SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass


Spying is all the rage in SEO. Search marketers love to secretly spy on their competitors to try and decode their winning tactics. The logic (and hope) is that if they can determine why a particular site is ranking so well, then they can apply the same strategy to their own websites to best the competition.

The inherent flaw in this logic is that it is impossible to duplicate a site's link profile, even with all their link data. Bottom line is there are some links you will never be able to obtain, no matter how crafty you are or how hard you beg (which speaks to the importance of building quality backlinks so your competitor's can't easily turn the tables and duplicate your link profile).

But that's okay. Your goal shouldn't be to replicate a competitor's link profile, link for link. You goal should be to identify their most valuable links and the ones that you have the best chance to acquire. And by replicating a percentage of their primo links and layering them into your own existing link strategy, you will be able to close the gap or even outrank your target site in the SERPs.

Now, like most search marketers, I also do my fair share of spying. And one of the SEO tools I've used that makes it relatively simple and very effective for spying on competitors is SEO Spyglass.

SEO Spyglass: The Link Detective’s Super Tool

Most SEOs understand that Google uses a link-based ranking algorithm(s) to determine rankings. The more quality links you acquire, the higher you rank. So SEO Spyglass aims to provide users with the best link intelligence on the Web to help them triumph in the battle of the SERPs.

The key SEO metrics you can extract from a target website with SEO Spyglass are:

  • Backlink Pages: The URLs that contains the link pointing back to your rival's site
  • Link Anchor Text: See which keywords your competitor is targeting in their link building
  • Toolbar PageRank and SEO Link Value: Determine the value that each backlink provides, based on TBPR and SEO Spyglasses own metric "SEO Link Value"
  • Alexa Rank: See which links are sending your competitor the most traffic

And that's just the tip of iceberg. SEO Spyglass gives you a ton of additional analysis info, such as domain age and IP block data, outgoing and incoming link-to-link targets, trusted directory presence and more.

SEO Spyglass in Action

So SEO Spyglass preaches to work smarter not harder, which is pretty sound advice. Manually analyzing a competitor’s site looking for opportunities to capitalize on is a time consuming, laborious process. So SEO Spyglass helps you work "smarter" by automating this process for you. All the grunt work of data collection and organization is gone, leaving you to put on your spy hat and grab the low hanging link opportunities.

For example, I used SEO Spyglass to perform competitive link analysis for a client this past weekend. The software spit out a ton of valuable SEO data and uncovered some fantastic link opportunities that I've never seen using any other single free or paid tools on this particular client account.

Doing this painstaking manual analysis by hand is incredibly time consuming and inefficient. But SEO Spyglass did it for me in minutes and pulled it all together in one handy easy to navigate, sort-able dashboard.

SEO Spyglass work station

There's so much data here and so many columns of info that I needed to break the screenshot into two sections. Here's the second half.

SEO Spyglass dashboard

NOTE: I've blurred out information on the competitor site for privacy reasons.

Being able to peer inside my competitor's link strategy, I was able to determine why they're ranking so well for a few particular "money" terms. I also learned that this site has a pretty spammy link profile with tons of low value blog comment links. However, thanks to SEO Spyglass, I did find a handful of really valuable link targets and I was able to evaluate the degree of difficulty for acquisition and plot my strategy in just 20 minutes of sifting through link data. Doing this level of link analysis manually would've taken hours easily.

SEO Spyglass Reporting

Once I’m done with the analysis dashboard, I can generate a slick report with SEO Spyglass that accomplishes two things:

  • Educates you on how to turn the data into action: This is a big feature for the average business owner or anyone getting their beak wet with SEO
  • Ties it all together: The report also extracts the key takeaways from the competitor link analysis work you’ve just performed and summarizes them in an easy to understand format. Doing this exposed even more opportunities for me that I’d glossed over in the data dashboard.

The report I generated is formatted into slick, comprehensive nine page document (that you can customize with company or client logo, colors, etc,) which includes an intro, followed by seven steps which are detailed how-tos, and ends with a final words page that wraps it all up for you and stresses the keys to ranking well.

