Where does SpyFu get its data?

We understand how important it is for you to be able to rely on our data. In this video, CEO and Founder Mike Roberts explains where we get it and how accurate our data is.

We Back Up Every Claim we Make

The “wow how did you find this” factor makes it easy to assume there’s got to be a catch to the helpful insights we uncover on SpyFu. We stand behind every ad claim we make, so if it sounds odd that we’d say a competitor advertised on a keyword that sounds like it’s from left field, we’ll give you the proof to back it up.

We Aren’t Trying to Convince You that We’re Perfect

We’ve got ads nailed, but some of our estimates rely on other tools from Google. When those are off, they trickle down to us. Still, there’s a silver lining. We’ve included suggestions in the video on how you can still make good use of what you find.


Though we’re always trying to make it better than before, we’re proud of how reliable the data on SpyFu is. Watch the video for more information on how we get our data and how we’ve evolved and fine-tuned our estimations on budgets and how much traffic you could expect a domain to get from a set of keywords.


Video Transcription:

There’s nothing more important in our company than giving you quality, accurate data.
Without it, there’d be no SpyFu.
In the next few minutes, I’m going to explain to you exactly where we get our data, how we calculate it.
And if there’s any discrepancies between your data and our data, what might be going on there and how you can work with it.
So the way SpyFu works is really pretty straightforward.
Every month we run millions and millions of searches, for every keyword that you can possibly imagine.
And we’ve been doing that since 2007.
We take the top 50 organic results and the top two pages of ads and we shove those into a database.
For every piece of information that you see on SpyFu, you can ultimately trace it back to a screenshot of the actual search engine result page.
So when we say your competitor showed up on fuzzy bunny slippers, on July 12th, 2008, that is indisputable, legal grade fact.
When you reference SpyFu data, you’re always right.
And you have a screenshot to prove it.
To get from that perfectly factual screenshot to, as an example, how much they’re spending, we have to use some considerably less perfect data.
And that’s the data that we get from Google’s Keyword Planner.
That’s cost per click data, cost per day, search volume, all these things we get from Google Keyword Planner.
And if you’re familiar with the Keyword Planner data, it’s not fact, it’s Google’s estimates.
And sometimes those estimates can be off.
And sometimes wildly off.
We spend a lot of time taking into account what’s on the page.
Is there shopping, videos, news, knowledge graph results.
All those things relatively dramatically impact the click through rate for both ads and organic results.
We also take into account historical bidding strategy.
Have they been in the top couple of positions for years.
Or are they only showing up every once in awhile, maybe even seasonally.
Ultimately, we get an engineer quality score, but when we get funky data back from Google’s Keyword Planner, it can really mess up our estimates.
Good news is, when we’re off, we tend to be off for an entire industry.
So here’s the trick, use your own domain.
If we say that you’re spending $10, 00 but you’re actually spending $20, 00, and we also say that your competitor is spending $15, 00, you can bet they’re actually spending closer to $30, 00.
Make sense.
We’re underestimating the entire industry by about 50% in this case.
And that’s because when we’re looking at Google’s Keyword Planner data, we’re looking at the same flawed keyword data for your domain as for their domain.
It’s the costs per clicks, search volume, and clicks per day data.
I use the example of ad budget, but the same rule applies to pretty much all of our roll up members.
SEO Traffic, SEO value, all of those things.
And the reality is that we’re freakishly right way more than we’re wrong.
In fact, one of our biggest complaints at SpyFu is, how did you hack into my ad words account.
We didn’t hack into your Google analytics account, we’re just doing a pretty good job.
And that’s it.
We get our data from Google.
It’s auditable back to a screenshot of the search engine result page.
And if it’s off, it will be off for an entire industry because of the flawed data that we get from Google’s Keyword Planner.
But what you can do is take your domain and use it as an anchor to get a better estimate of your competitors campaign numbers.