Surfer Vs Clearscope

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Surfer vs Clearscope – which SEO content writing software is the best choice for you and your business?

Surfer SEO and Clearscope IO are both powerful and effective SEO optimization writing tools, that much is clear. But when it comes to which one does the best job at helping you create the content you need for your blog or your business, things become a little more opaque, at least on the surface.

In this article, we’ll be taking a good look at both Surfer and Clearscope. We’ll compare the features each of them comes with, as well as weigh up the pros and cons of each. Finally, we’ll draw a conclusion as to which of the two SEO tools has the greatest scope for helping you write SEO-heavy content that is guaranteed to turn up in search engines.

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How a content optimization tool like Surfer or Clearscope can help you appear in search engines

There are many reasons why you should be using content optimization tools in your writing business. It doesn’t matter whether you are a blogger, a copywriter, a marketer or a business owner – what gets your product or service to the top of Google and other search engines is well-written, SEO-rich content.

Without traffic to your website or product, you are guaranteed to not to make any conversions or sales. If you’re here, it means you probably know that the way to survive and thrive in today’s digital space is to turn out content that appears at the top of search engines and therefore receives the lion’s share of the traffic. By appearing at the top of the organic search results in Google, you also eliminate the need to pay to get in front of an audience.

To those who are unfamiliar with content optimization tools, writing content that appears at the top of Google and other search engines can seem like a mystery, a game of chance, rather than what it actually is – a process you can take apart and understand, with the help of tools like Surfer SEO or Clearscope IO.

To put it simply, what a content optimization tool does is break down what makes a written content work. In the content editor inside both Surfer and Clearscope, you’ll be able to see all sorts of metrics, such as the ideal word count for the piece you are writing, keyword suggestions, detailed content briefs and more. The editor also gives you a complete content score, so that you know, before posting it, whether or not what you’ve written is a viable piece of content.

Being able to keep an eye on the metrics inside the editor while you’re writing enables you to craft exactly the article people are looking for when they put any given keyword into Google. The result is a fully optimized piece of content, every time.

When it comes to blog post creation, a search engine optimization tool like Surfer or Clearscope is able to do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, from doing the keyword research to generating a content brief in a matter of seconds. Not only do SEO tools eliminate a lot of the guesswork and human error that goes into writing blog posts manually, they are also guaranteed to save you unspeakable amounts of time that you would otherwise have to spend researching.

Surfer SEO

Surfer SEO is one of the most powerful and easy-to-use SEO tools on the market today.

Surfer brands itself as a combined Content Editor and SERP analyzer tool, and it delivers what it promises. Surfer’s unique selling point is that its editor collects and analyzes over 500 data points for whichever keyword you want to write content around, and synthezise them into one simple interface, thereby completely eliminating the need for you to undertake any research manually in preparation for writing your piece.

There is a gamification element to Surfer, as the content score measurer at the top of the editor is designed like a half-circular thermometer going from red to orange to green as a reflection of your growing word count and use of the correct keywords. The suggested keywords themselves are highlighted in red, orange or green depending on whether you have used them the appropriate amount of times. As a result, Surfer makes the writing process seem fun, rather than just another dry task to be ticked off your to-do-list.

Surfer SEO is also able to help you pick apart and understand what makes the top pages that are currently ranking for your keyword rise to the top of the Google search engine. This allows you to focus fully on targeting the right keywords for the niche you’re writing in.

Surfer tools and features

Surfer SEO comes with a truly impressive and useful range of features and tools, all gathered in the same convenient place.

Here, let us take a look at what you can expect to find when you log into Surfer.

SERP analyzer

When Surfer SEO first launched, it was as a straight-forward analyzer tool. Plenty of other features have been added since then, but the SERP analyzer is still Surfer’s primary selling point and what sets it apart from just about every other content optimization tool out there.

As touched on earlier, Surfer SEO’s SERP analyzer collects and crunches more than 500 data points for any given keyword you want to write a piece of content for. Using the analyzer tool is delightfully simple – all you need to do is put in the target keyword of your choice and sit back while the analyzer tool generates a content brief in seconds, complete with keyword suggestions and everything else you need for content creation and optimization.

These are the content-based ranking factors that the analyzer takes into consideration when generating your analysis and creating your outline:

Word count

The suggested word count is shown and tracked in the box just below the meter measuring the overall content. You are never given a precise number, but rather an ideal word range to stick to – for example, 3,518-4,046 words.

The word count tallies up your writing, word for word, as you go. This makes it incredibly easy to keep an eye on how much you have written and how much you have left to write, while you’re writing. If you are someone who finds it difficult to pace yourself while writing, you are going to find this feature incredibly helpful.


