Still, figuring out whether to go with Surfer SEO or not?
Well, this in-depth review of Surfer SEO will help you make the decision easy.
In this detailed Surfer review, I’ll cover detailed insights into:
- What is Surfer SEO? What’s the HYPE?
- What’s new in Surfer SEO 2.0
- How can Surfer SEO help?
- How Surfer SEO Works | All Modules (Interface & ease of use)
- Surfer SEO pricing explained
- Surfer SEO alternatives (how it stacks up against the competitors)
- Conclusion — Is it worth the hype?
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So without further ado, let’s get straight to the review.
Surfer SEO Review: In A Nutshell
As the name suggests, Surfer SEO is an on-page optimization tool that helps you create SEO content and optimize existing content for better rankings and visibility.
When you create or optimize content with Surfer it — analyzes 500+ on-page signals in one sweep. Some signals are TF-IDF, meta titles, alt tags, LSI, NLP, etc.
Interesting isn’t it?
Instead of relying on gut feeling and guessing — it provides data-driven SEO analysis of what it takes to rank higher on the SERPs.
What’s more, Surfer also has a robust keyword research module — which isn’t as reliable as other tools like Ahrefs and Semrush.
Later on in this review, we’ll go in-depth into all the tools and modules that this tool has got to offer.
What’s New In Surfer SEO?
Surfer SEO has recently introduced some useful tools as follows:
- Free Plan: Yes Surfer SEO has recently introduced a free plan that is best suited to marketers who are just starting. What’s more, you can add and track unlimited early-stage websites and get topic suggestions and optimize your content thoroughly.
- Content Planner: Yes, it’s a helpful module that helps you generate the complete content strategy for your website/blog. We have tried this module for DemandSage, and we found a helpful dozen topics & keywords. It’s helped create a content schedule — but not that effective!
- BRIEF — Create AI Content Outline: This module helps you create an article outline in minutes. I have used this tool generates the content outline. Yes, it was helpful. Yes, Surfer has partnered with Jasper AI to help you create outlines on the go. For assigning DemandSage content writers, we use this module to create the outline and assign it to writers. This AI content outline features works similar to Frase.io — an alternative to Surfer SEO.
So these are a few new modules that Surfer has introduced recently. Well, I’ll be soon explaining these modules in this detailed review.
Surfer SEO Modules Explained (Ease of Use & Interface)
Surfer SEO comes with different modules:
- Content Editor
- SERP Analyzer
- Keyword Research
- Content Planner
Here we’re going to explain all these modules that Surfer SEO has got to offer. Let’s first start with the Surfer SERP Analyzer.
Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer— Detailed Breakdown
To be straight, the SERP analyzer tool is the core tool of Surfer.
For example, this SEO tool gives you a detailed breakdown of the SERPs for a given keyword. This module helps you find the correlation between the SERP results’ positions and the on-page factors.
To get started, you need to enter a target keyword for which you want to analyze the SERP. For example, we’re going to take the example of the keyword “Spotify Premium Free Trial.”
Once the Surfer SERP analyzer fetches the data, it will show up details:
- Average word count (the content length for the keyword)
- Keywords density and the term frequency
- Usage of the long tail and partial match keyword
- Questions related to the keyword
- Page Speed
- Time To First Byte
- Structured data
- Hidden Content
- No links pointing to the top-ranking competitors
- Meta-title, meta descriptions, image alt tags,
- Search visibility — for URLs and domains
- Backlinks — for domains and URLs.
There are other aspects, but we’re not listing all of them here. Sometimes, it feels like Surfer provides more data than other on-page SEO tools available. All this data comes under Correlational SEO.
Yes, Surfer SEO goes into much more detail, and it also provides some important data metrics such as — what’s the average word count or the content length of the ranking pages have.
Other important aspects like the number of H2 tags used in the ranking pages. What’s enticing, it also provides backlinks data such as — how many links the first page results have. You can use this tool to optimize your existing content.
The majority of the data that Surfer offers is useful. For example, let’s say you want to write about the topic — “Spotify Stats“. You will get to know the average number of words, the number of ranked keywords, content structure — title length, body, paragraphs, titles, etc headings used, and so on.
All in all, you will get detailed data and insights for all the on-page factors for a given keyword and the ranking pages.
Sometimes, we also feel like — it’s overwhelming to deal with so much data!
Yes, it is! For example, hidden content on a page doesn’t have to do anything with on-page and not even the rankings. So what’s the use of the data in there.