SEO Spyglass report

This is great for shooting around internally within your company for monthly or quarterly competitor reporting or to send to clients for next steps. It's also very information rich and explains best practices and acutely details next steps so even a novice can understand how to take action.

So how is SEO Spyglass different from other link analysis tools?

Answer: link volume.

SEO Spyglass is in a class of its own because it can gather more than 1,000 backlinks per domain. Yahoo and other search engines are capped at 1k link limits. What this means is that you’re only get part of the story. To effectively evaluate your competitor’s link data with accuracy, you need to see all the data. With SEO Spyglass, though, you get so much more link data than any other link analysis tool. That way you get the whole story and you're much better able to do effective analysis.

Another aspect that differentiates SEO Spyglass from other tools is that it queries a number of search engines, not just the big three (Google, Bing, Yahoo), and uses a combination of advanced search operators to dig deeper into the search index returning 5,000-30,000+ backlinks depending on the site's backlink profile (up to 50,000 for large domains). That level of link analysis is a data junkie's dream come true.

SEO Spyglass Pricing

SEO Spyglass excels at helping you examine your competitor’s link profile and uncover nuggets of opportunity for your own SEO efforts.

There are two pricing levels for the software: enterprise and professional. I'm using the professional license because it suits my needs and it's perfect for site owners, webmasters or SEOs.

Pricing: SEO Spyglass Professional is $99.75.

Find out how you're REALLY doing in AdWords!

Watch the video below on our Free AdWords Grader:

Visit the AdWords Grader.


SEO – seo firm | SEO Mixer Blog
May 26, 2010

[...] SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream55 minutes ago by Ken Lyons  Review of SEO SpyglassSpying is all the rage in SEO. Search marketers love to secretly spy on their competitors to try and decode their winning tactics. The logic (and hope) is that if they can determine why a particular site is ranking … [...]

SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream
May 26, 2010

[...] See the original post here: SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream [...]

Resell Rights Ebook Store
May 26, 2010

This is a must have tool in any SEO arsenal. I don't think I could live without SEO Spyglass due to the enormous amount of time it saves me day after day.

SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream | trading online
May 26, 2010

[...] View post: SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream [...]

SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream
May 27, 2010

[...] the rest here: SEO Tool Review: SEO Spyglass | WordStream Posted in Tool | Tags: competitors, marketers-love, rage, secretly-spy, spyglass, [...]

Uk Shopping Directory
Jun 12, 2010

See the have a free version availbale as well as the paid pro/enterprise. will give it a try

Mr Blom
Mar 31, 2011

can it show Google links ?
or is only Yahoo links

Sep 02, 2011

Can you please tell me what is the difference between the free and premium version?


richard mclachlan
Nov 14, 2011

This software is being sold totally dishonestly. You think you are getting software that will work until you need to buy an update when Google massively changes things, but that's bollocks. It works for 6 months, then its disabled, whether Google has changed anything or not. You can't use it at all.When i uninstalled the software and ticked the "too epensive option they offered me the software cheaper! So the deal is, they try and scam you for as much as possible by if you say no... they try and scam you for a lesser amount.SummaryCompany is intentionally lying about the product only being a 6 month license rather than a software purchase. They make a big show of saying you get 'FREE PRODUCTS FIXES FOR LIFE" which is written to fool you into thinking you bought the software. its rubbish. You have to pay an ongoing fee to keep using the software. you aren't buying software at all, you are getting a time limited licence, quite frankly the way its sold i'd be surprised if it wasn't illegal to sell software this way pretending its a sale of a licence, when its time limited then disabled.Don't use their software. You'll be sorry. 

agrodut mandal
Feb 24, 2013

I purchased this program as part of SEO PowerSuite over a year ago. Unfortunately, I couldn't get the program to run and by the time I figured it out (Link Assistant closed my support request unanswered), the money back guarantee had expired.

Leave a comment