This is a list of the best Spyfu alternatives to spy on competitors in 2021. These tools will let you do everything that Spyfu does, and then some.
Now, Spyfu has two primary segments. The SEO segment, and the Paid ad segment, right?
I’ve compiled the following websites like Spyfu in this list:
- SEMrush (SEO + Paid ads)
- Ahrefs (SEO+ Paid ads)
- Mangools (SEO only)
- Moz (SEO only)
- iSpionage (Paid ads + basic SEO)
I’m sure you can find exactly the kind of Spyfu alternative you need right here. Let’s get started then?
Top 5 SpyFu Alternatives to Spy on Competitors in 2021
What makes me list SEMrush at the very top of this list of Spyfu alternatives? A legitimate question,
I agree. For starters, I’ve been personally using it for nearly half a decade now.
Secondly, it’s used by companies such as Amazon, eBay, Vodafone, Quora, Hp, Forbes and many others!
“SEMrush has the largest database on the planet (literally) when it comes to keywords and backlinks”.
And fourth, no other tool offers half as many features as SEMrush does. I hope that justifies its position for now, doesn’t it?
What you can do with SEMrush:
- Domain research (overview)
- Keyword research
- Competition research
- Backlink research
- Ad-spying (PLAs, Display Advertising, PPC)
- Rank tracking
- Overall SEO (traffic insights/ On-page audit/ content audit etc.)
What you can do with ONLY SEMrush:
- Toxicity detection (in backlinks, not humans, alas!)
- Automated backlink builder
- Social media management
- Content Marketing Toolkit
And, it’s one of the only tool on this entire list of Spyfu alternatives capable of “PLA Ad-spying”.
SEMrush Domain overview
The SEMrush domain overview resembles strongly with that of Spyfu’s domain overview.
SEMrush tells me the domain score, organic traffic, no. of backlinks, and no. of display ads running for the domain.
It then shows me the top keywords, SERP features, main competitors (both organic, as well as paid), no. of backlinks, a list of the exact backlinks, type & attribution of the links, top anchor text etc.
Ad-data too is shown. This includes a list of all the publishers for the domain, as well as landing pages. It even shows the exact ad-creatives being used for the images.
This “overall information” is exactly how Spyfu displays its overview as well, doesn’t it?
Additionally, you get to view device-specific data (mobile/desktop) or country specific data with SEMrush. This is something that even Spyfu lacks.
Also, you don’t get bounce rate, pages/visit, and average visit duration metrics with Spyfu. SEMrush does show that data also.
All in all, you get a complete insight of a domain in about 10 second. Quick, to-the-point, and precise.
I enter a keyword on the keyword research tool, and it shows me the volume, difficulty, CPC and even the paid competition for each keyword.
Again, country and device-specific data is available. The no. of PLAs (Product Listing Ads), and PPC/Display ads too is displayed for each keyword.
The number of available SERP features, keyword variations, question-keywords, and related keywords too are shown. There also is a SERP list, showing the top 10 SERP results and metrics (backlinks, traffic, authority etc.) for each domain.
Additionally, SEMrush also has a “Keyword Magic Tool”. It shows me thousands of related keywords for my seed keyword.
One of the simplest ways to get your domain up? Mimic the backlinks of your competitors, right?
I just enter my domain on the backlink tool. It instantly shows me the no. of RDs, no. of backlinks, total traffic as well as no. of keywords on the domain.
It shows me in-depth data about the links. Such as categories of the links, top anchors, authority scores for the referring domains, backlink types & attributes, TLD-distribution for backlinks, top countries (for links), and top pages (by number of backlinks).
Toxicity detector and automated backlink builder
This is something that’s extremely helpful, and equally rare. Most other tools on this list do not offer the features.
The toxicity detector finds links for my domain which may hurt my rankings. It then lets me add them to a disavow list and download the list for easy disavowing.
The automated backlink builder is the most unique feature that SEMrush offers. I only need to enter the keywords I wish to rank for.
“It almost builds very high quality backlinks, on automation, for free”
It finds links I can build (mentions, keyword-based, lost links etc.), finds the contact info for the domain owners, lets me create an E-mail template, and then track the progress for the backlink building campaign.
All in all, in a few clicks you can be building links which otherwise may take forever to get.
SEMrush offers two pretty advanced competition research tools as well. A Link Gap and a Backlink Gap feature.
