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This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >     
Tools that show what keywords trigger PPC ads - should I be worried
It's pulling my keywords for my competitors to see

 10:10 pm on Jul 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

I noticed this month in my site stats that I've had a few visits from one of these tools

When I went over to this site, it allows you to enter any domain and, as long as they have an ad campaign running, it extracts a list of the keywords that domain is using and it shows their ad placement positions versus the competition. It's designed to extract the information that is enabling your competitor's success.

When I entered my own domain, it did indeed bring up the actual keywords that I have entered on my Google AdWords Account Campaigns, as well as showing my actual ad position ratings as compared with the rest. Whilst I can hardly worry about the more obvious keywords (anyone with any common sense could choose them), there are some more 'creative' variations that I have used that successfully trigger my ads.

I must admit that I'm a bit cheesed off that information that is used exclusively within my AdWords account is being made available for public consumption. Some of these keywords do not even appear anywhere on my own pages (and yes, I can still get them to trigger ads), so they must have been fished for via Adwords somehow?

I guess, in some perverse way, it's flattering that some competitor/s has found me to be more successful in my AdWords campain than they'd like me to be, but is there any way I can stop them accessing my information? All I've tried so far is adding keywordspy.com to my ip deny list. In fact, I'm not even sure what it was up to on my site - as I said, the keywords are apparently being taken from my Adwords campaign, not lifted from my site coding.

Comments anyone?


[edited by: skibum at 1:23 am (utc) on Mar. 7, 2008]
[edit reason] there are a bunch of these, removed name of this specific one [/edit]



 11:43 pm on Jul 30, 2007 (gmt 0)

That service really does not work. I ran it on a bunch of our sites and it is showing keywords that are not relevant and not advertised. We sell lights, yet it says we are bidding on solar aquariums? Do not worry if your competition uses it, it does not work. They will just be wasting money with a worthless program.


 12:48 am on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

My site didn't come up, but I was able to pull up some related businesses. Some look like they're making a good effort... A couple don't seem to have a clue.

Beyond curiosity, I don't know why anybody would waste much time with it. If you're smart enough to create you're own keywords, you don't need it... and if you're dumb enough to need it, you probably wouldn't ever find it anyway.


 6:00 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

We're not bidding on about half of the keywords it brought up for our domain.


 6:09 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know a guy that built his whole company using such a tool, and in fact he just called me from a penthouse suite in a 5 star hotel. Trust me they do work! :-)


 6:49 pm on Jul 31, 2007 (gmt 0)

Here's my theory about how this works....

The program keeps track of the search queries used, and also keeps track of the websites that show an ad for such a query. Then when you enter a website, it simply remembers all the search queries that triggered an ad.

I tried my website...only about half the number of keywords showed, and it showed A LOT of keywords that I am not bidding on.

This supports my theory of how KeywordSpy gets their info - only about half of my keywords actually trigger ads. As for the keywords I'm not bidding on, well, those are there because Google in its "wise" broad match showed my ads for ridiculous searches.

As previously stated, anyone with brains can do the same with a WordTracker account, and some old-fashioned hard work.


 12:22 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I am just going to confirm that they are in no way accessing the data within your AdWords account. Any information they have is gathered via the external SERPs.



 4:34 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

How do sites like this manage to get all their data? Does Google offer a paid API where you can buy credits to scrape huge numbers of SERPs, or do they just hide behind anonymous proxies and stuff like that? I assume if you use an automated script to try to scrape 100,000 SERPs a day Google will block your IP...


 4:40 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

The tool really works, and if you are smart enough you can optimize the use of the tool and you can even surpass your competitors, you just have to be smart how to use those results given to you for your own site.

But if you are dumb enough to just ignore your competitors then probably you can't see the usefulness of this tool.

I have tried it and I really did track my competitorsí keywords and how successful their AdWords campaigns are. I am using this for my own site and so far it has positive response...


 5:08 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't fall for these spammy posts - they'll rob you blind. You have a "new" poster - posting that it "actually knew all of his adwords" - yeah right. Then you have another "new" poster, using his very first post singing the praises of this site saying "it really works - you're dumb if you don't use it".

You're dumb if you fall for this - the oldest and lamest attempt to spam a legitimate forum. The only thing that this site may be good at - is separating a fool from his money.


 7:06 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Don't listen, it's a huge rip off. If you gamble your 100 bucks or whatever it is you are bound to lose the money...etc etc. That's just your opinion my friend.

Personally, I don't think so. Software like Spy Fu has been used accross the industry for a good length of time now. I personally know people that look forward to their monthly updates, so ignore it at your peril would be my advice!


 10:00 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

I guess itís just a matter of giving your competitors a dose of their own medicine. I actually subscribed to KeywordSpy, holding the idea that if my competitors are doing the same, then itís a fair battle of keywords vs. keywords. I canít just let them stare at the keywords Iím bidding on without me experiencing the same pleasure of staring to theirs. Seems like thereís no way for us to keep KeywordSpy from accessing our keyword investments, so better grab itís positive side of letting us do a sneaking/spying of our competitors.

