Semrush Vs. SpyFu

updated on
July 6, 2023
Terry Williams
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The Winner


Semrush Position Tracker

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Key Differences between Semrush and SpyFu

  • Semrush has many capabilities as an SEO platform, whereas SpyFu is limited to competitor analysis. 
  • Compared to SpyFu, Semrush has a more efficient keyword research tool.
  • Semrush has a traffic analysis tool, while SpyFu doesn’t. 
  • SpyFu has more than ten years of competitor data, while Semrush dates to 2012. 
  • SpyFu provides unlimited search results on higher price plans, while Semrush caps each tier. 


For online-based businesses, SEO tools are the most crucial aspect in determining whether your company will be seen. If your traffic analytics look sad and you aren’t getting the traction you were hoping for, you should consider including more solid keywords to get Google’s eyes on your enterprise. 

Google is the cream of the crop when it comes to search engines. Every business, including yours, is trying to get its website to the top of Google’s search results. Google receives a boatload of searches a day, and even if your business is listed in the search results, that doesn’t mean that there may be similar websites ranking better than yours. 

More and more companies have relied on an SEO strategy to get desired results, and the better the SEO toolkit, the better the results. 

So, what SEO tool is best? You’ve most likely heard of Semrush and SpyFu. These two competitor research tools are quite possibly the most popular and advanced choices on the market. 

Semrush is an all-in-one marketing toolkit featuring impressive competitive intelligence capabilities, while SpyFu mainly focuses on competitor analysis. While these options are distinctly different, they can offer varying results that would benefit you and the needs of your business.  

Now, instead of going on and on about why these two are so great, I’m going to go over which option is the clear winner by our standards at SerpFocus. 

Core Features


Semrush’s Core Features

Semrush provides a bouquet of excellent core features, including:

Keyword Research

  • Keyword Overview: This tool finds the best keywords for your marketing strategy. You can find organic and advertising values of each keyword based on several factors, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, intent, number of results, CPC, competition level, SERP features, and more.
  • Organic Research: You can find ways to rank for your rival business’ most profitable keywords. Optimize your organic keywords and find more effective ways to gain search engine results relevant to your target audience. 
  • Keyword Magic Tool: Generates thousands of keyword combinations from one keyword and explores a keyword toolbox that features over 22 billion keywords.
  • Keyword Gap: Identifies new opportunities for launching efficient SEO campaigns and can benchmark up to five keyword profiles at once. 
  • Keyword Manager: Assists with creating master lists that fit your SEO strategy and goals simultaneously with real-time keyword metrics for up to 1000 keywords. You can also share your keyword research with the rest of your team and clients. 
  • Organic Traffic Insights: You can leverage Semrush’s integration with Google Analytics to discover keywords that aren’t provided and cross-reference the data from your website’s organic search performance. 

On-Page SEO

  • Site Audit: You can process your web page in minutes with a high-speed crawler and receive actionable solutions for your website’s issues.
  • On-Page SEO Checker: Improve the ranking of specific website pages by producing a long list of potential ideas and tips. 
  • Log File Analyzer: Find new ways to manage bot activity and crawl budget optimization. This tool analyzes your access logs and determines how a Google crawler interacts with your site. 

Competitor Analysis

  • Traffic Analytics: Compare your website to competitors and see where you stand. This tool allows you to see their estimated traffic, top traffic sources, time on the page, and more.
  • Organic Research: Look into your organic search competitors and learn how to compete with them. 
  • Advertising Research: Learn how to beat the conversation in paid search by gathering deep knowledge of the advertising landscape. 
  • Social Media Tracker: Analyze your competitors’ social media accounts and keep track of your audience’s preferences to find better ways to increase engagement. 

Content Marketing

  • Topic Research: Discover an array of content ideas to create engaging content that your audience will remember. 
  • Marketing Calendar: Manage content strategies, keep track of editorial calendars, and collaborate with your team. This tool ensures you and your team stay on course during SEO campaigns, employee tasks, and more.  
  • SEO Content Template: Create custom briefs for SEO-related content that attracts organic traffic to your company’s website. 
  • SEO Writing Assistant: You can check your SEO score and originality. In addition, you can receive actionable tips for adjusting your tone and improving your overall readability. 
  • Post Tracking: Track social engagement, backlink count, referral traffic, and daily keyword rankings of your content to measure the performance of your external publications. 
  • Content Audit: Analyze your content to determine your top articles and identify which ones require an update. 

