SEO SpyGlass – Why it Should be Part of Your SEO Arsenal

SEO SpyGlass is a competition analysis tool, which focuses on doing a deep analysis of the backlinks going to any site you specify. In this post,  I’ll demonstrate the features in SEO SpyGlass and show how you can use it to get a competitive edge. I’ll also talk about the limitations of the tool, as well as some alternatives and competing products.

If you’re serious about SEO, a tool like this is an invaluable part of your arsenal.

Read on to get the details.

SEO SpyGlass Video

The features and functionality of SEO SpyGlass are best demonstrated in video form. Watch this to see how the tool works:

SEO SpyGlass Limitations

The main problem with SEO SpyGlass is that most of the links it finds are still provided by Yahoo Site Explorer. Yahoo's backlink reports have been getting increasingly flaky and I've seen strong fluctuations in the number of links displayed, with a tendency for it to display fewer links now than it did a few weeks or months ago. Sometimes, you can do a search for the same site twice, just a few hours apart, and get significantly different results. The point is: Yahoo is not a very good source for a backlink report. It's still probably the best freely available source, but it has it's weaknesses. Update: Yahoo Site Explorer now no longer exists at all, so it went from being a sub-optimal backlink analysis source to a non-existing one. Having said that, SEO SpyGlass still gets a few extra links from the other search engines it queries and, more importantly, the true power of the tool lies in it's ability to analyze and filter each of the pages containing the links it found.

SEO SpyGlass Alternatives

Here's a rundown of some competing products:

WebComp AnalystWebComp Analyst

WebComp Analyst is like a weaker version of SEO SpyGlass. It uses Yahoo as it's only source of the link reports and while it can also do a "deep" analysis on all the pages containing the backlinks it finds, it's output is far more limited than that of SEO SpyGlass. WebComp Analyist only reports on the page PR an anchor text in the deep analysis. Quite simply, the free version of SEO SpyGlass is more useful than the full version of WebComp.

Link DiagnosisLinkDiagnosis

Link Diagnosis is a free online tool for backlink analysis that works in conjunction with a Firefox plugin. It does an analysis that includes PageRank, anchor text, dofollow/nofollow/missing, outbound links on the same page and a "link strength" indicator, based on their own calculations. It also provides a report for all indexed pages on the domain you analyzed and lets you export all the data easily. I don't know where the Link Diagnosis data comes from, but from my tests, it's clear that they don't have a very strong source for their backlink searches. Yahoo site explorer usually finds more (although not a lot more) links than Link Diagnosis. Having said that, the analysis is useful and thorough and it's quite a good offering, considering that it's free.

Majestic SEOMajestic SEO

Majestic SEO is a very high-end service that provides backlink analysis based on their own crawling of the web. In other words, these guys have their own "search engine" that they use to do backlink analysis. This way, they are not dependant on the lackluster backlink reports Google and Yahoo provide. Of course, this kind of service also comes at a price and in this particular case the pricing is pretty steep. While the smallest package is quite affordable at $17/month, it also comes with some pretty severe limitations, so even as an "amateur" SEO, you'll probably be needing the "silver" package for $50/month. And the price goes up exponentially, from there, for higher packages... The price is justified, of course, but for most people, SEO SpyGlass for free or for a one-time payment of $99 will do just fine.

SEOmozSEOmoz Pro

SEOmoz Pro is the service provided by SEOmoz. Like Majestic, they also do their own crawling of the web and while I don't know all the details, if you follow the SEOmoz blog and look at their documentation, you get the impression that these guys are a good bit crazier about what they do than the Majestic SEO crowd. It also looks like SEOmoz Pro comes with more features and functions than Majestic does.


Backlink analysis is one of the first steps into what I'd consider "advanced SEO" and I recommend it to anyone who's got the basics of SEO and backlink building more or less figured out. In fact, just looking at various pages and their backlink profiles can be very useful for learning about SEO and getting an idea for why pages rank the way they do. My number one recommendation for an analysis tool goes to SEO SpyGlass, especially since the free version of it is already very useful. If you want to go deeper into it than that, then my second choice would be SEOmoz Pro, despite the pretty hefty price tag. Do you know any other tools like this? Any other favourites? Let me know and I'll take a look at them and maybe include them in the article! Cheers,  


I'm Shane Melaugh and I'm the guy writing most of the posts on this blog. My goal is to provide you with useful, straight-forward insights on how to grow your business by creating compelling offers, driving traffic and increasing conversions.

Neil - November 6, 2010

Hi Shane,

Just looking at their webpage and they seem to offer a number of seemingly useful packages including a Link assistant, Website auditor as well as the SEO spyglass and all these packages appear to be available in a suite for around $249 which on the face of it looks good value?

Have you had a look at any of their other offerings at all?


    Shane - November 6, 2010


    I have looked at the other products, but personally, I only use SEO SpyGlass and Rank Tracker. I’d say it’s pretty good value at 250 bucks, if you can really make use of all the tools offered.

      subscriber - November 7, 2010

      SEO SpyGlass has a hidden recurring fee.

      Shane - November 7, 2010

      You don’t get lifetime updates with the purchase, but that’s clearly stated on the order-page, so I wouldn’t exactly call it “hidden”.
      But yes, if you want to keep the software up to date, you’ll have to pay more than once.

Michel - November 6, 2010

If you are interested in testing SEOmoz… check out http://appsumo.com/ (no affiliate link), there you can get a lot of things for $32 Dollars, including 3 months SEOmoz access. A no brainer in my eyes.

Peter Sundstrom - November 7, 2010

SEO SpyGlass certainly looks interesting and I’ll definitely try it out.

However, it doesn’t appear to really offer much more than the backlink report in Traffic Travis. Traffic Travis doesn’t have all the columns SEO SpyGlass has, but has all the essential ones. The only really useful one it doesn’t have is the column that indicates whether the link still exists or not.

jeyyt - November 8, 2010

Hi Shane

Other than SEO Spyglass, what do you think of SENuke? Is it good?

Chirag Ahuja - November 14, 2010

hi Shane,

I use Market Samurai for link analysis and rank tracking. I have found it to be really useful and easy to use at a fairly affordable price. I used the free version of Rank Tracker. Being based in NZ, i am more concerned about the rankings on Google NZ rather than google.com. I love Market samurai because i can choose country specific rankings. But i did not seem to find that feature in Rank Tracker. What do you think?

Steve - November 22, 2010

Shane, I use Market Samurai as well. It works and their online training video get right to the point. Sometimes with MS my keywords disappear and I am not used to the way the product filters work but with the free upgrades and their training it is a good product. Glad I bought it. Keyword research and backlinks are what it takes.

Alexander - January 17, 2011

I do have Enterprise version of SEO PowerSuite, which has SEO Spyglass as one of its 4 modules. The others are:
WebSite Auditor
Rank Tracker

All of them are very good pieces of software – fast, comprehensive and always in updating with new features. My personal favorites are : Rank Tracker and WebSite Auditor.

It made by Russian SEO S/W company and it is as good as it gets (or as Shane valuated it :)

(Disclaimer: I am proudly saying that they are Russians cause I am Russian too :)

Tip: If you want to buy the suite or module/s – They have promotions so you just need to do search for the current one OR email them and ask for the discount as I did.
You can get it @ up to 50% :o)

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