Gain the Competitive Edge in your SEM Campaigns with this Top Software


What is SEM?

SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing which simply means taking up paid advertisements in search engines such as Google Search, Bing, Yandex, Baidu etc. In SEM, we can generally dissect it to two parts which will allow us to strategise better. The two parts are SEO and AdWords. SEO means Search Engine Optimization, while AdWords is the platform for the publishing and management of paid Ads in Google. In looking at these two, we are starting to get to the root of SEM which will help us understand why some SEM software are just top notch!

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One Strategy for SEM

In fact, concepts of SEM, SEO and AdWords are not new. Many marketers know them and perhaps know a trick or tip for a SEM campaign. However, after some time, many of them realised that they don’t actually see a ROI and hence, drop their budgets in SEM to focus on other marketing methods.

READ this carefully as this is the Truth! Across the globe, any products and services will certainly have competitors. It is extremely hard to differentiate your offerings, much less to reach out to that particular audience. In search engines, this becomes even magnified because search engines reach across continents without boundaries. The competition is not in differentiation of what any company offers, but in actually communicating this difference to the search engine. Get it? If a business wishes to be successful online, then that company needs to differentiate themselves online among the huge, almost unlimited number of competitors. And this is why we need strategies for SEM!

Marketers know that optimizing their SEO is the most essential for SEM. But many of them do not analyze their competitors enough to know how to differentiate themselves better. Then, they fail to realise that search engines work with keywords, and that the moment they took up SEM, they are actually competing for keywords! This is the biggest reason their AdWords campaigns fail. There are many SEM software available, however we would like to discuss on one which is one of the top best in the world and that specially specialized in competitor ‘spying’.

What is SpyFu and What Does It Do?

The features of SpyFu are many. Before we discuss about its features, we would like to highlight that SpyFu is tailored for Google Adwords. With Google Search being the most popular search engine in the world, using SpyFu alone represents a huge competitive edge. Although we do not have information on how competitor results will turn out on Google Search against other search engines, we remain confident that there will certainly be a very close match. That said, using SpyFu may not be fully comprehensive, but it is more than sufficient.

SEM with SpyFu's Keywords Tool
Image Source: SpyFu

1. SEO Research with SpyFu

SEO Competitor Analysis

This feature presents an overall view of your competitor. All you need is key in your competitor website and SpyFu will automatically run a full analysis to reveal various key insights such as the pages that linked to your competitors, similar sites to keep track of, worth of clicks, upcoming domains gaining on the keyword competition, keywords that your competitors are ranking on as well as those from yourselves etc. The amount of insights could be used for further analysis against models such as SWOT to support you in devising your strategies and plans.

SEO Keyword Research

As we mentioned previously, a huge portion of SEM in competing for keywords. When you use this feature, you will be able to know the keywords that your competitors had ranked for that you could similarly compete. If not, you could find similar words that are unranked and include them in your website to try and rank them instead! You could even measure the costs of the organic clicks of each keyword to decide if you wish to compete them in AdWords Pay-Per-Click (PPC).

Competitor Backlinks

The most important factor for Off Page SEO is creating backlinks. Normally, search engines consider any websites to rank by analyzing the number of perfect quality backlinks. The more often tour site is back-linked, the more search engines recognize your site as trustworthy. When you use this tool, the best quality backlinks of your competitors are all revealed. Then, you could always write to that backline website and asked to be backed-linked. Simple!

Domain Comparison 

Here, you will be able to analyse two other competing domains to obtain a holistic idea of effective keywords that your competitors had ranked, and which you have that helped you gain an extra edge. You may then decide to focus on certain keywords or drop certain keywords from ranking which overall, helps optimizes spending your time and resources. 

Rank Tracker

With the above features, the last with SEO research is to measure it. This feature shows the ranking movements of keywords to provide an idea of the effectiveness of your SEO efforts or AdWords campaigns. If there is traction, continue. If not, drop that keyword or change it from your AdWord Ad. Although it is possible that certain keywords might rank better due to some global happenings, the effect is likely short term and trying to rank it could in fact be even more costly. Decide to fight or flight!

SEM with SpyFu's Reports Tool
Image Source: SpyFu

2. AdWords Research with SpyFu:

AdWords Competitors

Using this feature will provide historical information of your competitor’s past Ad campaigns so that you do not have to go through and pay for that mistake! Beside paid keywords, you also get to see a summary of their Ad spending, Ad information such as copy of the Ad and keyword groups etc. Here, look for that win factor and see if it is sensible to replicate it, then tailor your Ads accordingly.

PPC Keyword Research

Like SEO Keyword Research, this feature provides you with the paid keywords of your competitors’ Ads and the costs so that you could do a better campaign. With a timeline view, you could obtain insights of how your competitors’ Ads had evolved and understand their viewpoint better. If you pay enough attention, I am sure you could even start predicting your competitor’s next move!

PPC Keyword Suggestions

Knowing what keywords are good and bad is excellent but not perfect. This feature puts the finishing touch to SpyFu’s AdWords Research Tool by suggesting alternative ‘good’ keywords for your Ad so that you know where to spend and optimize your Ad ROI.

Ad History

SpyFu keeps your competitors’ Ad records for 9 years. This basically means 9 good years of historical data from which you could learn from to make better Ad decisions. Here, you could spot proven ‘dead’ keywords, trends, patterns and the evolution of campaigns. Will history repeat itself? Best to agree!


SpyFu truly offers affordability and value in their packages. With an annual plan starting from US$33 per month with 20,000 tracked monthly keyword rankings and packed full of features, it is hard not to keep an eye on this tool for SEM. In fact, SpyFu offers a 30-Day Money Back Guarantee anytime via Email, Livechat, Phone, Facebook and even Twitter!

Final Comments

The concepts of SEO and SEM is complex, but had now been tried and tested to its core. Software such as SpyFu brings SEM further for any businesses with their easy to use and very useful features. It literally supports marketers in not only executing their SEM, but to strategise it to perfect execution. SpyFu is not only one of the most recognized SEO tools, but also one of the top due to their specialty in competitor research in AdWords. The only thing left standing in the way is if marketers are willing to try.


Keen to learn more in SEO? Read about our Review of SEMrush and Tips in using Yoast SEO Plugin.

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