In the box next to the word count, headings are tracked in a similar fashion. Again, Surfer never tells you exactly how many headings to use in your blog post, but gives you a suggested range.

The content editor even suggests the ideal number of paragraphs and images to use in your blog post.


Another important metric Surfer’s SERP analyzer takes into consideration is headings, or title tags. Here, Surfer gets specific by suggesting to you exactly which headings to include in the piece of content you are working on. Usually, Surfer suggests a handful of headings to use.

Meta descriptions

Surfer also suggests which target keywords you should aim to incorporate in your writing. The overall content score depends very much on you using the suggested keywords the suggested number of times. As you go along, weaving the target keywords into your written piece, they will turn first orange and then green to show you that you have used them the appropriate number of times.

NLP entities and sentiment

The analyzer tool gives you a detailed overview over the optimal NLP entities and sentiments to use in your blog post – fortunately, they are largely the same as the target keywords for your meta descriptions, meaning that you do not necessarily need to keep an eye on them specifically while writing.

Advanced ranking factors

On top of all of these metrics, Surfer SEO even gives you a fine-grained, detailed technical analysis of your writing including page speed, structured data, hidden content, content above the fold and backlinks.

These advanced metrics may not be of interest to everyone – some of us just want to be able to write great, SEO-rich content. But if you would like to get a very detailed understanding of the content you are producing, all of these additional metrics are excellent to have.

Surfer’s SERP analyzer does more than allow you to pour over the content data points of your top-ranking competitor sites, it also enables you to spot when it isn’t the quality of your content that is holding you back, but rather a technical issue, like for example a bad backlink. In other words, Surfer’s analyzer doesn’t stop at helping you write great content, it also brings to your attention when other factors are impacting your progress.

Content editor

The content editor is an incredibly important feature of any SEO tool, so how does Surfer SEO’s content editor hold up against the competition?

As you would expect from Surfer, its content editor is both sleek and highly intuitive, and despite all of the advanced data it includes and tracks, its layout is clean and simple.

Surfer SEO utilizes artificial intelligence in order to collect data on how frequently your competitor sites for any given keyword make use of said keyword, as well as other SEO-rich keywords. Not only does this prevent irrelevant keywords from showing up in the editor, it also allows you to pick and choose which of the relevant keywords you want to use in the piece of content you are working on.

You can also use the content editor to analyse content that you have previously posted. The way to do this is to copy and paste your existing blog post into the editor and allow Surfer to give you a SEO audit by suggesting exactly how many words your content should be, which keywords you should use and so on.While you edit your text, you can see your content score change in real time, which is incredibly satisfying.

In other words, if you already have a blog or website filled with content you created before you knew about or started using a content optimization tool, you can use Surfer to optimize content and make the most of work you have already put in.

Another great thing to know about Surfer’s content editor is that it allows you to collaborate with external writers by giving them access to the document. What’s more, Surfer’s editor integrates with both WordPress and Google Docs, so you have plenty of options for creating content in a way that suits you.

All in all it’s fair to say that Surfer SEO’s editor is comparable to those you get from more expenive SEO tools, and that the interface offers a sleek and seamless content writing and optimization process.

Chrome extension

Surfer SEO has a Chrome extension available for those who want to view ranking data in their search results. The Chrome extension is a very useful feature if you are in the research phase of content creation and are formulating your content strategy.

Surfer pros

As you’re no doubt already able to tell, Surfer SEO comes with some incredible upsides. Let us go over the highlights.

Solid content editor with collaborative features

Surfer’s powerful yet user-friendly content editor is, beyond a doubt, one of the software’s most compelling selling points.

By collecting, analysing and synthesising an incredible amount of data in one place, Surfer’s editor makes writing and optimizing content as easy as it could possibly be. The gamification element even makes the process more enjoyable. The collaborative features and the ability to integrate Surfer with WordPress and Google docs are also worth highlighting.

Extensive data collection

Surfer SEO gives you a lot of bang for your buck when it comes to the sheer amount of data that this SEO tool presents you with. Thankfully, it is all presented in a way that is simple and easy to understand. After all, data is no good to you if it is so opaque that you can’t make use of it.

Easy to use

One of the things to really recommend Surfer SEO is how smooth and easy it is to use. If there is one content optimization software that makes the content creation process frictionless and enjoyable, Surfer SEO is it.

Surfer cons

Despite being very heavy on the pro side, Surfer is not without its downsides. Let us take an honest look at them here.