Local SEO

  • Listing Management: Automatically distribute your business data to the most authoritative directories. This allows you to follow your local ranking progress on a ZIP code level.
  • Position Tracking: Use the position tracking tool to track your daily online performance. You can monitor keyword and device types, keep track of your competitors’ domains, and follow your search engine performance. 
  • On-Page SEO Checker: You can improve your search rankings by analyzing your competitors’ strategies. 
  • Social Media Toolkit: Use this tool to post/schedule updates on your online channels, including your Google Business Profile, all from one place.  

Rank Tracking

  • Position Tracking: Track keywords, domains, and competitors on Google to optimize your targeting efforts.
  • Sensor: You can track Google and Baidu SERPs based on daily changes in rankings. 
  • Ranks: Research the domains with the best organic visibility and discover which ones have the most paid keywords, paid traffic, and estimated paid traffic budget. 

Social Media Management

  • Social Media Poster: You can schedule posts to your social media accounts within seconds and track their performance. 
  • Social Media Ads: Create, launch, manage, and optimize ads on social media with this specific toolkit and receive recommendations on how to improve low-performing ads.

Link Building

  • Backlink Analytics: Use a dynamic backlink builder to discover and track inbound links. It can help you find outreach possibilities to improve your SEO based on competitors’ backlink profiles
  • Backlink Audit Tool: You can monitor your backlink profile to keep it clean, avoid Google penalties, and preserve its quality.
  • Backlink Gap: Get insights on link prospecting and outreach methods and track up to five competing backlink profiles simultaneously. 
  • Bulk Backlink Analysis: Scale up the master list of link-building prospects and analyze competitors at a larger scale.  
  • Link Building Tool: Obtain reputable backlinks with consistent outreach campaigns and run/automate them fully while using this backlinking tool. 

Competitor SEO Analysis

  • Organic Research: Strengthen your SEO strategies by gaining insights into your competitors’ domains. 
  • Keyword Gap: Compare up to five competitors at once and find gaps in keyword strategies you can use on your website.
  • Keyword Overview: Run a simple competitive analysis on a single keyword and see the metrics behind them. 
  • Backlink Analytics: Find various backlink opportunities for your site by looking into your competitors’ top referring domains and finding their most recent or lost backlinks.
  • Backlink Gap: A quick and easy solution to find relevant link-building opportunities within your niche.  
  • My Reports: Compile vital information on your competitors in a PDF and share it with the rest of your team or clients. 
  • Position Tracking: Discover/track rising and falling search terms by keeping tabs on your site’s positions on Google SERPs.

Content Creation & Distribution

  • Topic Research: You can receive hundreds of content ideas simply by clicking on a rough topic idea and your location. Create quality content based on your audience’s questions. 
  • Content Marketplace: Find a skilled copywriter to create traffic-driving blog posts and have them optimized upon request.
  • Social Media Poster: Schedule and share your content across your social media platforms and analyze their performance. 

Content Optimization

  • SEO Content Template: Receive tips to create winning content based on your keyword targets and your rivals’ ranking for these keywords.
  • SEO Writing Assistant: This tool ensures your content is unique and improves your copy’s readability and tone to match your SEO strategy. 

Content Marketing Analytics

  • Content Audit: Use this tool to find content that requires further improvement and automatically break it down into sets.
  • Post Tracking: Measure the performance of your content and your competitors’ articles. 

Market Analysis

  • Market Explorer: You can use Semrush Growth Quadrant to explore the market size/potential, key players, and traffic generation strategies. 
  • Traffic Analytics: Conduct a comparative analysis of market players and their online performance/trends and analyze your target market.

  • Keyword Magic Tool: You can access the largest keyword database on the market and find related terms/phrases, niche topics, and question keywords to build the best keyword list for your campaign. 
  • Advertising Research: Analyze your competitors’ ad strategies, see the keywords they bid on, and discover new advertisers in Google Ads.
  • PLA Advertising: Analyze the performance of other Google Shopping advertisers and explore their most successful ads. 

Competitor PR Monitoring

  • Post Tracking: Follow the effectiveness of your external publications while using Semrush’s competitor tracking software and boost your PR impact based on digital monitoring.
  • Social Media Tracker: Get insight into your competitors’ social media and content to generate campaign ideas. 

