Surfer SEO vs Clearscope: these are two runners-up for the best SEO content optimization tools on the web today.

While Clearscope is undoubtedly the most popular, most people turn to Surfer SEO because of its pricing. With queries like this, though, it’s obvious users want to know if it’s worth it to save a few dollars by turning to Surfer SEO instead of Clearscope.

After all, the end goal is to get your content to rank. If this strikes a chord with you, you are in the right place. I tested the two of them, and I will show you how they compare.

Let’s get started.

Surfer SEO vs Clearscope: A Review of Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is a content optimization tool for better search rankings on Google. It does a number of things, including keyword research, SERPs analysis, content optimization, content research, content grading, and a lot more.

All of these aren’t only important ranking factors in organic search, but they also give you the advantage of speed, which is crucial in today’s search ranking ecosystem, but more on that later. 

Let’s talk about its features.

Features of Surfer SEO

The following features highlight what Surfer SEO can do for you:

Site audit and content audit

A site audit is the starting point of SEO these days, unless your site is 100% new with no content on it. 

The benefit of site auditing is that you are able to crawl your website’s pages and identify opportunities, mistakes, and areas for improvement.

That’s exactly what the Surfer SEO's content auditing feature does. It makes an assessment of every page on your site, and this will give you insights on the following:

  • Pages to delete
  • Pages that have more potential to rank
  • New keywords and terms to add to a page to rank better
  • Internal linking opportunities
  • New keywords to pursue

Upon signing up, here are some of the suggestions it made for my website. And I saw improvement on my site after working on those before those pages dropped again after a few weeks of negligence/

Surfer SEO content audit
A visual of Surfer SEO contnt audit

NLP and key terms suggestions

Natural Language Processing assists you in locating and including keywords related to the main keyword in your article.

These keywords are the key terms Google uses to measure the originality of your content, and it’s based on how well the existing content on the SERPs uses them.

By adding those key terms, Google automatically assumes you have deep knowledge of the topic and counts your article as one of the trusted resources to be recommended to searchers.

This is NLP at work:

surfer SEO LSI and key term suggestions
Surfer SEO LSI

Content brief builder

Another thing Surfer SEO does is create a content brief for you. It uses data from thousands of Google SERPs or the top 10 ranking articles to get you everything you need for your article.

That way, you can have an outline that’s up to standard and also easily identify content gaps that you can fill to make your article richer than that of the competitors.

More importantly, this lets you save time. I remember I used to do SERP analysis manually before finally having access to these SEO optimization tools. This is energy-intensive, less effective, and slow.

The only advantage I see to this is that it lets you write better if you aren’t a subject-matter expert.

Keyword research tool

Surfer SEO also offers keyword research. The importance of this is that it saves you money, as you’ll not necessarily have to pay for independent keyword research tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush to conduct keyword research.

Now, don’t get me wrong. When it comes to keyword research, content optimization tools are no match for keyword research tools. However, you can save money if you don't have to pay for the keyword research tools subscription every month.

It also lets you do all your assignments in a single workspace, including keyword research, writing, content optimization, and so on.

In case you are wondering, this keyword research feature comes with some of the things you’ll need in a keyword research tool, such as search volume, keyword difficulty, and much more. 

Here is the keyword research feature at work:

Surfer keyword research tool
Surfer keyword research in action

SERPs analysis

Similarly, Surfer SEO takes care of the SERP analysis for you and saves you tons of time and energy.

It crawls the top 10 pages on Google and gives you information on:

  • Word count
  • Internal links
  • Major keyword
  • Page structure
  • Number of H-tags
  • Key terms, and so on.

This information will help you know what to include in your content and how you can do better than the competition.

Content Editor

The content editor is like a word processor—a distraction-free interface where you can write and optimize your content.

It gives you that extra ability to focus for as long as you want. It also has a fine interface, making it worth the money.

But that’s not all. As you write, you also have some pieces of information, such as the content score, the number of images, the number of headings, and more.

It will also automatically grade your content to let you see how well you are doing until you have optimized your post to the best of your ability.

Surfer SEO content editor
Surfer SEO content editor and content score

Surfer SEO pricing

Surfer SEO pricing plans
Surfer SEO pricing plans

Forever-free plan: this will give you SEO insights every 28 days. It also allows you to track and optimize one website.

Basic: this costs $59 per month. It allows you to optimize and write 10 articles per month using the content editor, supports keyword research, and dives deep into SERP analysis.

Pro: This costs $119 per month. It lets you optimize and write 30 articles per month using the content editor, optimize and track five websites, and more.

Business: this comes at $239 a month. It supports the optimization of 70 articles, plus everything in the previous plans at a bigger scale.

Pros of Surfer SEO

  • It’s easy to use
  • Affordable
  • Effective
  • Integrates with Google Docs
  • Team collaboration
  • Powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Cons of Surfer SEO

  • Not as popular as Clearscope

Surfer SEO vs Clearscope: What is Clearscope?

Clearscope is a keyword research and content optimization tool that shows you the best keyword opportunities and terms you should use in your content for better ranking. It’s the most popular among content marketers and SEOs. It’s one of the oldest, if not the oldest, in the industry.

Like Surfer SEO, it has a host of features to make your job easier, including keyword discovery, outline building, content grading, and content optimization.

If you’d like to know where Clearcope might fit in in your content creation workflow, read on for its top features.

