Today I’m going to be reviewing iSpionage, which says you can “Uncover competitors’ SEO & PPC keywords and strategies” as well as “Build effective PPC campaign under 20 min”. I’ve got my cup of hot cocoa (even though it’s July, I know), some Tchaikovsky playing on Spotify and I’m going to tackle this almost like a product unboxing. I’ll give you my impressions on the fly as I login and start poking around.
Immediately upon login in I see 3 main options: Keyword & Domain Research, Keyword Monitor and PPC Campaign Builder.
I’m a left to right kind of guy, so let’s take a look at Keyword & Domain Research.
My dad raises grass-fed beef in Idaho, so I help him with his internet marketing. One of his competitors is Alderspring.com so I threw that in the search bar to see what information they give me. I immediately zone in on the SEO Keywords tab where I see a list of keywords where they’re ranking on the 1st page. The thoroughness is impressive and I can quickly see that my competitors are making a concerted effort to rank for organic terms in addition to grass-fed beef terms. Interesting.
Next I go to the competitors tab to see if my dad is there. Yep, there he is, 16th on the list. I go ahead and click on his name and it looks like the site just ran the same report for my dad’s website, BradysBeef.com. We’ll see how accurate they are now. Hmm. Not as impressed here since it only shows 6 SEO keywords with rankings (my Google Analytics shows many terms garnering organic traffic that aren’t showing here) and at least one of the terms has an incorrect ranking (I checked it against an Incognito Chrome window and AuthorityLabs). I’ll give them a break since my dad’s site is pretty small, but it might be something for them to look into.
Okay, moving on I went to look at the Keyword Monitor feature. Looks like I have to pick between SEO tracking and PPC tracking. I’ll go a different direction here and use a keyword for one of my larger national clients. Looks like you name the project, give it a description and then drop in your keywords. The message says it will take 24 hours to get me data, so I’ll create a couple more projects and come back to it (I do have 150 keywords after all).
Okay, it only took like 4 hours to get the data, but the SEO Rankings look accurate and the PPC keyword monitoring is interesting. With only 1 day of monitoring I can only get so much benefit, but having this data being recorded over a longer time frame would provide great historical data.
To monitor local PPC keywords it looks like you need to install a proxy on your machine so iSpionage can check your local PPC results. I was hoping to be able to set the geographic area for a campaign I’m managing in another state, but I guess I’ll hold off on that for now.
PPC Campaign Builder
I’m always a bit leery of automated PPC building tools because of how important intuition is, but I’ll give this a shake. It looks like the default Step 1 is keyword research, so I’ll throw it a bone. I get a spinner while it processes, which takes about 30 seconds or so. Looking through the research list, most keywords are good fits. A few are a little off. I selected a few and threw them in the keyword bag (not sure what that means yet, but we’ll find out).
I choose the next tab, Keyword Clean Up, and look around. I think the next step is the small “Clean >>” link (and it is) but it took me quite a bit of looking to figure that out. Maybe a bigger button there? I save the keyword list and move to the Keyword Grouping tab. This tool is formatted pretty much the same and I eventually figure out what’s going on. You select a common root word or phrase and you can pull all those over into an ad group. Once in an ad group you can then export them to the 4th tab, Campaign Builder, where you put the finishing touches on your new campaign such as bids and ad copy. After filling in the blanks you get a nice output that you could copy/paste into AdWords Editor.
It was a little rocky the first time through (upon further review, I see that like a typical guy I ignored the bright orange “Page Tutorial” button that has a video explaining how to do each step. Nice touch and I recommend you watch them before using the tool. You know, do as I say, not as I do) but I could definitely go much faster the next time through and see how this would be a nice time saver if you’re doing a lot of build out tasks.
- Keyword monitoring is accurate and easy to read
- Solid domain research
- Great way to get a fast, high-level picture of what your competitors are doing
- Campaign builder could save you a lot of time on account build out