So far, itís bringing me the targeted website traffic I need for my e-book business. Less hassle on my marketing staff for we can easily figure out the competitors move and can come up with better keyword strategy.

I also noticed that KeywordSpy is similar to the now defunct Google Sandbox, which is a welcome concept for any webmaster, but I guess even better than the latter for I recently found out that it has regional domains for UK and Australia.

I just hope that my adversaries wonít find out KeywordSpy soon. (*crossed fingers*)


 10:06 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

Isnt there a doorman that can simply show these idiots the door and remove their spam


 11:35 am on Aug 1, 2007 (gmt 0)

no i certainly wouldn't worry, at the end of the day there is a cost to seo itself, so the biggest list of keywords in the world doesn't mean you will suddenly become number 1


 3:36 am on Feb 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

This site showed up in the logs of an ecommerce site I manage last summer. My feelings are who cares.

The results on the site were 50% accurate at best. Tons of keywords that we never used.

Ultimately the serious PPC manager shouldn't care what information some tool is gathering.

If your understand PPC and know why and what your doing. Then you will always be one step ahead of your competition that uses this tool. You already have an advantage because you don't have the expense of the tool.

Anyone that really wanted to get this data could find it without spending a dime.

By the way, the data used on this site is gathered from ISP log files.


 10:04 am on Feb 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

Google probably throws its accuracy off quite a bit.

E.g. if you type in "chicago hotels" you get adwords relevant to "chicago hotels" appearing. However if you immediately do a second search just for "hotels" say, Google will still display a few adverts for "Chicago Hotels" mixed in with the normal "Hotels" adwords (ads which don't appear if you open the browser afresh and search for "hotels") - or at least this is what we see happening here.

(I hope its okay giving a random example here? - I couldn't get it to work for 'foo' and 'bar'!)

Google seems to slightly adjust adverts (in some cases) based on your previous search - perhaps assuming that some users will be attempting to refine their first search.

The effect of this on KeywordSpy.com however could mean that it lists adwords appearing for some search terms when in fact they don't actually appear for those terms (rather they appeared for a users unknown previous search term).

[edited by: TravelSite at 10:05 am (utc) on Feb. 27, 2008]


 10:24 am on Feb 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

If you really want to protect your keywords, then I suppose it would be quite easy to just ban their domain / user agent.


 11:36 am on Feb 27, 2008 (gmt 0)

I have been using it for months.
It shows all of those keywords people are not actually bidding on because they only generate a list of broad matched results. I would suggest that you spend some time looking at you search query reports and then look at keyword spy and see what is really happening in your account.

Also, if you actually spent time understanding the value of this you could save your account hundreds of thousands of dolllar a year(at least i did). Not to mention you can gain insight in to the way your competitors segment their acccounts and so on.

To say it does not work or it is a scam is not true and I would suggest the people that think that its a lie should spend some time thinking about ways to take advantage of competitive intelligence when it is presented to them.

its not much different than spyfu, less the pricing info.


 1:24 am on Feb 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

I just typed in my main site and the information it spat out was complete garbage


 2:18 pm on Feb 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Really the tool is only as good as the master keyword list they are using to scrape the results.

You can go to wordtracker and buy one of their huge keywords lists (they sell one containing 20 million keywords), setup the system to scrape the search results for reach query and the data starts pouring in.

As for showing words you never bid on, do you use broad match? Because if you do your ad will show up for tons and tons of keywords you didn't specifically bid on, throw expanded broad match into the mix and you have even more keywords you dind't bid on.

I bet if you run a Search Query Report and compared that list of keywords to the spy tool lists you would see more matches than just comparing to your list of bidded keywords .

Ever wonder what keywords show up in the "Other Search Queries" section? :-)


 8:48 pm on Feb 28, 2008 (gmt 0)

Tools just make them think they're clever and complete, so actually, it's a good thing that they exist. Nothing like convincing your competitiors they've secretly discovered everything that you know and do. Makes the copycat-tryers into suckers, I love that part of it. Besides who aims to be equal to their competition? No worries, people using it lack creativity and will power and intellect and also fall for stupid crapola, they'll be reading the guru's ebooks while I'm busy selling stuff. Shortcut Sam and Copy-them Christie aren't the competitiors you need to worry about.


 1:30 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

There is a VERY big difference between relying on a specific tool to magically reveal all the answers and performing comprehensive competitive intelligence.

If you know how to use competitive intelligence tools and techniques AND use the data you uncover correctly you can drastically cut the time needed to launch new campaigns in new markets.


 2:17 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does the tool create segmented, themed, cohesive ad groupings? Does it tell me how to build out the site and create the best landing page strategy for those groups?

C'mon peers, timeslice contributors to launch (and beyond) go well beyond keyword discovery, which is one of the skinniest parts of launching.

You're way over-rating what these things are capable of doing. Which, like I said, is very good news for those of us that see it's plainly a shortcut to nowhere.


 4:56 pm on Feb 29, 2008 (gmt 0)

The tools do work. And so far as I know, there is no way we can stop them from typing thousands of random searches into google everyday and recording the results.