Lacks SEO testing platform

Unfortunately, Surfer doesn’t have a built-in SEO testing platform, which would otherwise really make the software shine and take its performance to another level. In other words, you will have to test your SEO content elsewhere – Google Search Console is probably your best option.

No free trial

If you are like most people contemplating signing up for a new software, you would like to try before you buy. Unfortunately, Surfer SEO offers no free trial. They do, however, have a money back guarantee, in case you don’t get what you want out of Surfer upon signing up.

The data isn’t always spot on

Artificial intelligence still has a long way to go, and as a result, some of the data collected by Surfer can sometimes be a little off. For example, the editor might suggest that you use 84 headings in a 1,500 word piece of content, which obviously makes no sense.

Surfer pricing and subscription options

Now that we have gone over Surfer SEO in rather a lot of detail, you are no doubt wondering what all of this is going to cost you.

Well, I’ll tell you. Surfer SEO offers three different subscription options – Basic, Pro and Business. All three plans give you access to the editor and the SERP analyzer. All three plans also allow you to save 17% if you pay annually, and are backed by Surfer’s 7-day money back guarantee.


Surfer SEO’s Basic plan is priced at $49/month. It gives you 10 content editors, 20 audits, and free NLP for the first month (After the first month, you will have to pay for the NLP feature out of pocket if you want to use it).


Surfer’s Pro plan is the software’s most popular and is priced at $99/month. The Pro plan taps you into 30 content editors, 60 audits, unlimited NLP and the ability to invite up to 3 team members so you can share the workload.


Surfer’s Business plan costs $199/month and gives you 70 content editors, 140 audits, unlimited NLP, the ability to invite up to 10 team members, white labelling and API.

For those who might want even more, Surfer SEO offer custom plans. To find out more about those, reach out to Surfer’s sales team.


Now that we have looked at Surfer , it is time for us to take an equally fine-grained lens to Clearscope IO.

The first difference you will notice between Surfer and Clearscope is that Clearscope has a much more defined offering than Surfer does, in the form of its versatile and powerful content editor.

Using IBM Watson technology, Clearscope is able to gather advanced data on the keywords and NLP entities that the top-ranking sites are using to stay at the top of organic search results in Google. The analysis that Clearscope’s editor provides you with enables you to measure your own written content against that of your competitors. Armed with this insight you are then able to craft content that is better suited to what both people and search engines are looking for.

Clearscope tools and features

As already mentioned, Clearscope IO relies on one single (but rather outstanding) feature, namely its content editor. Let us take a look at what it measures and what it does.

Content editor

Clearscope IO’s content editor is an incredibly powerful keyword research and content optimization tool.

All you have to do to get started is enter the seed keyword that you want to create content around, and then sit back and let Clearscope IO lay the groundwork for an outstanding piece of written content. Clearscope’s editor gathers and crunches all of the data you need to be able to write an article that is chock-full of relevant and useful content guaranteed to rise to the top of search engines.

The data that Clearscope IO’s content editor gives you includes:

Content grade

Clearscope’s content grade helps you keep track of how well you are doing while you’re writing. The highest content score it is possible to get is A+, though the perfect score is often difficult to achieve.

Word count

To keep your content on track, Clearscope IO also tells you the average word count for similar pieces to the one you are working on. The word count is shown in the bar immediately underneath the content grade which makes it easy to keep an eye on it while you’re working.


Clearscope IO keeps you clued in as to the readability of your content. For example, Clearscope might indicate that the piece of writing you are working on reads at an 8-9th grade level. This gives you a good idea about whether or not you are either oversimplifying or overcomplicating what you are trying to put across.

Monthly search volume

Clearscope’s editor also shows you how many times any given keywords have been searched for in the last month, so that you never run the risk of creating content that is woefully out of date.

Top competitor content

Clearscope IO analyzes the top ranking pages for your chosen keyword so you can see how the content on your own blog or website measures up against the competition.

Relevant term suggestions

Much like Surfer SEO, Clearscope IO suggests relevant terms and keywords to weave into your content for a more powerful result.

Clearscope pros

Now that we have gone over Clearscope IO’s key features, it is time to weigh up the pros and cons against each other. We’ll start with the pros.

Solid content editor

Just like Surfer’s content editor, what Clearscope has to offer in this department is absolutely solid. Clearscope’s editor does a lot of the tedious work and the heavy lifting for you, by crunching the data scraped from top ranking articles from competitor sites and laying out a content brief that shows you exactly what to put into your content in order to make it shine.