The Link Gap finds links which my competitors have but I still don’t. Similarly, the Keyword Gap feature shows me keywords my competitors are targeting but I am not.
Content Marketing Suite
This is a SEMrush-exclusive feature. It lets me find topics to write about, craft content, optimize it in real-time, promote it, build the right backlinks, and basically rank the article.
If I owned SEMrush (the company), I’d sell this one feature as an independent tool by itself. That’s how feature-rich it is. However, SEMrush offers it absolutely free. I recently did a very detailed review of SEMrush Content Marketing platform which can help you understand it better.
This is one of the reasons why I’ve placed SEMrush at the top of this list as one of the best Spyfu alternatives. Not many Spyfu competitors offer this.
So, how much money are your competitors spending? What kind of ad banners are they using? Which websites are displaying their ads? Which keywords are they running ads for? It may seem impossible to get this data, but, SEMrush does exactly that!
In fact, as the screenshot above shows, you get the complete audience profile! (Only SEMrush shows this).
Your competitor may have spent millions finding the right audience, but, you get
“Million-dollar ad-research, for free”.
SEMrush also shows me equally detailed insights for PLAs (Product Listing Ads). Competitor ads, keywords, budget, their publishers and landing pages are some of the other data that SEMrush shows.
There’s even a separate PPC Keyword Tool which helps create the perfect ad-plan. It can then directly be imported to Adwords!
Additionally, SEMrush has a position/rank checker, CPC map, social media suite and a lot more. I can find the top pages for a domain, the top traffic sources, rank changes and basically anything else about a domain using SEMrush, in seconds.
Let’s be honest, you can’t understand SEMrush’s true potential without going through a detailed SEMrush review.
SEMrush free trial and pricing
Is SEMrush truly a Spyfu alternative? Why don’t you decide that on your own, without spending a single penny! Well, yes. SEMrush is a free Spyfu alternative.
Once done with the free trial, you’ll have lifetime access to SEMrush, for free. Or, you can upgrade for more features starting at a low $99.00/month.
Still not sure if SEMrush is a good Spyfu alternative? Go check this detailed Spyfu vs. SEMrush comparison.
When it comes to SEO and competition research sites like Spyfu; Ahrefs without doubt deserves a mention, doesn’t it?
What you can do with Ahrefs:
- Backlink research
- Keyword research
- Rank tracking
- Competition research
- Site Audits
- And Ad research.
Ahrefs (as the name already hints) is primarily a “backlink audit tool”. However, it sure is capable of a lot more.
It has three primary modules, the “Site Explorer”, “Keyword Explorer” and the “Content Explorer”.
Site Explorer /Backlink research
The Site Explorer is Ahref’s version of an “overview”.
Everything I need to know about a domain, including its strength (Ahrefs Rank), no. of backlinks, no. of RDs, no. of keywords, organic traffic and the monetary value of the traffic is displayed.
The right- sidebar shows me the backlink breakdown based on their type and attributes.
Overall, the page is dedicated to “backlink information”. This includes anchor texts, new and lost backlinks, TLD information etc.
I can find referring IPs, broken links, top pages/subdomains etc. using the left-sidebar (refer to the screenshot above.)
When compared to Spyfu, I’m sure you’ll agree this is a lot more, and in-depth data than what Spyfu shows. Right?
On the other hand, it’s limited to “backlink data”. Hence, it’s nowhere near as informative as what SEMrush offers me.
Obviously, other data can be found by manually clicking on the sidebar links, however, as far as “information at a glance” goes, it’s a bit limited.
You know what this does, right? Yes, shows me keyword data. Now, this I feel is pretty informative.
A colourful meter shows me the keyword difficulty.
“Ahrefs also shows “click data”, helps understand clicks for particular searches”
It shows how many searches for the keyword lead to no clicks, how many lead to paid clicks and then the number of clicks on organic results. This is something that Spyfu does as well and hence Ahrefs wins its spots as one of the best Spyfu alternatives.
The volume and CPC are common and I’m sure you know what those are. The Global and country-specific volume for the keyword too is shown.
The rest of the page shows me related keywords, top 10 SERP results, and metrics for each result (AR/DR/UR/ no. of links/ traffic/ keywords/ top keyword etc.).
All in all, it’s impressive and data-rich.
Alike SEMrush, Ahrefs too has two competition research features. They’re called “Link Intersect” and “Keyword Gap”.
The names make themselves clear, don’t they? You can enter your domain, and the domains of your competitors on each of these features.
