Richard Bach

No Online Marketing Guru Bullshit

SEMrush vs SpyFu

Updated: 2nd June 2017 - These are the two top competitive research tools currently. SypFu launched a few years before SEMrush and was the top competitor for organic traffic research on till SEMrush showed up. I intend to do a direct comparison between these two to help you decide which one works best for you. While SEMrush has a much larger feature set now, compared to SpyFu, I will be focusing only on the features that both have in common i.e. Google paid and organic traffic analysis.

SEMrush

Developed by same team that created the popular browser addon SEOQuake, SEMrush is a cloud-based SEO tool which boasts of more than 1,000,000 registered users. SEMrush gets data every month for 220 million keywords and has more than 120 million domains in its system. In its early days the tool would only show data for organic searches and paid searches (adwords). However recently, they also provide back link data, data on display advertising and PLA research.

I have not used the "Projects" feature, where you can track your own keywords. Most of my work is to tracking organic rankings of competitors, to find out what keywords they work for and to figure out strategies to compete with them.


SpyFu

SpyFu was launched in 2005 as GoogSpy by Mike Roberts and was the first such competitive intelligence to hit the market. Due to their early launch they have the most historical data compared to any of the other tools.  They have been used in the 2008 Obama campaign and have been mentioned often in various online publications.

  • Keywords & Domain data comparison for SpyFu vs SEMrush

SEMrush has data for 26 different countries, while SpyFu only has data for US and UK. SpyFu does not disclose how many keywords they track every month, although they do mention that they have 4 billion results across 72 million domains. SEMrush does disclose their data: 220 million keywords and 120 million domains. So it seems that SEMrush has SpyFu beat on the total amount of data in their system

  • Historical data comparison for SEMrush vs SpyFu

SpyFu has historical data from 2005, while SEMrush only has this data from 2011. This makes a big difference for those who want to see the trends over those years. As time goes back, this will no longer be a major differentiator though. I mean - seriously - who cares about what happened way back in 2005? :)

  • Pricing comparison for SpyFu vs SEMrush

Both the products are similarly priced. They both also tend to offer a small amout of data for free. Not much of a differentiator here

  • Ease of use / UI / UX comparison for SEMrush vs SpyFu

Personally I find SEMrush a lot easier to use. But maybe my judgement is biased as I was first introduced to SEMrush and after that to SpyFu. It's very likely that SpyFu customers from 2005-2010 had a similar bias when SEMrush jumped onto the scene.

  • How accurate is SEMrush vs SpyFu

Both the tools SEMrush and SpyFu get their data by scraping Google and then try and estimate the amount of traffic a website gets based on its position in the SERPs and the monthly search volume of the keyword. Unfortunately, looking at the real numbers from my sites, both the tools could be wildly inaccurate. I generally use these numbers to compare one website to another and always take the traffic numbers with a pinch of salt

  • How is the historical data at SEMrush vs SpyFu

Since SpyFu was launched a few years before SEMrush, it definitely has much more historical data than SEMrush. However, I generally only look at the last 5 years of data at the max. So personally, it does not make any difference to me


WHICH TOOL SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Short Answer: SEMrush

Long Answer: Although both the tools are awesome, I find the SEMrush data a little more accurate compared to SpyFu and when it comes to competitor analysis, a little more accuracy goes a long long way.  Additionally by limiting itself to UK and UK, SpyFu has pretty much abadoned all the other countries, which I'm sure form a pretty significant chunk of the market.