Overall, we would say the Surfer’s SERP analyzer is useful — but upto some extent. Some of the data it offers is not’ useful for all the users, nor does it contributes to rankings or better on-page SEO optimization. So we would say remove some unnecessary data from the SERP analyzer to make the user interface easy and accessible for users.
Surfer SEO Content Editor: TF-IDF (LSI Keywords Stuffing)
The idea behind the content editor is to help you create well-optimized content for search engines. What’s more, the content editor also helps you outline your content which can be shared with writers.
Note: Surfer SEO has now introduced BRIEF, an AI content outline for content outlines. Yes, they use AI to create outlines; more precisely, they have partnered with Jasper (Formerly Jarvis) to create the outlines on the go.
Coming to the content editor of Surfer, we would say — it’s pretty useful. To get started with Content Editor, you need to enter the search term you want to create the content.
For example, we took the keyword “Grammarly vs ProwritingAid” For this keyword, the Content Editor of Surfer will share more detailed information such as:
- Content Score out of 100 — how well content is optimized.
- Content Structure — words, headings, paragraphs, images.
- LSI keywords — which you need to optimize for
Speaking with our experience, Content Editor is useful, and it helps. The best thing, the LSI keywords suggestions are super helpful.
To be honest, Surfer SEO’s content editor asks you to use particular LSI terms a certain number of times — which isn’t feasible often. So you need to make sure you’re also optimizing your content for humans and not just for search engines by including key SEO elements.
To make sure your content is up to mark and best among the top-ranking competitors, you can also make use of “Page to Include” This feature helps you choose and compare your content against ranking competitors of your choice.
Yes, this is useful, but nowadays, every SEO tool uses this module to scrape top-ranking competitors’ data easily. Not a big deal, though!
Coming to other aspects like the content editor of Surfer, you can find the interface is pretty easy. Such as creating the content on Google Docs and MS Word or any other word processing interface.
You have the option to copy-paste your written content to the dashboard or even write the content on the Surfer Content Editor. Well, you can see how many times you have used any particular LSI terms or phrases, the content Score on the right side, the number of words, headings, and so on. Based on the suggestion, you can optimize your content.
What’s more, there is one exciting thing about the Content Editor is it even suggests — questions or headings you can cover. Yes, they pull the question data from Google People Also Ask, and it’s useful.
Pro Tip #1: How Surfer Content Editor Helped DemandSage
Yes, our writers are done writing content for DemandSage; we use the content editor to make sure the content is well optimized. This way, we have an extra edge on the search results for better results and visibility.
Pro Tip #2: How It Helped In Creating & Sharing Content Outline
Yes, now we have started to create outlines using the Content Editors for our writers. This removed the hassle of creating the outlines manually and sharing them with writers.
Surfer SEO Keyword Research
We don’t rely much on Surfer to carry out keyword research to be straightforward. The reason is we have been using Ahrefs and Semrush for years, and this is the best keyword research tool.
Although to help you better understand Surfers’ keyword research module, we tested it for three months for basic keyword research.
You still need to enter a phrase or a seed keyword to start off. It works pretty much the same as any other keyword research tool. Once you enter the seed keyword, it will show up necessary details and other keyword suggestions.
The new feature of the Surfer’s Keyword Research Module is the — SERP similarity. This metric gives you an idea of how the seed keyword overlaps with suggested keywords (which is often useful).
To help you get a clear idea, let’s say you have entered a keyword called “sampleA” as your seed keyword. Then the pages which rank for the seed keyword “SampleA” also rank for other related keywords like “SampleB” This is where the “SampleB” keyword will also have a similar SERP similarity.
Yes, these features seem fancy, but it’s like optimizing your content or page for different similar long-tail variations for better visibility. Overall the Surfer Keyword Research modules are reliable for — bloggers, startups, small businesses.
The downside of the Surfer keyword research module is that — there isn’t any keyword difficulty score available. Because of this, you won’t decide which keyword you should go for, depending on its difficulty.
What’s New — Surfer SEO Keyword Extension!
Yes, Surfer also provides a reliable Surfer Keyword extension that you can install in your Chrome browser.
It comes in handy while checking keywords and getting useful data and metrics. Some of our team members have installed the Keyword Surfer which is a Google Chrome extension to do basic keyword research.
Well, you can also give Surfer Keyword Surfer a try — it’s free to use.