They’ll then show you the links you’re missing (Link Intersect) and the keywords you’re missing (Content Gap).
I’ve actually compared SEMrush vs. Ahrefs competition research features in a detailed guide.
Ahrefs too is a Spyfu alternative rich in features. It too has a rank tracker which I’ve explained in detail in a piece on the best position checker tools.
Ahrefs too has a “Paid Search” feature for ad-spying; just like Spyfu. It however doesn’t display PLAs like SEMrush does.
So, it has an “Ads” feature which shows me the exact ad-copies being run. Their volume, CPC, traffic and landing page URLs are shown.
Then, there’s a “PPC Keyword” link. This shows me a list of all the keywords the domain is running ads on. Again, key-metrics about the keywords are shown.
And, finally, there’s a “Top landing pages” link. This, as is clear, shows me the paid landing pages with the most traffic. The no. of ads for each landing page, no. of keywords and top keyword for the page too is mentioned.
All in all, Ahrefs offers quite the insight as long as you do not need data about banner ads, or PLAs.
Ahrefs pricing plans
Ahrefs doesn’t offer a free trial like SEMrush does.
However, if you pay $7.00 you can test Ahrefs for 7 days will access to all its features.
Apart from that, the paid plans start from $99.00.
I love Mangools for its interface. If you’re just starting out, or, you don’t need overwhelming data, Mangools is one of the best sites like Spyfu to get that.
What you can do with Mangools:
- Backlink analysis
- Keyword research
- SERP analysis
- SEO audits
- And Rank tracking
Additionally, Mangools’ ability to pull data from other Spyfu alternatives, (e.g. Moz, Majestic), Alexa and other third-party sources is what makes it impressive.
Unlike Spyfu, Mangools KWFinder lets me enter a location, and even a language for my searches.
Here’s what it shows for a basic keyword search:
It shows me the volume, CPC, paid competition (PPC) and difficulty for a keyword. On the right, metrics for each individual keyword and the top 10 SERP results for it are shown.
Did you notice the hoard of metrics on the second-half of the right-sidebar? I’m talking of the DA/PA/CF/TF/FB (social shares)/ EV (Estimated traffic)/ and LPS (Link Profile Strength).
Tell me that isn’t one of the most detailed, yet, easiest keyword research pages you’ve ever seen.
This is Mangool’s backlink research module. I enter a domain, and, it shows me:
The overview tab (on the top-right) shows me the TF/CF/ RDs/ Ref. IPs and total backlinks for the domains.
The individual backlink list shows me the anchor texts, detailed domain metrics (TF/CF/ Alexa Rank/Link Strength etc.), link type, and language.
However, the most unique and impressive aspect? A live link preview, on the source website, auto-highlighted!
I’ve a keyword. I wish to check who’s ranking for my keyword, and what are the domain metrics. What do I do? I fire up Mangools’ SERP Analysis.
It then shows me all the results for my keyword. Their DA/PA (from Moz), TF/CF (from Majestic), social shares, no. of links and RDs.
This is the simplest, most-detailed overview I’ve ever seen. If you need to understand a keyword’s potential, difficulty or competition; you have it right here.
SEO audits and Rank tracking
These are two additional modules/features that Mangools offers. I’m pretty sure you know what these do.
The thing about Mangools is, it doesn’t have hundreds of buttons/options like Spyfu, SEMrush or Ahrefs.
It keeps things simple. That makes it less confusing. Obviously, that also makes it “less-detailed”, but; that’s not necessarily a problem.
Mangools however lacks any and all “paid ad” capabilities unlike Spyfu.
Mangools free trial and pricing
Go try Mangools right away. It’s 100% free. You don’t even need to enter any card details. Just enter your E-mail and you get it free for 10 days.
After the trial, you just pay $26.91/month! (You get a 10% discount if you sign up right away! Well, first, try the free version and then sign up maybe?)
It’s also the only alternative to Spyfu with a live-chat; if it matters to you.
Who hasn’t heard of Moz, right? In fact, its DA (Domain Authority) used to be “the” most accurate domain strength indicator until recently. It still is considered a major metric by many.
What you can do with Moz:
- Backlink research
- Keyword research
- Competition research
- SEO audits.
Moz Link Research
Moz Link Research helps me with backlink research. E.g. I enter a domain and it shows me:
The Domain Authority for the domain. The higher it is, the harder it is to beat the domain. The no. of linking domains, inbound links, and ranking keywords are also displayed.