 1:55 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

Does the tool create segmented, themed, cohesive ad groupings? Does it tell me how to build out the site and create the best landing page strategy for those groups?

C'mon peers, timeslice contributors to launch (and beyond) go well beyond keyword discovery, which is one of the skinniest parts of launching.

You're way over-rating what these things are capable of doing. Which, like I said, is very good news for those of us that see it's plainly a shortcut to nowhere.

And competitive intelligence goes way beyond keyword research.

I agree using one's own intelligence, common sense, and personal experiences can never be replicated by a tool or script but it's also very unlikely you are going to launch a new campaign for yourself or a client without studying the marketplace and those already competing in it.

I look at it like a sports team studying tape of their next competitor's plays, tendencies strengths and weaknesses.

It doesn't give you the other teams actual playbook or guarantee you will win the game but it will help you exploit mistakes and weaknesses and also get you thinking in new ways to position your team for a better chance of winning.

Then the chaos of the actual game unfolds and this thread strays farther and farther from the original post :-)


 9:50 pm on Mar 3, 2008 (gmt 0)

This is for keywords, not landing pages. When it comes to keywords you should never stick your head in the sand and say, I know what is best, nobody knows it as well as me. You could be an master in your niche and still need a defensible position. Part of a defense is a good offense, and that is where competitive intelligence comes in. If there is any way possible for me to know what my competition is doing, even if it is only going to slighlt be of benefit, I am down with it. I bet they are doing it to me, why should I stick my head in the sand and not know what is going on?


 3:49 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

I didn't stick my head in the sand and stop all keyword research, I said these tools are a poor way to do it, a lazy way to do it, a cheating way to do it, a way that won't bring you the success you think it will nor is it as easy and simple as they (those who sell it) make it sound.

I raised questions like these:
Does the tool create segmented, themed, cohesive ad groupings? Does it tell me how to build out the site and create the best landing page strategy for those groups?

My point being, how do you do those other necessary and important tasks well, if your keywords lists are scraped data from your competition... a question you've failed to address.

To me, I see you stuffing keywords like competitive intelligence into every post and quotes like "could save your account hundreds of thousands of dollar a year" and my best guess is that you're a plant.

In any case, plant, tool or simply duped newbie, I look forward to competing with you in the marketplace.


 4:49 pm on Mar 4, 2008 (gmt 0)

Wow, a bit harsh dont you think. Why get so personal about it. Its just s service, its not the end of the world.

And to drive a point home, some of us here may actually deal in multi million dolllar accounts, so it would not be unreasonable to see saving in that area. Also, I do not think I said anyhting about basing my keyword list from scraped keywords. I did say that the keywords in the list they provide are broad matched results and it makes little sense to bid on all of them.

No keyword stuffung intended, if you took it that way, sorry. However, i am not going to hear someone call it cheating, dispicable and everything else because they do not persoanlly like it. I think both sodes of a situation should be provided, that makes the whole issue look less biased.

There must be some merit to this process because i sat in on a few sessions at pubcon with a couple of hundred other people disussing the right way to approach competitive intelligence.

Calling me a plant? That is comical. Why would you even say that, because it differs from your opinion? What you are doing is no different than calling a 10 year old kid a cheater at a video game because he understands a certain aspect that you currently do not.

So i am pleased that you call me a plant, thanks.


 7:49 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Harsh, hardly, but retortive sure. You inferred not using spying software is akin to sticking your head in the sand and more, hence the "plant" comment. Your defense of this thing, without discussing its substantive basis, still tells me you have an agenda.

"What you are doing is no different than calling a 10 year old kid a cheater at a video game because he understands a certain aspect that you currently do not."
Are you saying you're a 10 year old kid? That would explain the defensive posturing, avoiding substance, poor analogies, loyalty to scrapeware and more...


One last warning, and I mean a very friendly warning, nothing personal... these services also put at risk your relationship and standing with G, for the very little "intelligence" they provide, you are risking quite a lot of your professional, multi-million dollar portfolio management career. On risk/reward basis, you're nuts to be using this stuff.

Good luck with it.


 8:41 pm on Mar 5, 2008 (gmt 0)

Rhinofish--> these services also put at risk your relationship and standing with G....

I find this statement very hard to believe. I've never come across this particular vendor, but I have used several others over the years and can vouch for their usefulness. Google does state in their Webmaster Guidelines that they may penalize a site that pings their search engine for any reason, whether it be to monitor rankings or to scrape advertisers. However, I think the idea of Google expanding that penalty to the *users* of such a site is poppycock.

As far as the idea that using this tool is cheating, or shows a lack of creativity, honesty, or hard work...I say rubbish. Expanding your keyword list is a part (albeit often a small part) of any successful PPC campaign. There are lots of ways to go about this, but a tool that can deliver a competitor's keywords can also open your eyes to all sorts of holes in your keyword-building strategy that you would never see otherwise.

Maybe you should give one of the free versions a try sometime, just to make sure you don't get ripped off.

This 35 message thread spans 2 pages: 35 ( [1] 2 > >
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