Surfer SEO Content Planner
Yes, the Content Planner of Surfer toolkit is useful in many aspects. Let’s say you want to rank for super competitive keywords like “Best Chrome Extensions”. To break to the first page, your website needs topical relevance and enough supportive content (cluster pages) to support the main content (pillar page).
This is where the Content Planner of Surfer comes into play. It gives different cluster topics for the main topic which you enter. The best, it provides you with different filters such as — intent, keyword, search volume, and content score to filter the list.
What’s more, you can also connect your domain to the Content Planner to find more relevant content keywords for your existing pillar pages. Once you connect your domain, it will pull Google Search Console data and give more relevant keyword ideas.
To be honest, we have found this feature to be helpful, and we’re using it for DemandSage topic clusters. And trust us — it works like a charm!
With the icing on the cake, you can also export the content planner keywords to a CSV file which you use later.
Surfer SEO Audit — Optimize Existing Pages Of Your Website/Blog
The Audit tool of Surfer is useful, and it helps you optimize the existing pages of your website easily.
To get started, you need to enter the URL you want to optimize and then enter the target keyword. Once you’re done entering these details, you need to choose a country for which you want to optimize the page; most of the time, we leave it for the US because they are our target audience. Lastly, click on the “Create Audit” button.
Now, this is where the magic happens; it will show you the detailed analysis of the URL you have entered. It will perform a similar keyword analysis right to the SERP analyzer, and it provides useful data given below:
- LSI keywords and phrases you’re missing
- Word count for — overall content, heading, bolded word count. And also, the suggested ranges
- Suggestions on enough headings and images
- Page load time and the time to the first byte
- Meta title and meta description suggestions
Sharing our experience, I would say don’t bluntly follow everything. Remember, search intent is everything, and try to solve users’ intent with your content.
Yes, you can use the audit feature to easily cover up these gaps that are major ranking factors — missing common backlinks, LSI keyword, page load time, the missing data points, meta title, and meta description suggestions. This is super useful!
So this complete Surfer toolkit review, we hope you got detailed insights into how these modules work and how they can help you.
Let’s move to other important aspects like pricing and others.
Surfer SEO’s Public Roadmap
Surfer SEO has shared a public roadmap with its users on Trello, where you can see what is currently in development and what are the future plans of Surfer SEO. They also show what they’ve released recently and how it is going to help you. Recently they released Content Editor 2.0, the beta version of the Content Planner, a WordPress plugin for Content Editor, and Tags for all created queries.
They are also working on keyword search intent, a user-friendly dashboard for better management, a tool for featured snippets optimization, a content planner for domain, audit 2.0, and an extended number of languages where NLP is available.
Surfer SEO Pricing Reviewed
Here’s a detailed breakdown of Surfer SEO pricing. Yes, the pricing plans of Surfer are flexible and affordable compared to other tools available.
Basic: Suitable for freelance SEO and bloggers
Yes, the monthly pricing of the basic plan costs $59/month, or you’ll get it for $49/month — when paid annually. The basic plan comes with 10 Content Editors, 20 Audits, Free NLP for the first month.
Pro: Most Popular Plan (We Use This Plan for DemandSage)
The Pro plan costs $119/month for monthly pricing, or you’ll get it for $99/month when paid yearly. The pro plan of Surfer comes with 30 content editors, along with 60 content audits per month. What’s more, you will also get access to NLP, and you can invite three team members to use the Surfer access.
Business: Suitable for SEO Agencies
The business plan costs, or you will get it for $199/month when paid yearly. Yes, the business plan comes with 70 content editors, 140 audits, and some NLP credits. You can also invite ten team members, send
Note: Surfer comes with a seven days money-back guarantee. Somehow if these seven days aren’t sufficient to get familiar with Surfer, you can drop an email to the Surfer team — they will extend the money-back guarantee to thirty days.
How’s Surfer Pricing Compared to Other Tools Available?
Surfer isn’t comparable to pioneer tools like Ahrefs, Semrush, and Mangools. They are the one-stop SEO toolkit, whereas Surfer is for the on-page optimization toolkit.
However, several direct competitors to Surfer like Frase, Page Optimizer Pro, and Clearscope.
I’m adding a table to compare the pricing of Surfer with some of its competitors available.
|Surfer SEO||Clearscope||Page Optimizer Pro|
|Features Limitations*||Features Limitations*||Features Limitations*|
As you can see, every tool has a different pricing structure. They used to offer free trial but they have discontinued it a long time ago. What’s more, we’ll be rolling out a detailed comparison of these tools on DemandSage.