The “net” data shows the total links after calculating the new vs. lost links.
The page also shows a clear line-graph which tells me the no. of dofollow vs. nofollow links, external vs. internal links, anchor texts, DAs of the linking domains, and top-pages.
Just like Ahrefs, I can get other data such as anchor text, top pages, etc. by clicking on the links displayed on the left-sidebar.
The “Spam Score” feature is worth a mention (because, it’s very rare.) Moz does display the percentage of links which are most likely to harm you. It doesn’t offer a disavow feature like SEMrush does though.
Moz doesn’t resemble much to Spyfu when it comes to keyword research. In fact, it’s not similar to anything and has its own metrics.
Here’s what it shows for a keyword research:
What’s unique? It doesn’t display a concrete search volume. Rather, a “range” is shown. Difficulty and CTR are pretty common metrics found with any other competitor spy tool.
The “Priority” score sure is impressive. It helps understand the overall urgency to work on a keyword. Still confused? Go check my SEMrush vs. Moz piece for more details.
It does display “Keyword Suggestions”. However, it’s a major disappointment if I compare it to Spyfu, or any of its other competitors.
Moz doesn’t offer a keyword-compare feature like SEMrush or Moz. However, it does offer a “Link Intersect” feature which is similar to what Spyfu offers via its “exclude links to this domain” feature.
And yes, you guessed it right! It helps uncover links which are linking to competitors but may not be linking to you.
Moz does offer a Rank Tracker and an On-Page grader.
Moz free trial and pricing plans
Moz offers a 30-day free trial. And then, the paid plans start at $99.00. If you ask me, the pricing is consistent with SEMrush or Ahrefs.
Does it offer the same features as those two tools though? That’s debatable.
The name of the company probably comes from “Espionage”. And, it fits perfectly. Now, this one’s different from all the other Spyfu alternatives discussed so far.
It specializes in PPC ad-spying. Sure, SEO details too are offered; however, the priority seems to be paid ads.
It basically is a PPC ad spying tool. No PLAs or banner ads are covered.
What you can do with iSpionage:
- Ad spying
- Basic SEO (domain overview/traffic value etc.)
- Competition research.
Anyway, I search for a domain and this is what it shows me:
It shows me the total number of PPC keywords on the domain, average ad position, estimated PPC budget, and the number of clicks in the past 30 days.
The good news is, it also brings in data from Bing and Yahoo.
It also shows me the keywords, ad-copies, and the landing pages for each ad. A snapshot of the landing page too is displayed.
It then has a “Top keywords” list. This shows me the keywords with the maximum number of ads for them. The CPC, search volume, and average position for each ad too is displayed.
There’s also a list of top “ads”. As in, ads which perform the best. It also shows me the top paid competitors, their budget, and common vs. overlapping keywords for my domain vs. theirs.
And, lastly, there’s a massive section for “Competitor offers and landing pages”. Well, this just shows me ad-copies and landing pages being used by my competitors.
All in all, after SEMrush; this is one of the only Spyfu competitors displaying banner ads or competitor data.
Obviously, iSpionage has a “SEO” module. It’s not ultra data-rich, however, it does show me the total SEO value (monetary, as in, the “money-value”) , no. of first-page keywords, top keywords and their metrics (volume/traffic/traffic value etc.)
Finally, there’s a “Competitor list”. This obviously shows me my top competitors, their keywords (shared and overlapping), and their monetary value.
Again, this is only a brief description of the tool. Does it truly compete with the other Spyfu alternatives? That you can decide after giving it a try.
iSpionage free trial and pricing plans
There’s a free trial which doesn’t require any cards.
And then, the paid plans start at $59.00/month.
There’s also a 30-day moneyback guarantee given that you meet the required T&C.
Final words- Which are the best Spyfu alternatives?
SEMrush without doubt is my personal choice.
Now, it’s not just a Spyfu alternative. But, I truly believe it’s “the” most feature-rich SEO/Digital Marketing/Competition-research/Social media management tool in the industry, especially, at this price-point!
After that, if you need a “Spyfu alternative”, Ahrefs sure deserves a glimpse. It takes care of SEO and also ads to some extent.
And then, finally, iSpionage is another Paid ads + SEO tool out there. Mangools and Moz are two other options you can use if you only need Spyfu alternatives for its SEO benefits.