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The author

Epiphany Search

For the last few weeks I have been getting to grips with the beefed up paid version of a free tool I have dipped in and out of throughout my PPC career. This tool is SpyFu, and it can be a powerful and cost effective tool to have in your arsenal, if you know how best to use the data it provides. So a quick rundown of the features should be the first port of call, and here they are:

SpyFu Classic:

This is the main section most people will want to get stuck into. Here you can input a keyword or domain and get some worthwhile (if not always deadly accurate) information on:

  • AdWords PPC Budget/Average CPC
  • Average Position of Ads
  • Number of Advertisers
  • Paid Traffic Compared to Organic Traffic Estimates
  • Top Ten Paid Keywords
  • Total Paid Keywords
  • Total Organic Keywords
  • PPC Competitors
  • Organic Competitors

You can then mine down further and link through to other tools in the SpyFu toolbox which I will explain in more detail below. The classic part of the tool is also available for free although in a much cut down version but you can still gleam some useful information regarding top keywords, volumes and ads etc. What I would say at this point is that the estimates of volumes and costs given by Spyfu are very approximate so don’t bet your house on them being accurate!

SpyFu Kombat:

This basically pits up to three domains each other and highlights the overlaps in their keywords. Again this is interactive and you can dive into the keywords that overlap, and also the keywords which are unique to each advertiser. This feature can be great for comparing yourself against up to two of your main competitors in terms of keyword coverage. The main benefit of Kombat is that it can really help boost the effectiveness of your initial keyword research. You look at the keywords which two of your identified competitors are both bidding on it can give you an excellent steer on the types of keyword which could potentially work for you.

Keyword Ad History:

This one is a handy snapshot if you want to look at the kind of ads that are working for your competitors. It shows you a one year chronicle of all the competitors on your specified keyword. You can then select each domain and view the actual ads each served month on month. For this a savvy search marketer can begin to build a good understanding of their competitor’s creative strategy, and also spot where their brand can offer an alternative.

Keyword Smart Search:

This is a relatively useful tool for undertaking keyword research. It returns related keywords and keywords that are bid on by your competitors along with average CPC’s and search volumes. I still prefer the classic research tools offered by Google and adCenter in terms of debt and breadth, but I would say give it a try and see if it suits your needs.

Domain Ad History:

OK so this is along similar lines as the Keyword Ad History, except this is looking at the keywords bid on by a specific domain. In the words of SpyFu themselves, it is a ‘timeline of every keyword and every ad bought’ by a specified domain. Again this has its uses in your keyword research and competitor analysis, and it can also be useful when looking at the ads that your competitors are using for specific keywords due to the fact you can click on an individual term and it will show the ad history for that keyword. You can also view the average CPC and the average cost per day of each keyword. So, all in all SpyFu is a useful tool to have at your disposal. It’s inexpensive compared to many of the other options and if you use it intelligently, you can then leverage some great data from it. Its strengths lie in competitor analysis rather than purely keyword research, but when used together (in Kombat etc ), Spyfu is a tool that can really help you hit the ground running and ensure you are armed with some of the PPC weapons you need to keep up with your competitors. As mentioned earlier it can be hit and miss with some of its traffic and cost estimates, so I would recommend taking them with a pinch of salt (much like most other traffic estimations from Google and AdCenter etc). There are quite a few free features which will help you get a taste of what SpyFu has to offer so why not give it a try and let me know what you think…