Surfer SEO Review: Pros & Cons
Here are the benefits & drawbacks of Surfer SEO.
- It uses over 500 ranking metrics to analyze your content.
- Gives you relevant keyword suggestions to add to your content
- Spy on your competitors using the SERP analyzer tool
- Google docs integration which allows you to write an SEO optimized content
- Audit your content within minutes not hours
- Find profitable link-building opportunities
- Sometimes suggestions can be irrelevant
- Can be overwhelming for beginners
- Does not offer NLP queries in the base plan
Surfer SEO Alternative | How does it compare to other tools?
Yes, several content optimization tools offer the same features as Surfer. We’re listing some of the direct competitors to Surfer here. Here we have listed some of the top Surfer SEO alternatives that you should check.
Page Optimizer Pro — Surfer SEO vs POP
POP vs Surfer SEO is one of the biggest queries of SEOs out there. Both the tools come with nearly the same features, such as — content optimization, NLP, TF-IDF, etc. Yes, as an SEO editor at DemandSage, I have used both tools — both offer value.
Here’s the detailed Page Optimizer Pro review.
For many aspects like ease of use and integrations, we would say Surfer is the clear winner without a doubt. When we compare the pricing plans of Page Optimizer Pro with Surfer SEO, I would say — POP is way affordable compared to Surfer.
For a detailed comparison, we would say — stick around; we’ll soon make a detailed comparison of Page Optimizer Pro vs Surfer SEO.
Frase — Frase vs Surfer SEO
Yes, we have already done a detailed comparison of Frase vs Surfer SEO here.
Frase is another tool available out there just like Surfer. Both tools have got a lot of common features. Such as both the tools allow you to create AI-based Content Outlines and help you optimize your content for better SEO scores.
When it comes to content optimization, Surfer SEO is the clear winner. On the other hand, when it comes to creating quick AI-powered content outlines — Frase.io is the clear winner.
Clearscope — Clearscope vs Surfer SEO
To be honest, Surfer is nowhere close to Clearscope. The thing is, Clearscope is expensive, but it’s worth every single penny you invest. Yes, if you have a budget of paying $350 monthly, you can get started with Clearscope. You can check some of the best Clearscope alternatives here.
However, I would say simply stick to Surfer SEO which would also do the work. And yes, Surfer SEO is way more affordable than Clearscope, starting at $59/month.
Is Surfer SEO Worth It: DemandSage Verdict?
Overall, using Surfer SEO for years for many of our projects — we would say it’s worth a try.
Note one thing; it’s not the perfect thing that guarantees #1 rankings on Google. However, it will help you improve the on-page optimization of your website pages. And yes, it will also help you to optimize your content giving better results on organic search results.
Surfer SEO Review Conclusion
Surfer SEO is the best choice for SEOs looking to enhance their on-page SEO through data-driven analysis tools starting at $49/month. I use Surfer SEO to optimize all my blog posts and see visible results through it. I recommend you try the Surfer toolkit for your websites and see yourself.
I have seen visible results from Surfer and you should too give it a shot. After using Surfer SEO, we would guarantee you that you won’t regret using this tool.
Now we would like to hear from you — what you have to say.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
FAQs On Surfer SEO
The main goal of Surfer is to help you optimize your pages and achieve your ranking goals. Surfer offers different tools to optimize your content where it analyzes the competitors for specific search terms and gives you suggestions based on their page analysis.
Surfer offers a 7-day money-back guarantee. If you’re still not satisfied with it then you can drop an email to the support team and ask them to increase your money-back guarantee up to 30 days.
If you are a freelance content writer then we would suggest you to go with Surfer’s basic plan which will give you 10 credits for content editor every month which will be enough for you. If you have more requirement than that then you can always opt for the Pro plan.
NLP means Natural Language Processing and these are relevant words & phrases that Surfer suggests you should use in your content to show Google that your content is relevant to your main keyword. It will also help you in ranking higher on Google.
Yes, Surfer SEO has recently introduced a free plan which helps you to use Surfer SEO for FREE with limited features. However, if you wanna access to all the premium features you should check out the premium plans.
Yes, if you choose the annual plans on Surfer then you can get up to 17% off on your purchase instantly.
Yes, Jasper AI works really with Surfer SEO. Because of Jasper’s Surfer SEO integration, you can use its AI-based algorithm to write SEO-optimized content for you in just a few minutes.