Ahrefs vs. SpyFu: Which Is Better for SEO?

While Ahrefs shines in keyword research and backlink analysis, its high pricing and poor customer support are drawbacks; SpyFu, on the other hand, is more user-friendly and affordable, excelling in competitive analysis, but struggles with data accuracy.
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    Matthew Gibbons Lead Data & Tech Writer
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  • February 23, 2024
  • 6 min. read
Ahrefs vs. SpyFu: Which is better?

Your needs and budget will determine whether Ahrefs or SpyFu is better. While Ahrefs is a comprehensive choice for an SEO tool, its cost can make SpyFu the preferred choice for users focused on competitor research.

Keeping up with your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts is a big task — too big to do alone without the help of an SEO tool like Ahrefs or SpyFu. Looking to learn more about these options? Check out our breakdown of SpyFu vs. Ahrefs below!

Is Ahrefs or SpyFu better?

Whether Ahrefs or SpyFu is better for SEO depends on your particular needs. If your priority is keyword research or backlink analysis, Ahrefs is the way to go. But if you care more about competitor research or just want a less expensive tool, SpyFu is better.

Compare Ahrefs vs. SpyFu

Learn more about Ahrefs vs. SpyFu in the table below:

Features Ahrefs SpyFu
Average rating 4.5 / 5 4.6 / 5
Best for
  • SEO beginners
  • SEO professionals
  • Small and large businesses
  • SEO beginners
  • SEO freelancers
  • Small businesses
Pricing Starting at $99 / month Starting at $33 / month
Strengths
  • Learning curve
  • Keyword research
  • Backlink analysis
  • Competitor research
  • Pricing rates
  • PPC data
Weaknesses
  • Pricing structure
  • Customer support
  • Data accuracy
  • PPC vs. SEO focus
Site audits
  • Full SEO audit
  • Historical SEO audits
Basic SEO audit
Keyword research
  • Competitor keyword data
  • Keyword metrics, including traffic value
Competitor keyword data
Keyword rank tracking Track up to 10,000 keywords Track rank history
SEO content Content gaps Topic ideas
Competitor research
  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • Estimated traffic
  • Keywords
  • Backlinks
  • PPC-based data
Backlink analysis Backlink gaps
Keyword-based backlink recommendations
Customer support
  • Online chat
  • Resource library
  • Online forums
  • Online chat
  • Phone
  • Resource library
Ease of use High High
AI
  • Keyword analysis
  • Free AI tools
SEO content

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Inside Ahrefs

Learn more about Ahrefs’ pros and cons below:

Ahrefs pros

There are several upsides to choosing Ahrefs as your SEO tool. Those upsides include:

  • Free plan: One of the best things about Ahrefs is that it offers some free tools for things like keyword research and link building, which is obviously very convenient.
  • Keyword research: Keyword research is one of Ahrefs’s biggest strengths. It’s perfect for helping you find the ideal keywords to target in your SEO content.
  • Backlink analysis: Ahrefs is also extremely useful for analyzing your backlink profile and figuring out which websites link to you.

Ahrefs cons

As nice as the above Ahrefs advantages are, there are also several disadvantages that prompt users to seek Ahrefs alternatives. Those disadvantages include:

  • Pricing: Ahrefs may offer some free tools, but its paid plans are wildly expensive, to the point that many businesses can’t afford them at all. If that’s the case, you might want to consider something like Ubersuggest vs. Ahrefs (depending on your needs).
  • Lots of downtime: Compared to other tools, Ahrefs has a lot of downtime — that is, time during which the platform is down. This can be understandably frustrating for businesses.
  • Customer support: Ahrefs isn’t known for its customer support. Many users say their customer service team is unhelpful and slow to respond.

