You have two approaches when looking for the perfect SEO tool. The first one is to look for a particular platform that specializes in a single area, such as keyword research or content writing. The alternative is to search for an all-around tool that combines everything you might need from an SEO platform.
Surfer SEO is a tool that specializes in content creation, as it helps you prepare and optimize content on your websites. However, it also has additional features, such as keyword research. Is that enough to compete with all-around platforms? That’s what we are trying to answer in our Surfer SEO vs Semrush comparison. Here’s a detailed review of what these tools offer to an SEO enthusiast or an entire team of professionals!
What are Semrush and Surfer Seo?
Surfer SEO Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
Michal Suski established Surfer SEO in 2017 in Poland, along with several friends. That’s when they laid the foundation for a popular SEO tool with a strong focus on content creation, optimization, and marketing. Other features include keyword research, SERP analyzer, and SEO content audit.
As you’ll find in our Surfer SEO vs. Semrush comparison, the tool is easy to use. It’s among the reasons why the tool now has over 15,000 clients, including notable brands like ClickUp, Shopify, Lenovo, and Opera.
- Extensive content editor with a detailed AI builder
- Customize competitor pages to analyze when drafting keyword suggestions
- Easy to integrate with Google Docs and WordPress and share with others
- Excellent choice for those aiming to create top-quality content
- Keyword research doesn’t offer too much in-depth information
- No free trial to test the tool
Semrush Overview (+ Pros and Cons)
Semrush is an SEO software suite that caters to different user needs, ranging from optimizing ad campaigns to competitor analysis, keyword research, and on-page optimization. It’s an all-around platform with various tools to improve your digital marketing efforts and website visibility.
The company’s history goes back to 2008, and the founders are Dmitri Melnikov and Oleg Shchegolev. According to the website info, over ten million marketers tried Semrush. The most notable clients include Samsung, Forbes, and Quora.
- A huge keyword and backlink database
- Keyword research is detailed and comes with a convenient manager to organize terms
- Detailed on-page and entire website technical audits
- Ideal for teams and professionals looking for comprehensive all-around SEO tools
- It only offers information from the Google search engine
- Content editor is a bit simple and lacks some advanced functions
Our Semrush vs Surfer SEO review section will focus on two main areas – content tools and keyword research. Here’s how these features compare, as well as other details about these tools that are worth mentioning.
Content Tools Comparison
Content Editor is undoubtedly the strongest suite of Surfer SEO. You’ll easily find this tool in the main menu on the left, and once you open it, it’ll be necessary to create a file. You have two ways to approach this:
- Key phrase or topic. Enter the desired topic in the main field for new content.
- Import from an existing URL. It’s a better option if you already have a page in mind.
Depending on your preference, you can tailor the results to a particular market or use other available adjustments. Once everything is ready, click on Create and wait for a few seconds for the tool to do its job.
Our Semrush vs Surfer SEO review team notices that the tool is fast in setting everything up, and the editor design is intuitive. You’ll find three main tabs on the right – Guidelines, Outline, and Brief. The central section is the actual text editor.
Guidelines are the core section and contain the main metrics to follow when creating your content. Content Score is an authentic rating of the content you have ready. It shows a result from one to 100, including the targeted average and top scores based on competition analysis. As our Surfer SEO vs Semrush experts note, the tool only focuses on analyzing the competitors that rank best for the targeted phrase.
If you check the Content Structure section, you’ll find the following info:
- Word count. It’s the suggested range from the minimum to the maximum proposed.
- Headings. It shows how many headings and subheadings your article should contain.
- Paragraphs. The metric shows the minimum and maximum range of the paragraphs to include.
- Images. How many photos should you add to be competitive with the best content for that key phrase?
Next, we proceed to terms that are crucial for our Surfer SEO comparison. After analyzing the competition, the tool pulls up keywords from those pages. It adds them to this list and suggests how many times to include each phrase in the article. The more you add, the better your content score will be. It’s not always the most relevant choice, so try to use common sense when picking the keywords to insert or ignore.
