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Learn from the right competitors
Learn from the right competitors

SpyFew – Episode 12: How to Find the Right Competitor

Patrick McGrane avatar
Written by Patrick McGrane
Updated over a week ago

If you’re a smaller company, it can be especially challenging to know the best domains learn from.  You might be surprised to learn that the domains you’ve been spying on might not be the best ones out there.

This video will explain the ways you can find the best competition in your niche, so you can learn from their best techniques and dominate the market.

Here’s the link to the MySpyFu Tutorial Playlist, it will teach you how to set up campaigns, outreach, and keyword groups in your own personal SpyFu projects.

Video Transcript:

Are you having trouble finding a competitor who’s right for you?

For a lot of small businesses, it can be tough to the right partner to learn from, to grow with.

In the next few minutes I’ll explain how you, yes you, can find your perfect competitor

So you can spy on them and gank all their sh**


First off you should know that your best competitor in SpyFu is rarely Joe’s Place down the street.

This sometimes confuses people because in reality, Joe’s may be your ONLY physical competition in your entire township.  People either go to your shop, or they go to Joes. So of course they’re your main competitor right?


That’s true, from a certain point of view, but when it comes to Google search results, odds are, they’re in the same boat as you.  Struggling to improve their ranks online. You want to find a competitor who’s a little more experienced in the online world… and use their techniques so you can crush Joes.


Finding this online competition starts with finding yourself. #deep

Consider what sort of business you are.

Who do you cater to?

Do you have a brick and mortar location?

Do you cover a region, a state?

Do you ship nationally?


Then consider where you overlap with different types of businesses, competing for customers online.

Not just people selling the same products as you in the exact same way.

There are manufacturers,

Other brands,

Even lead aggregators that sell leads to businesses.


From there you can start thinking of who your online competitors are – not just Joes.  SpyFu works best if we have data on that competitor’s website. In general, the bigger the better, but here are some specific aspects of a competitor that you should look for.

  1. Keywords:If possible, they should be ranked or bidding on multiple hundreds of keywords.  The more options they’ve tried, the less YOU need to try.

  2. Budget:A larger estimated budget means they have more resources that you can learn from.  Domains that are roughly your same size might not be much better off than you are.

  3. Region:Don’t  be afraid to look at someone in a completely different city or state, especially if that city has a bigger population than yours. Geo-targets are easy to switch out.  You might have slight seasonal or regional differences, but as a whole, the way people search and convert online is similar across the country.

  4. Consistency:In general, you’re looking for marketing patterns over time.  If all you see are random data spikes, that means they’re not serious about SEO and PPC.  The best domains to learn from display steady growth and reasonable testing.


Here’s a real world example.  


We don’t have good data on most wedding photography businesses.

It’s an industry that is dominated by small businesses and independent freelancers. So there just isn’t a big nation-wide competitor that we’ll have strong data on; the guys down the street are all too small and local to make a major impact online.  

This means that the industry is ripe for taking, but who do you Spy on if you’re wanting to improve the SEO or PPC of a wedding photography business.

Maybe adjust your search to something like “wedding leads” and look for the people who are actively advertising on it.  

Domains like or Thumbtack try to sell leads to small wedding based businesses. It’s almost guaranteed that they are actively pursuing some of the keywords that you want.

Look at their site on Spyfu and filter for keywords they’re using that involve the phrase “wedding” or “photography”, and you’ll start to see a wealth of data you can use.


I’ve said it before, but we really enjoy helping small businesses and entrepreneurs with their online presence.  The good news is, they’re usually the ones who can improve the fastest and dominate the ranks by using SpyFu. The bad news is they have to get a bit more hacky with our site to achieve it.

Use these techniques to help you find your perfect match, because no one should have to roam the internet alone.

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