Review of SEO Spyglass

There is this task that would take you weeks to complete. You keep doing it until you are frustrated with the snail-pace. And then you suddenly get a tool that does the same task, which normally takes weeks to do, in minutes. Wonderful! Isn’t it? That’s exactly my reaction on using SEO Spyglass.

I was doing competitor link analysis for weeks. Manually. Search and find the top 10 competitors for a targeted keyword, put each of their URLs into yahoo site explorer, get the backlinks and analyze the composition of links in that mix. Then filter the sites of interest in that list and find their contact info.

That was before I started using Spyglass. Now, I just have to enter my target keyword or a competitor’s URL. I will get all backlinks of my top competitor site or that of the provided URL. The only limiting factor is the bandwidth speed, which will increase or decrease the time it takes to analyze these backlinks accordingly.

Why Competitor Link Analysis?

The enigma of every SEO specialist – how to rank at the top of a search engine results page? How the algorithms of a search engine work is anybody’s guess. It is however, a well known fact that the backlinks of a website play an important role in their ranking. Therefore, by analyzing the link profile of a top ranking site and the websites from where the backlinks originate, we can easily recognize their link building strategy and reconstruct it for our own site.

As already mentioned, competitor link analysis if done manually, will take days to complete, which is not viable. It is here that SEO Spyglass helps by significantly reducing the time and effort required to compile and analyze a long list of backlinks of any well ranking competitor URL.

What does SEO Spyglass do?

SEO Spyglass analyses a list of factors – from anchor text and URL, title of the page, domain URL, IP and age, Alexa Rank of the domain and Google Page Ranks of both the linking page and domain, country, backlink status and the most important data (at least for me) – the contact info of these sites.

SEO Spyglass goes a step further and gives the link density of the page that provides the backlink. This is essential to understand the value of a backlink provided by a page. If a page that provides the backlink has a high link density i.e., it links to a lot of other sites, the value of the backlink it provides will be quite low. Spyglass also employs a native algorithm to score the link value of each link.

Once the data is collected, the links can be analyzed to find the domains that give maximum number of backlinks, the anchor text that is targeted most, the PR profiles of the pages that backlink and the number of sites that are listed in DMOZ or Yahoo!

Who links to your competitor?

There are inbuilt filters that can use these factors individually and in combination, to identify the types of links that point to the website, their largest sources of traffic, the value of their backlinks. Also, it is simple and easy to discover the number of directory listings, social media links, inbound links from blogs and community forums, paid links and other types of backlinks a website possesses.

Backlinks are a very dynamic feature of search engine optimization and keep changing with time. SEO Spyglass, by providing the option to update the status of backlinks of a project at anytime, helps to track the changes in backlink status. This makes it easy to check if any new backlink has been added or if an old backlink has expired.

What does SEO Spyglass not do?

The results of the SEO Spyglass cannot be exported as CSV or spreadsheet. However, the Pro version can generate HTML reports and a wide variety of options on how to use it. The Enterprise version allows the data to be copied to a spreadsheet. None of this is available in the free version. Some of the data collected is also outdated or irrelevant.

On the whole, SEO Spyglass is an effective tool and will be of great help for designing SEO solutions.