It’s worth noting that you can pick which pages to compare against by entering the Settings menu. Our Semrush vs Surfer SEO experts mention this is an exciting option because you’ll ensure that the software doesn’t compare content to irrelevant pages or different content types.
The Outline section is there if you need help building the article structure. If you compare Semrush and Surfer SEO, you will notice that this tool provides the entire outline hassle-free. AI helps create titles and headings, and you can even check related questions. These are great if you need more subsections or prefer adding an FAQ section to the content.
AI will have your back if you are in a rush, but it doesn’t do miracles. You will need to check the outline and tailor it to your requirements. Once the outline is ready, you can use the Brief tab to add notes for the writer. Those can be details to include, a deadline to meet, or anything else you find relevant. The tab also contains links to competitor articles if the writer needs inspiration.
Content Audit and Plagiarism Checker
Once you create new content, it’s important to run the Plagiarism Checker. The tool is far from perfect, and if you use AI’s help heavily, you might encounter some problems with uniqueness. A plagiarism checker is there to ensure you remove any issues before publishing.
You can analyze existing content by using the Audit utility, which is also available in the main menu. It might not be a game changer when choosing Surfer SEO or Semrush, but it’s a useful addition. You need to have an existing URL ready and enter it in the field to run an audit. After the analysis, you will receive suggestions on what to do to improve the content.
Google Docs and WordPress integration are other features that you might find important in the Surfer SEO vs Semrush content tool showdown. It’s easy to connect Google Docs and share links with writers, but don’t forget that this requires installing the Surfer’s free Chrome extension.
Finally, if you have problems coming up with a new topic for the next article, you can use the Content Planner. It should show clusters of ideas based on the phrase you entered. That helps create multiple articles revolving around the same theme, which accelerates and optimizes setting up a content scheme for your website.
Content Marketing is an important section in the main menu, and that’s where you can access different tools we’ll mention in our Semrush comparison. It all starts with the Topic Research, which you can narrow down to a country, region, city, language, or the domain to find content on. The tool takes a few seconds to deliver results, but the feedback is useful. You’ll see numerous content ideas organized in cards that could be separate articles. The Mind Map is another nice touch, especially since you can check the headlines and related questions.
SEO Content Template is the next feature, which you can adjust by language, location, and the device used. After entering keywords, the tool will analyze the top ten rivals in Google search engine results to give recommendations on semantically related keywords, required text length and readability.
Can the Writing Assistant be the game-changer in our Semrush vs Surfer SEO showdown? It’s this tool’s core feature for content editing. It has a simple text editor in the middle, where you can add text, lists, images, or links. As for headings, you can only pick from H1 to H3, which might be limiting for large articles.
On the right, you’ll find SEO, readability, originality and tone of voice suggestions. They are nicely portrayed graphically, and there’s an overall Content Score, which is a metric that spans from one to ten.
Here’s what to expect in each section:
- Readability. The platform uses the Flesch reading-ease formula and shows the desired rating based on the topic and the content type written. The section also includes targeted word count and warns about potential title, heading, or content issues.
- SEO. Apart from the list of the recommended keywords to include, you’ll also receive link analysis to avoid broken links and alt attribute notes.
- Originality. If you have at least a Guru subscription, you can use a plagiarism checker.
- Tone of voice. The tool ensures you maintain a consistent tone of voice throughout the content.
Although the feature is in the beta version, it’s a nice touch that the platform highlights potential issues in the text.
ContentShake and On-Page Checker
It’s a new feature added by developers to help attract you to this tool when choosing Semrush or Surfer SEO, or any other tool. ContentShake leverages AI’s potential to help you create engaging and original content. From finding topics to writing and optimizing articles, you can use this toolkit to create great content.
However, ContentShake is an add-on, which means you pay extra. Although AI is quite powerful, it’s still nowhere close to having a human writer prepare your article.