PPC Keyword Research

  • Keyword Magic Tool: The keyword magic tool can provide access to the largest keyword database to help you build a paid keyword list for your campaign.
  • Keyword Manager: Receive up to 1000 keywords at a time and the freshest metrics. Send your favorite keywords to other Semrush tools.
  • Keyword Gap: You can find new keyword ideas by analyzing your competitors and spotting paid keywords that you both use.
  • PPC Keyword Tool: Use the PPC Keyword Tool to optimize your campaign by organizing keywords, searching local volume and CPC data, and creating a master keyword list. 

Website Monetization

  • On-Page SEO Checker: This tool provides the exact points you need to improve your website, as the recommendations are based on an analysis of your competitor's site and your own.
  • SEO Writing Assistant: The writing assist tool provides optimization ideas as you bring your content to life. 
Read the SEMrush review
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SpyFu Core Features 

SEO Research

  • SEO Overview: The SEO dashboard on SpyFu provides information on any website, including monthly organic traffic, the number of organic keywords, inbound links by type, and much more.
  • SEO Keywords: Use the keywords report to see the top-performing organic search keywords and better understand your website’s performance. 
  • SEO Backlinks: Learn about the backlink profile of any website and its monthly traffic. 

PPC Research 

  • PPC Keywords: Look up paid keywords for any website and gather information on ad timeline, cost per click, monthly searches, total ads, and more.
  • PPC Ad History: You can see the paid advertisements for every website and observe your competitors’ marketing campaigns.

Keyword Rank Tracking

  • Keyword Tracking: Track the position of your website in Google’s search rankings and monitor the performance of your competitors. 

Competitive Analysis

  • Top Organic Competitors: Receive reports on the websites that gain the most organic search terms and the number of keywords in common with your site.
  • Top Ad Competitors: Use the Kombat report to determine the keywords from competitors that you aren’t bidding on. 
Read the SpyFu Review


Which Tool Is Better for Competitor Analysis?

While SpyFu is a reliable competitor analysis tool, the clear winner is Semrush.

SpyFu’s lack of social media tracking and brand monitoring features bog down its research platform when analyzing social media presence. 

Monitoring and tracking are vital when performing competitor research. Not being able to determine the success of your competitor’s social media or brand mentions defeats the purpose of running a full competitive analysis. 

However, Semrush takes the cake as its competitor research reports are much more accurate and provide valuable data you can use for your campaign. SpyFu can’t match the potential that Semrush has for producing competitive data. 

Winner: Semrush

Which Tool Is Better for Keyword Research?

As Google algorithm updates continue to alter the realm of search engine results, keyword research remains a reliable source. Keyword research is mandatory to ensure that your business uses an updated approach to maintaining a higher Google ranking. 

Whether you’re running an SEO or PPC campaign, keyword research will help you gain a better perspective of your target audience. Semrush and SpyFu provide keyword data that you can use to your advantage and create successful content for your customers and Google’s search engine.

When it comes to comparing Semrush and SpyFu, it’s clear that SpyFu’s strength derives from its competitor-based research keywords. It’s simple to use and easy to navigate. All you need to do is type your competitor’s name into the search bar, and you’ll receive an overview report of findings. The overview report lets you view all the organic keywords and investigate relevant competitive keyword data for your campaign. 

A bonus is that you can receive a summary of all major keyword metrics, a list of similar keywords, and question-based keywords. 

While SpyFu offers some advantages in competitor-based research keywords, Semrush provides excellent keyword research capabilities. Type your keywords into the search box. Much like SpyFu, Semrush’s overview report shows you a summary of major keyword metrics, which include monthly search volume, keyword difficulty, CPC, and competition. You also get to view related and relevant keyword variations. 

Semrush’s shining quality is what makes it stand out: The Keyword Magic Tool. The tool is handy for in-depth keyword analysis and keywords that fit your specific niche.  

Start by entering your seed keywords in the search bar and generate a long list of keyword suggestions. You can sort the keywords by groups, volume, or by amount. You can even exclude certain groups of keywords by clicking on the eye icon. Furthermore, you’ll see a “Questions” filter that produces a list of question-based keywords that contain your seed keywords. 

Once you’ve gathered all the keywords you want to use in your SEO or PPC campaigns, you can save them by adding them to the Keyword Manager. This tool also gathers real-time metrics for your target keywords to ensure you have the latest insights. 

Semrush also has a Topic Research tool in its Content Marketing toolkit. The Topic Research tool can generate relevant topics, subtopics, questions, and headlines for your content. You just need to type in your target keywords, select your location, and hit the “Get Content Ideas” button. It’s that simple. You can peruse the list of subtopics for your target keywords and look at the top ten questions surrounding said keywords. 