Easy to use

Clearscope’s user interface is wonderfully intuitive and user friendly.

Despite all of the complex metrics and data it presents you with, navigating the software is as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Integrates with WordPress and Google Docs

One of Clearscope’s real strenghts is that, unlike most other SEO tools, Clearscope integrates seamlessly with both WordPress and Google Docs, so if you prefer typing your optimized content directly into either of these platforms, you can.

Clearscope cons

Despite being a wonderful content optimization and keyword research tool, Clearscope is not entirely free from cons. Let’s take an honest look at them here.

Lacks collaborative features

Disappointingly, Clearscope IO doesn’t offer any collaboration tools.

Not everyone is going to miss the ability to collaborate, but if you want to bring other team members on board in order to share the workload, you might want to consider Surfer SEO a better alternative.

Lacks some SEO data

While Clearscope, undeniably, gathers and crunches a lot of data and does some solid keyword research for you, it lacks some of the more fine-grained SEO data you might want your content optimization tool to deliver.

A couple of examples include advanced ranking factors like page speed, structured data, hidden content and backlinks.

Lacks SEO testing feature

Just like Surfer, Clearscope lacks an integrated SEO testing feature, which means you are left with no other option than to test elsewhere, such as in Google Search Console or Google Analytics.

No free trial

Most of us like to be able to try a new piece of software on for size before we commit to a subscription, but Clearscope unfortunately doesn’t offer a free trial. Your best bet is to do your research beforehand and then signing up, hoping that Clearscope is going to live up to your expectations.

Clearscope pricing and subscription options

Clearscope is consistent when it comes to keeping thins simple, and offers just three different subscription options – Essentials, Professional and Enterprise.


Clearscope’s Essentals plan is priced at $170/month, which gives you access to 20 report credits, 1 user seat, Google Docs and WordPress integrations and support in five different languages.


If the Essentials plan isn’t big enough for what you require, the next step up is the Professional plan, priced at $350/month.

The Professional plan taps you into over fifty report credits, three or more user seats and Clearscope’s powerful keyword research tool.


The Enterprise option is for those who want even more out of their Clearscope IO subscription.

The Enterprise plan is tailor-made to suit the content optimization needs of your business and comes with custom pricing. The Enterprise plan gives you access to all of the same features as the Professional plan, but with custom credits and user seats, custom Google TLDs and API access.

Surfer vs Clearscope Q & A

We have placed both Surfer SEO and Clearscope IO under the microscope, but even so you might still be left with some questions or doubts. Hopefully, you’ll find the answers you are looking for here.

How much does Clearscope cost?

A Clearscope IO subscription starts at $170/month for the Essentials plan.

If you want to unlock more report credits and user seats than what the Essential plan has to offer, your options include upgrading to the Professional plan or reaching out to the Clearscope team for custom pricing on an Enterprise plan.

What is MarketMuse?

Like Surfer and Clearscope, MarketMuse is a keyword research and search engine optimization tool, developed to help you craft content that rises to the top of Google and other search engines in order to capture organic traffic.

What is Clearscope IO?

Clearscope IO is a keyword research and SEO optimizaiton tool that can help you create exactly the articles and other pieces of written content that people are searching for in Google.

Clearscope’s editor gathers data from all of the top raking sites in Google in order to create a content brief for you to follow which can include your target keyword and related keywords, as well as information about search volume and suggested word count.

In short, Clearscope IO generates content briefs for you to follow in order to end up with the best piece of SEO-rich written content, so that every time you sit down to write an article or a landing page you are stacking the odds of capturing organic traffic in your favour, rather than taking a shot at the mist.

What is Surfer Content Editor?

Surfer’s editor is one of Surfer SEO’s best features and most unique selling points. Surfer’s editor uses artificial intelligence to gather data from the sites that are already ranking highest in Google for the search term you want to create content for. It then generates a content brief for you to follow which includes suggest word count, headings, paragraps, NLP properties and more.

Surfer’s editor shows you your content score at the top of the editor while you are working – this way, it is very easy for you to stay on track and craft a spectacular piece of content.

Surfer vs Clearscope – do we have a winner?

If you are in the digital marketing, blogging or freelance space and you are not already leveraging a SEO tool like Surfer or Clearscope, you are currently missing out on a great opportunity.

Softwares like Surfer and Clearscope make it possible to write a great piece of content – every time. And this is exactly what you need if you want your content to rise to top of Google where it can capture organic traffic.

Surfer and Clearscope are, in many ways, comparable. However, Surfer SEO is the winner since it gives you everything you need to write wining content, at a smaller price tag.

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