It’s worth noting that Content Audit isn’t available anymore, but this tool offers an On-Page SEO Checker. It can be useful to analyze your pages, especially since it offers detailed reports with ideas about backlinks, technical improvements, and even content enhancement suggestions. Another thing to note in the Surfer SEO vs Semrush review is that this utility will sort all issues by priority, which makes it easier to know which problems to resolve first.
Surfer SEO and Semrush offer a similar content score metric, except the former platform has a range from 0 to 100, which makes it easier to distinguish content quality. The user interface seems more intuitive, and more extensive information is available. So, while Semrush has the basics covered, Surfer SEO is the clear winner here.
Identifying and analyzing keywords to add to your content is imperative to optimize search engine performance. Here’s how these tools can help in this department!
Keyword research is a complementary tool to the Content Editor, and it’s not as comprehensive as those offered by rivals. Despite that, it can do a decent job for most clients, so if you don’t need to dive too deep, this tool is simple and easy to use.
You begin by entering the initial phrase, and the platform will offer an extensive summary that includes topic clusters. It’s something you’ll find in both Semrush and Surfer SEO, but this tool has a unique approach that helps generate an entire content scheme containing multiple articles fitting the same theme. It’s easy to check the keywords inside each cluster, and the detailed review contains estimated keyword difficulty and monthly search volume.
The idea that Surfer SEO presents is that Google now uses advanced algorithms to figure out user intent after entering a specific search term. That’s why the results are based on how well content creators cover a particular topic. Topic clusters come in handy to cover a specific content theme to the smallest detail and offer the searcher everything they need in a single place.
As our Semrush vs Surfer SEO comparison team notes, this tool has an entire section dedicated to keyword research. It starts with the overview page, where you can enter up to 100 keywords to analyze. The platform claims it has the biggest database in the market, and it’s certainly larger than Surfer SEO.
The results will include the search volume and keyword difficulty rating in percentages. You can see if the keyword is trendy and receive competitive density and CPC estimations. The tool provides hundreds of keyword variations to help you find the right phrase, as well as questions and keyword clusters.
Keyword Magic tool helps you sort keywords by volume or other parameters or check for related and exact matches. Content marketing experts will appreciate the Keyword Manager. It helps collect and sort keywords into clusters – furthermore, it does this job automatically.
Another tool that can help when choosing Semrush or Surfer SEO is the Keyword Gap. The analysis compares your domain with up to five competitors. It then comes up with suggestions on keywords that you missed and competitors have, and you can use them to improve your rankings.
There’s no doubt that the winner of the Semrush vs Surfer SEO showdown in keyword research is Semrush. It has a huge database and offers detailed information on the searched and related phrases. Surfer SEO also does a decent job, and its dedication to topic clusters is noticeable, which is why many content creators will find it to be a suitable option at a more affordable price.
Comparison of other features
What about other tools and functions that Surfer SEO and Semrush have to offer?
The most intriguing extra with Surfer SEO is the SEO Audit add-on. It’s a tool that helps optimize old content and identify SEO errors. It analyzes different parameters such as the content length and number of headings but also missing backlinks, page speed, and meta tags structure. You will discover important phrases to include in the content, keep track of the competitors, and receive internal link suggestions.
Surfer SEO also offers two free tools. The first is the AI Outline Generator, which is great to harvest some ideas for your articles. The other free tool is the Keyword Surfer extension for Google Chrome. It will provide useful information like the search volume and the overlap score directly in the browser, which saves you time and effort or entering the actual platform to receive this info.
If you want to choose between Surfer SEO or Semrush, keep in mind that Semrush has various additional tools that contribute to your website visibility and performance. Rank tracking updates details every 24-48 hours, and the Google Analytics and Google Data Studio integrations ensure you easily collect info about organic and paid data.
Semrush also offers detailed backlink analysis, with statistics finely organized in charts and graphs. You can browse lost and new backlinks, see the referring domains, and check attributes like sponsored or follow/nofollow links.
The platform has entire sections dedicated to advertising, local SEO, and social media. You can easily update existing local listings and manage reviews, use PPC keyword tools, and track customer engagement on social media. Some aspects are available on Surfer SEO, but Semrush is undoubtedly more comprehensive and offers a bigger range of tools.