So, which tool is better for keyword research?

The answer has to be Semrush. The Keyword Magic Tool alone drives this option miles ahead of SpyFu. The tool helps identify the most relevant keywords for your niche and produces in-depth analytics for a growing list of keyword ideas, which includes semantically related long-tail keywords. 

The Topic Research tool is a bonus, as it helps you find topics and subtopics that catch the attention of your target audience. You can use the relevant topics in your blog posts, page content, or PPC ads and increase their visibility in search engine results. 

Yes, SpyFu is a solid option for finding surface-level data for keywords, which can definitely help, although if you’re a seasoned SEO veteran, you might find SpyFu’s keyword reports unsatisfying. The biggest drawback of SpyFu’s keyword data is that it’s restricted to the US and the UK, which isn’t helpful if you’re trying to target audiences outside those countries. 

If the restrictiveness of SpyFu’s keyword data is enough to deter you, then Semrush is the best option. 

Winner: Semrush

Which Tool Has Better Value-Added Features 

Semrush’s link toxicity report has continued to be a reputable resource. Additionally, Semrush always receives updates to improve its use. Recently, there have been four new features added: 

  • 1. The Kompyte software is a new addition to Semrush. It’s an end-to-end solution with the power to gather, organize, and distribute knowledge across your team. You can use Kompyte to track competitor websites, gather search marketing data, configure alerts to act on time-sensitive trends, and much more. If you’re currently a Semrush user, you automatically receive an exclusive discount. 
  • 2. Save time on the approval process with the latest feature in the Social Media Poster tool. Posting has never been easier. All you have to do is click “Post Needs Approval” to send a link to the person on your team that green-lights the posts for your organization. The bonus? The approver doesn’t need a Semrush account to give their okay. 
  • 3. A Heatmap tool is one of the latest features in Semrush. It’s a local SEO tool that helps visualize the intensity of your competition on a local level. This feature also takes your reports to a completely new level by giving you the option of downloading PDF files from the Heatmap. The information can be extremely beneficial, as you can incorporate local SEO insights into your client or management reports. 
  • 4. You and your team can take advantage of the latest Shared Limits feature. If your business has multiple marketing professionals, you can purchase one account to meet the needs of all your users. Your team will have more freedom to use Semrush, which allows account owners more flexibility when managing their accounts. No more assigning limits to individual users. Account owners can opt to share their number of limits with every member of their team. 

Pricing Differences 

There’s a drastic difference when comparing the prices between Semrush and SpyFu. If you’re considering Semrush as your competitor research tool, you’re looking at spending $119.95 a month, whereas SpyFu is $39 a month. The difference in cost is alarmingly high, but what Semrush charges in price, it makes up for in potential. 

If you’re tight on cash, SpyFu is the clear choice for you. You can still get a lot out of SpyFu’s capabilities while on a budget. However, it’s well worth the price if you want to get the most out of Semrush’s SEO capabilities. SpyFu also comes with a free plan, which is the best in the industry, but SpyFu itself has its limitations.

Final Verdict

So, now that you know a bit more about Semrush and SpyFu, it’s time to make your decision. As I mentioned earlier, SpyFu’s focus is tailored to competitor analysis, while Semrush is an all-purpose SEO tool. Based on the comparisons, Semrush is an unrivaled tool with far more possibilities. 

Running a competitive analysis would be incomplete if you can’t track your competitor’s online performance, and that’s something that SpyFu severely lacks. The major downside with SpyFu is that you only have access to two geo databases in the US and UK, whereas Semrush has 142 geo databases available. 

It all comes down to your specific needs, but Semrush is the go-to choice, especially if you’re competing with local businesses and want to rank higher in the local SERPs. That’s not to say that SpyFu is completely useless. If you desire access to a decent competitive analysis tool for your business, SpyFu can get the job done. However, if you want more out of your SEO tool, then Semrush is your best bet. 

Winner: Semrush

Thank you for sticking by me throughout this comparison. I hope you found this information helpful. For more reviews of software or to learn more about SEO software, get in touch with us at SerpFocus today!

From The Author

Terry Williams

With over 10 years optimizing sites, I've boosted search visibility for brands through customized strategies. Currently, I develop effective SEO solutions for a top agency, immersed in the latest trends and innovations. Read my full bio.

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