Inside SpyFu

Learn more about SpyFu’s pros and cons below:

SpyFu pros

SpyFu comes with its own set of benefits, including the following:

  • Free plan: Like Ahrefs, SpyFu does offer a free plan. And in this case, it’s an actual plan rather than some individual free tools like with Ahrefs.
  • Competitive analysis: SpyFu’s number one strength is its ability to gather intelligence about your competitors’ SEO. That makes it one of the biggest benefits of using the tool, making it one of the best competitor analysis tools out there.
  • User-friendliness: Overall, SpyFu is very easy to use, setting it apart from many of its competitor tools that can be tricky to navigate.

SpyFu cons

Although the benefits listed above are definitely good to have, there are also some downsides to using SpyFu. Those downsides include:

  • Inaccurate data: SpyFu users have been known to complain about data accuracy in the tool. Obviously, receiving inaccurate data from your SEO tool is a big problem.
  • Lack of search engine distinction: Some users have said that SpyFu fails to distinguish between traffic earned from Google vs. other search engines, making it hard to know where your traffic comes from.
  • Non-user-friendly graphs: Even though user-friendliness is a strong point for SpyFu overall, its graphs are the exception, with many people finding them hard to navigate and use.

Compare Ahrefs vs. SpyFu in-depth

Now that we’ve seen some of the biggest pros and cons of each tool, which is better: Ahrefs or SpyFu? See how they stack up in relation to five key components of a good SEO tool below:

Ease of use

Reports vary on how easy it is to use Ahrefs. Some users find the interface a little overwhelming, but others say it’s perfect. Ultimately, it’s hard to draw a solid conclusion about it — it just depends on your individual perception.

On the other hand, SpyFu is generally recognized as being very user-friendly across the board (with the sole exception of its graphs). That means that SpyFu wins in this category by a small margin.

Winner: SpyFu

Pricing

There’s no contest in this category: SpyFu wins in a heartbeat. First of all, though both tools offer free versions, only SpyFu’s is a free plan in the true sense of the word — Ahrefs’s is more of a collection of individual free tools.

And then, when you look at their paid plans, it’s even more obvious that SpyFu comes out on top. Its cheapest plan is only $16 per month, while Ahrefs’ pricing starts at $99 per month and goes up as high as $999 per month. Not very affordable for companies on a small budget!

Winner: SpyFu

Research

A good SEO tool will help you research new opportunities to expand your campaigns, be it by finding keywords or investigating what your competitors are doing. Both Ahrefs and SpyFu excel here but in different areas.

SpyFu’s strength is in competitor research, while Ahrefs is one of the best rank tracking tools. So, which one wins out?

The deciding factor is the fact that SpyFu has been known to have issues with data accuracy. It’s close, but that cinches it for Ahrefs in this category.

Winner: Ahrefs

Analysis

In addition to helping you research new SEO opportunities, both SpyFu and Ahrefs also help you analyze your existing data to see how your campaigns are already performing. In this category, Ahrefs comes out on top. Not only is it great for assessing your keyword rankings, but it can also give you deep insights into your backlink profile.

Winner: Ahrefs

Customer support

Finally, any good software should have a solid customer support team as well. SpyFu does okay here — its customer support team doesn’t have rave reviews, but it hasn’t earned frequent complaints, either.

On the other hand, Ahrefs has caused a lot of frustration due to its slow and unhelpful customer service, as we mentioned earlier. For that reason, SpyFu takes this category.

Winner: SpyFu

Can’t decide between Ahrefs or SpyFu? Try a free alternative

Spend less time debating between SEO tools and more time growing your rankings with SEO.com, a free SEO tool that provides the essentials you need to track rankings, monitor competitor, and evaluate SEO content.

Try SEO.com for free today!

Headshot of a smiling man in blue shirt on a black background.
Matthew is a marketing expert focusing on the SEO & martech spaces. He has written over 500 marketing guides and video scripts for the WebFX YouTube channel. When he’s not striving to put out some fresh blog posts and articles, he’s usually fueling his Tolkien obsession or working on miscellaneous creative projects.

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