I’ve tested a lot of tools in my career. Some I used mercilessly over the years, some I avoided, some I wished I used and a few that I wouldn’t recommend to my worst enemy. With that much dependence on SEO tools, you develop a certain type of likes and needs and only certain data can keep my habit driven needs satisfied. With that being said, I cannot be as objective as I would like in terms of reviewing a tool like LinksSpy, but I will try my best.
Starting from the top I can tell you one thing. This tool does one thing that I really appreciate when it comes to marketing tools, it focuses on a single service and doesn’t try to be a one for all tool like many out there. I’ve been a huge fan of Ahrefs until they started running a bunch of options that aren’t good at all, and especially since I can’t choose whether I want to pay for them or not. So this is a link research tool, not a link research suite, and I appreciate that straightforwardness, it does, what it’s supposed to do. Nothing more, nothing less.
Sorry for the fluff. LinksSpy offers you two things:
- Finding websites that link to your competitors
- Managed outreach
It sound a bit like a mix between a link research tool and BuzzStream, and it is in fact. To start off, you need to enter your website, name your campaign and input at least 5 competitors, but more the merrier. I’ve tested with 20+ competitors and it does provide much better results the more you add. I’m not sure what the actual limit is, I think it’s around 100, but hey, if you have that many competitors maybe you should change the market.
Once you click on create your campaign you need to wait. It can take from a few minutes to a few hours, but you will be notified when data gathering is completed. You already guessed what the tools does! It looks for websites that link to two or more of your competitors. At the top of the list will be the sites that list to the largest number of your competitors. There is a quality sorting option, but I would advise against it. The quality metrics need some adjustment. The example would just be having sites like theglobe.net and the-globe.com always appearing at the top with a quality score of 400+. That doesn’t make much sense, so some spam filters are highly needed.
You can export the gathered data or you can filter it a bit. The filtering part also needs improvement as it is very limited. One of the filtering options is “keyword in URL” for example, not that it is a very useful filter comparing top results (news/bookmarks/social sites).
From the prospects view you can leave notes and mark the prospects with several options like:
- received link
- ignored me
And as these options suggest you can start the outreach directly from the list view. You can go to the outreach section first to create your email template that you are going to send out and then all you have to do for each opportunity is add name and email. Emails are sent directly from the tool and you can monitor how many you sent and how many of them have been opened.
That’s basically it, not many unnecessary functions, not trying to be all in one tool, but nevertheless, there is tons of room for improvement. Starting from the design, dashboard, quality score, filtering options to of course showcasing the best possible results. My overall score on a scale from one to ten would be a strong 6.
Just for comparison, LinkResearchTools would be 8, Ahrefs would be 9, Moz OSE and Majestic would be 7. I don’t want to end the review on a negative note, the tool does a very good job, especially for the low price of Marketing and Agency plans, and they come with a 14-day free trial. But, the sad part is that the tool is not anything new, LRT had this option for years (without the outreach part) and Ahrefs is trying something similar. The reason why I am not in awe is that this kind of prospecting and opportunities gotten from such websites is very limited and like I said at the beginning, I am a hard man to please when it comes to marketing tools.
- Easy to setup and use
- The more competitors the larger the link pool
- Integrated outreach options
- Quality score needs improvement
- Limited filtering options
- Limited/focused to one prospecting type (multi-linking sites) – but this is at the same time a good and a bad thing