SEO Powersuite’s SEO SpyGlass Review0
Ever feel like maybe something is just “too good to share”? LOL… Well, SEO SpyGlass definitely fits into that category. While it is certainly not hidden by any means, it is one of those little gems that can make a big impact in your SEO efforts – a big impact.
One of the most successful ways to learn is to “model” your actions after someone else. If you want to learn to be a real estate tycoon, Donald Trump is a good person to model. Well, with SEO the same is true. If you want to “learn” from another site (be it your own or a competitor) then what better way to do it than from the inside out? What if you could discover every last link that your competitor has? What the anchor text is that he’s using? Where he’s getting those great links? Well, this is exactly what you can do with SEO SpyGlass – yes, it’s that powerful.
How It Works
When you first start up a new project you can either input a keyword or a website – we always do the later – to analyze. Next you send it on its way to “collect” the data for you to look at. Now, when I said above that it finds every link, of course that is an exaggeration. The fact is there is not one tool out there that can find every link. It used to be that Yahoo Site Explorer was considered to be the best out there for link discovery, but that has long since changed. Currently there just isn’t anything that compares to SEO SpyGlass in terms of crawling your site’s links. It may not get every one of them, but it will get far more than anything else for a desktop tool.
BTW, if you’re just looking for link profile data (like link growth and rate of link growth) then you can use SEO Majestic to get that data for free. You need to register for an account, but the basic account is free. Here’s a sample of what a link velocity chart shows in Majestic (see below).
This Majestic chart, for example, shows non-cumulative links – or the link rate by month. This is good to identify the link velocity profile and to analyze past SEO experiments on the site. Okay, back to SEO SpyGlass…
Keep in mind that SEO SpyGlass does a lot of work and that means that you have to be patient. It can take a couple hours to analyze a very complex site (depending on your Internet connection speed and whether or not you use proxies, etc…) so set it up to run when you’re headed out for the day or in the evening. The time is well worth it because of the wealth of information that it comes back with, but you have to give it time to do its magic. It analyzes links from all over the net – places you’ve likely not even heard of. Here are just a few of the places it pulls links from: Google, Google Blog Search, Google Groups, Google Mobile, Yahoo, Alexa, All The Web, Exalead, Dogpile, Bing, AOL, AltaVista, Ask.com, Blekko, Entireweb, Excite, Gigablast, Jafose, IceRocket, Lycos and Yandex. That’s a lot of link sources. Lastly, you can select the country to pull this data from and it’s got a very extensive list of countries – not just three or four, but more than one hundred different countries are supported!
The analysis is a two step process. It first goes out and gets a master list of links and then it goes through each and pulls in a ton of meta data for each link. Now, you have control over this process. You can limit the number of links to pull down, for example, in order to shorten the time. That can be useful for very large sites or if you’re just looking for some statistically significant data and only need a “slice” of the full picture. If you’re going to take that approach, however, I would make sure you have a statistically meaningful sample size of about 1000 links or so. Occasionally I do this, but generally I let it grab everything when I’m not using the computer and analyze it later. You can also limit or expand the meta data that it pulls for each link to speed up the process or ignore data which you consider to be irrelevant.
So What Exactly Do I Get To See?
In a nutshell, pretty much everything – that’s the beauty of SpyGlass. You will see the page being linked to, the linking page, the page rank of the linking page, the page rank of the linking domain, the anchor text, whether the linking site has DMOZ or Yahoo links, how many outbound links are on the page linking to you and much, much more. The data is arranged in a logical grid or table and is easily exported to Excel.
There are many other features that SpyGlass has as well such as its ability to import a CSV file from Google Webmaster or your own manually input links to analyze. But the core features are what we use the most. Pick a site and click analyze – it really can’t get much simpler than that. The data that comes back is extremely useful. You can look at lots of factors and truly study your competition from the inside out. Does your competition have higher PR links than you? Are they using a lot of EDU and GOV links? What about anchor text optimization? All of this is easily uncovered via spending some time churning through the reports.
Another great feature of SpyGlass is the quick filter it has on the toolbar. You can create various workspaces that show or highlight certain pieces of the puzzle so that you can see the tree within the forest of data. So, you can quickly and easily define a filter and just look at one small slice of the data. You can also hide irrelevant data so that you get a more clear picture of what you’re looking at. Then after you get it all setup the way you like, you can create a custom “workspace” so that you can easily apply that workspace to other future projects without having to repeat the process. These filter and workspace features are featured throughout all of the SEO Powersuite’s tools – LinkAssist,
SpyGlass really is a professional level tool and there are numerous features that the pro will appreciate. You can setup schedules for example and have it run and update data on a schedule automatically. It has numerous reports that can be customized and output in different formats or emailed. There is full support for proxy rotation and human emulation settings – welcome features for anyone doing lots of this work. SpyGlass even has captcha solving support so that you can let it run completely unattended. SpyGlass also allows you to customize its list of stop words to your preference.
Lastly, one other feature that is worth mentioning is that it can export directly to SQL insert statements. What this means is that it can create a bit batch SQL file that you simply “execute” and import your data to MySQL or whatever other database you use. You can get even smarter with this by setting it up on a schedule or ftp publication. Then all you need is a cron job on the server to batch process the inserts and you have a 100% automated solution.
We’ve talked a lot about the features of SpyGlass here but not a lot about how to use it. That is simply because everyone tends to use it a bit differently depending upon what’s important to them. For example, if you’re in a niche that gets a lot of social media buzz, you can set SpyGlass to track the number of Digg’s a site gets, etc… all of this stuff can be customized. But the bottom line is that SpyGlass gives you the SEO equivalent of every teenager’s wet dream – xray vision. It simply makes your competition “transparent” – allowing you to examine every last detail of their linkbuilding profile until you’re blue in the face. Along with SEO Powersuite’s Rank Tracker, it is amongst the top recommended tools we use.
The pricing varies as SpyGlass is offered in both Pro and Enterprise versions. Some of the features that we have mentioned in the review are “enterprise only” features as that is the version that we use and recommend. The Pro version is a bit more limited – not allowing many of the data exports and reporting features. The pro version sells for $99.75 and the enterprise version sells for $249.75. You may find that the pro versions does all you’ll need, but for us the enterprise is worth it for its extra feature set. And remember, there is a free trial version, so regardless of which one you go with, you can at least try it out first.
SEO Spyglass Bonus
SEO Spyglass is bar none one of our favorite, tools, toys and critical apps that we use on a regular basis. And as you start analyzing your competition, you may find some places where you can drop some content for quality backlinks. If you purchase SEO Spyglass Enterprise through our link we will send you five (5) FREE 100% custom created articles for whatever keywords you are marketing after. The articles are provided by ArticlesOnTap.com, so you can be assured they are top quality, 100% unique articles between 400-450 words. You will also receive a 10% off coupon code for any future orders of articles from ArticlesOnTap.com. To redeem your bonus simply follow these SEO Spyglass Bonus instructions. Once we confirm your purchase was made through our link, you will receive your bonuses.