Features of Clearscope

Keep in mind that the core job of Clearscope is to optimize content for improved search ranking. While it does several other things well, I believe it’s most successful in this area and this explains its popular adoption.

Now, here are the major features of Clearscope:

Clearscope reports

To use Clearscope, the Clearscope report is the starting point.

Clearscope report
An image of Clearscope report

You insert your seed keyword and set a locale, then wait for it to analyze the SERP and collect essential information for you.

Once this report has been done, you will be able to use it in the content editor or on your Google Docs if you are using Clearscope in Google Docs.

It uses this report to show you relevant key phrases, headings, and a lot of things you should add to your content to increase its chance on Google.

Keyword research

For keyword discovery, Clearscope is also very useful. This also shows you necessary keyword information, such as keyword volume, primary keywords, cost per click, and so on.

Just like Surfer SEO, it doesn’t do backlink analysis, but that isn’t why you want to use it in the first place.

Content brief creation

Using the information you got from the Clearscope report, you can build your content outline to surpass the competition.

You can also take insights from their content outline and make better addition, using content gap analysis.

Clearscope content brief
An example of Clarscope content brief generation

The interesting thing about this is that since all the reports have been taken care of for you, you don’t need to go the extra mile before finding what you need.

Content optimization

This is the most popular and essential feature of Clearscope. You can optimize your content using its Content Editor.

In the content editor, you’ll not only have a space to write, but you will also have every information about your competitors as well as your content. 

Some of the things you will see in this feature are:

  • Word count
  • Readability score
  • Related search terms
  • Content score

Here, the content score is the most important thing because you are using Clearscope to optimize your content for search ranking. 

Clearscope doesn’t grade your content like Surfer SEO which uses percentages. It scores it using an alphabet. This is why A++ is the highest score, followed by A+, followed by A, followed by B ++, and so on.

Clearscope grading system
Clearscope grading system

If you are asking what’s my experience with this, here is the answer: In my experience, content that scores A++ tends to rank highest than any existing content. 

Not only that. The goal isn’t always to score the As but to score better than any existing content, and the information about the top 10 on Google is displayed to you right in your workspace.

That way, you can tell how your content stacks up with the existing ones.

Clearscope pricing

Clearscope pricing
Clearscope pricing

Essentials: This costs $170 per month. It gives you 20 content report credits, three user seats, 100 keyword discovery credits, and integrations.

Business: This costs $1,200 per month. It gives you everything in Essentials, plus 100 user seats. It also expands all the reports to the range of 100+.

Enterprise: This is the largest plan, and you’ll need to book a demo to know more about it.

Pros of Clearscope

  • It’s very effective
  • It’s very easy to use
  • It’s popular
  • They offer onboarding assistance
  • More people trust it
  • It integrates with WordPress, Google Docs, and Jasper (An AI copywriting software)

Cons of Clearscope

  • It’s very pricey

Surfer SEO vs Clearscope: How do they compare to one another?

While I’ve discussed all their features and their benefits to your business, I thought it’s essential to help you make a decision.

As you could have probably seen from the feature review, they have some features in common. But now you’ll want to know which one does the job better.

So, here is my take on those features.

Keyword research

On keyword discovery, I don’t see much difference between the two of them. Both offer some level of basic keyword research, although not as comprehensively as tools like Ubersuggest.

Furthermore, Clearscope shows keyword graphs and adds a bit more data but also limits you based on your subscription.

SERP analysis

They both provide a very rich SERP analysis, even though you have to wait a bit for Clearscope to do its own before you can start optimizing your content.

I don’t consider this a weakness for Clearscope in terms of effectiveness, but in terms of functionality. This delays you because you can’t just copy your content from somewhere to Clearscope without first waiting for it to generate a report for you.

They are both, nonetheless, good in this area. One tool that does SERP analysis better than these two is Outranking. You can learn more about it in my Outranking review.

LSI keywords and relevant terms suggestion

In this area, Clearscope is the obvious winner. I’ve used Clearscope more times than I have used Sufer SEO for this purpose. 

Clearscope is a powerful optimization tool, and it does wonders. I’m not saying you can’t win with Surfer SEO, but, all things being equal, if your competitor is using Surfer SEO and you are using Clearscope, you’ll beat them.

But there are more dynamics to search ranking, and, therefore, several other factors might come into play here, such as domain rating, content velocity, and so forth.

Ease of use

Both of them have an intuitive user interface and are very easy to use. Every feature, from the content planner to the content audit to the SERP analyzer, is easily identifiable. There is no learning curve.

Surfer SEO vs Clearscope: which one is better for ranking your content?

As a matter of fact, Surfer SEO has more features, and it will not only help you rank on Google but also give a boost to your productivity. Clearscope, on the other hand, is more effective in improving rankings, but it’s pricey.

To choose one, think about your "jobs-to-be-done" and priorities. At the moment, what’s the most important thing to you? Is it saving money or ranking higher?

But also factor in other important things, such as your SEO condition and the competition. If your competitors are extremely ahead of you in terms of domain authority (DA), number of published articles, and so on, you may need Clearscope more than Surfer SEO.

What are the alternatives to Surfer SEO and Clearscope

While these two programs are really popular and effective, there are several alternatives that are more affordable and are also very effective.

Here are three alternatives to Surfer SEO and Clearscope:

  • Frase
  • Gorwthbar SEO
  • Scalenut
  • SEMrush Writing Assistant
  • Dashword

I discuss more in the Clearscope alternatives. And that's it on our comparison of Surfer SEO vs Clearscope.