You can pick from four different subscription options offered by Surfer SEO, including the following:
- Essential. Two organizational seats and up to 15 articles monthly are available, along with 100 keyword research actions daily. You also get a plagiarism checker, shareable links, and integration with Google Docs, WordPress, and Jasper for $89 monthly.
- Advanced. It increases the number of monthly articles to 45, and you get five organizational seats. The price is $179 monthly
- Max. Apart from 90 articles monthly and ten organizational seats, you get 100 audits monthly, and 100 SERP analyses daily. Whitelabel reports and API are also available, costing $299 monthly.
- Custom. You get a package tailored to your needs, including personalized training, business review meetings, legal assistance, and premium support.
Paying annually can save you up to $600 or more. An important thing to note in the Surfer SEO pricing vs Semrush pricing comparison is that this tool doesn’t offer a free trial, but there’s a money-back guarantee offered for a week.
Semrush offers three default premium subscription plans:
- Pro. You can create up to five projects, track 500 keywords, and receive 10,000 results in a single report. Five scheduled SEO reports are available, as well as monitoring mobile rankings. The price is $129.95 monthly.
- Guru. The cost is $249.95 monthly, and you receive more credits for keyword research, but also historical data and a content marketing platform.
- Business. The subscription is priced at $499.95 monthly and includes unlimited calendars, more plagiarism checks, and all features that are part of the first two packages.
You can save up to 17% by paying annually, and the platform secures 7-day free trial for Pro and Guru subscriptions, as well as a 7-day money-back guarantee on all plans. Semrush free is also available, but it comes with very limited features.
There’s no clear winner of the Semrush pricing vs Surfer SEO pricing showdown. Considering that Semrush requires the Guru subscription to access content marketing tools, you get them much cheaper at Surfer SEO. But if you need all-around tools with extensive features and data, there’s no doubt that Semrush offers fantastic value for money.
Alternative to Surfer SEO and Semrush
What if the right tool for you isn’t any of the two mentioned in our Semrush vs Surfer SEO showdown? Perhaps it’s the third option, and that could be SE Ranking. Here’s why we love this tool!
SE Ranking is a comprehensive SEO platform that covers everything an individual, team, or agency might need. Its trademark feature is extensive rank tracking, with reliable results and regular updates. You can also use website audit, on-page checker and SERP analyzer, backlink monitor, keyword, and competitive research. Local marketing, as well as scheduled and white label reports, are also available.
Price-wise, SE Ranking offers a free trial that lasts for two weeks. Once that expires, you can sign up for the Essential plan at only $55 monthly, and there’s a discount if you pay annually. The content marketing tool is available as an add-on, but even with your essential subscription, it could be cheaper than the other options.
You get from 15 to 120 articles monthly with the content editor, an AI-powered tool to create top-quality website content. The platform analyzes competitors’ texts to help you create better ones. From creating suitable outlines to receiving keyword suggestions and checking content score and readability, this editor has your back during the entire text creation process, along with 25,000 to 250,000 AI words to use in the AI Writer and up to ten plagiarism checks. Integration with Google Docs and the Content Idea Finder are other useful features.
Choosing the winner of the Surfer SEO vs Semrush showdown is difficult because it all depends on what you need. If your focus is on planning, creating, and optimizing content, you’ll find Surfer SEO to be a better fit. It has a detailed content editor that you can customize to your requirements and integrate with Google Docs and WordPress. The AI-powered builder can be of assistance to create content that covers the topic to the smallest detail but also improves your existing pages.
Semrush is an all-around SEO platform that helps with all your SEO needs, including content marketing. If you need detailed reports about backlinks and rank tracking, and extensive information about researched keywords, this is the tool for you. It’s more expensive but also offers more value for that money, which is why you should consider it as the Semrush vs Surfer SEO showdown winner if you need a comprehensive SEO platform for your clients or websites.