SEO vs PPC? SpyFu Recon Soon To Deliver Serious SEO Edge

As expected, marketers’ eternal riddle on SEO vs PPC did not fail to generate interest at SES San Francisco last week, as Imelda Khoo reported. Earlier this year, Kevin Gibbons had already shared with us his in-depth analysis of the SEO or PPC option. This is why, this time, we decided to meet with SpyFu‘s CEO, Mike Roberts, as the search analytics company has created RECON, a tool that gives marketers a better understanding of SEO. How? By giving intelligence reports on your competitors’ keywords, campaigns and ad variations… Read on.

SEO’s Value Proposition Explained
Speaking to us at SES San Francisco, Roberts was very clear: the problem with SEO is that decision makers have difficulty getting their heads around it, whereas PPC is easy to understand. “The value proposition for SEO is difficult to get,” he said during an interview. Point in case, “80% of all the spending goes to PPC when 80% of traffic actually comes from SEO.”

The SpyFu team collected a few reactions from professionals during SES San Francisco to see what the feeling was towards SEO. The following video samples a few of those conversations and goes to show how much of a challenge SEO is for people to understand.

With such a market, no wonder, SpyFu’s ambition with RECON is to provide analytics and insights for clients to understand the value proposition for SEO as easily as they get it for PPC.

Intelligence Reports
SpyFu records and analyzes data from the market to give an audit of brands’ keywords, ad campaigns and how those are performing. Let’s take it step by step. Try it yourself – go to and type in any company/brand URL. Validate. What you see as a result is a taster of the insight you can get on that company’s campaigns. The reports SpyFu RECON provides are snapshots of what your competitors are banking on. What more is, the reports provide data over a sufficiently long enough period of time for marketers to be able to see their competitors’ campaigns tweaks and adjust accordingly their SEO over time.

Test Drive
Here’s the example we ran together with Roberts: a report on Panasonic.

A snapshot of the current situation:


Keyword opportunities and values:


New keywords:


And finally, the executive summary of the insights you’re served with:


Well-Built SEO = Time + Money Saving
Let’s be very frank here, what SpyFu offers to give you is quite enticing. How feasible is it? The report show you the ranks, clicks or value of clicks if you had to buy them on PPC. SpyFu’s edge is both the cost and the time savings. Again, remember, “80% of all the spending goes to PPC when 80% of traffic actually comes from SEO.” When onboarding a new client, the first month is key but 50% of your time is spent on establishing a baseline. Whereas with SpyFu, “before you bring the client in, we already have 3 years’ worth of data tracking,” Roberts said. You get “ranks, clicks, the value of clicks as if you had to buy them on PPC,” he added. SpyFu therefore expresses the opportunity to expand SEO versus a PPC campaign that would be more costly.

The beauty of it? RECON works on content too and does not limit itself to search.
Does it sound like someone really liked the product? Yes, that is true. But look at this, one woman working for a PPC management software firm (yes, seriously… but no, we won’t name her!) left this testimonial: “I love SpyFu so much, I wanna have their babies.” Pretty rad, right!

So if you think you’ll like it too, the good news is that RECON is currently in beta and will be fully available right in time before the holiday season. And then, what will be next? “The same as RECON but for PPC in early 2011: reports giving insanely great recommendations on what you should do with your PPC campaign,” Roberts said.

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