SpyFu is a highly advanced online keyword and ad spy system.

They build their own database of ads through a search engine spider that regularly crawls and indexes all the ads. They do this several times a month, so you can easily go back and see exactly what ads your competitors are using and what keywords they’re targeting.

Here’s how to use SpyFu to do competitive ad & keyword research.

Step 1: Type in Your Keyword

Start by typing in the keyword you want to research.

Step 2: Review the Basic Stats

SpyFu will start out giving you the basic stats for that keyword. These stats include the estimated CPC, the number of clicks per day, the estimated cost per day if you advertised, the number of people currently advertising for the keyword, the search volume and the number of search results.


Step 3: Quick Ads

If you scroll down a bit, you’ll be able to see a screenfull of ads that SpyFu has recorded. These are basically just a handful of ads that are currently running, regardless of who the advertiser is or when the ad was put up. Think of it as the quick view of ads; you can dig a lot deeper later on.


Step 4: Organic Results

Below the paid results are the organic results. Though most people use SpyFu for their paid keyword tracking, SpyFu does also track organic results.


Step 5: Historical Ad View

SpyFu allows you to see what your competitors wrote in their ads both today and in previous months. Just click the colored ads on the left and the ad will be displayed on the right.


Step 6: Competitors Also Bought …

If you’re interested in one keyword, chances are you’ll also be interested in what other keywords your competitors are bidding on. SpyFu can tell you.


Step 7: Research a Specific Competitor

What if you wanted to research a specific competitor instead of a keyword? SpyFu allows you to see all the keywords they’re bidding on, as well as their active ads and ad history.

Just type the competitor’s URL into the search box to get started.


Step 8: View Detailed Backdated Ads

On the competitor’s page, SpyFu will show you all your competitors’ previous ads. This will give you a good idea of what they’ve experimented with, what they found didn’t work and what they found works best so far.

Again, just click on a colored box to see the ad.

Step 9: What Keywords They’re Buying

SpyFu will also give you a detailed list of what keywords your competitors are buying. This can be a quick and simple way of discovering a ton of profitable keywords.


Step 10: Who Are Their Competitors?

In addition to keywords and ads, SpyFu can also tell you who’s bidding against your competitor. In other words, SpyFu makes it easy to scout out the terrain to see who all the players in the industry and keyword space are.


Step 11: See Overlapping Keywords

If two or more of your competitors are targeting the same keywords, chances are they’re making money with their keywords. That’s especially true if you see them running those keywords for several months.

To check for keyword target overlaps between competitors, click “Kombat” in the top navigation bar.


Choose the overlapping area and SpyFu will display the overlapping keywords.


Step 12: SmartSearch

SpyFu also has a capability known as SmartSearch. Essentially SmartSearch is like a built in keyword research tool that can display search volume, CPC and other relevant information.

To access SmartSearch, click “Keyword SmartSearch” in the top navigation bar.


Type in the keyword(s) you want to research. SpyFu will then display the data they have for those keywords.


It’s that easy! SpyFu allows you to spy on your competitors in unprecedented depth. You can see their ads, their ad history, their keyword targets and what all their competitors are doing as well.