminology you’re bound to run into on both websites and what they actually mean in terms of implementation for your online business and helping it grow.

What is SEO?

SEO is an acronym that stands for Search Engine Optimization. Search engine optimization is crucial for creating websites or other digital platforms because you want your product or web page to show up among the first few links when searched.

If you’re unfamiliar with SEO, it can be extremely confusing and may seem like nothing more than a superfluous buzzword. SEO is more than just a buzzword, though, and implementing it correctly can make the difference between whether your website sinks or floats.

SEO has a line, though, where you want it to be naturally integrated into your writing and website. The last thing you want is a site that’s overly full of SEO content. Your viewers will catch on and quickly leave as soon as they came—that’s the opposite of what you want.

One last piece of advice when it comes to SEO: don’t write to answer someone’s Google search. Keywords are always more pertinent and beneficial than simply answering a question and will ultimately drive more traffic to your website than only answering a question ever will. For example, “where do coffee beans come from?” is a less effective search than simply writing with the words “coffee,” “bean,” and “production.”

What is PPC?

PPC is another important acronym that stands for Pay-Per-Click. Having a working knowledge of SEO and its practices helps you find the perfect keywords and groupings that make sure your ads are generating revenue for your website.

You have to pay to utilize PPC in search engines but, when it functions correctly, the fee you pay is minuscule compared to the business you’re bringing in to your website. Keyword research for SEO and PPC is where both SpyFu and SEMRush excel, along with a variety of other services.

What is AdWords?

AdWords is another term that appears on both SpyFu and SEMRush’s websites and services offered and is crucial to excelling in digital marketing and advertising. Google AdWords is now known as Google Ads and functions with a PPC model. In short, it’s the advertising model many website owners choose, as Google is the biggest search engine with the largest market share.

But how does AdWords work? There’s an algorithm that Google runs each time you run a search. The algorithm chooses from a pool of (paying) candidates to determine which ones it’ll show on the search engine results page as an advertisement. Using SEMRush and SpyFu can help you rank higher in this algorithm, though the jury’s out on the specific impact of either option.

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