Surfer SEO Review: An In-Depth Analysis and Evaluation

Table of contents

Do you find yourself struggling with the complexities of content creation and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? In the constantly changing landscape of search engines, this is natural.

This is why we are reviewing one of the most popular SEO tools to help you make an informed decision – Surfer SEO.

When it comes to creating effective content that not only engages but also ranks high in search results, Surfer SEO is a powerful solution. This analysis will explore the features that make Surfer SEO a game-changer, including its innovative Content Editor and AI-driven keyword research.

Throughout this exploration, we will draw insights from user experiences and detailed tutorials to demonstrate how Surfer SEO can be the missing link in your SEO strategy. We will also talk about an alternative solution for Surfer SEO that you can get started with at no cost.

Let's get started.

Table Of Contents

What is Surfer SEO?

Surfer SEO is a cloud-based on-page optimization tool that revolutionizes how websites are fine-tuned for search engine performance. It is designed to cater to the intricacies of modern digital marketing.

Surfer SEO offers a suite of powerful features that collectively contribute to creating, optimizing, and improving website content.

How does Surfer SEO work?

Surfer SEO employs advanced algorithms and analysis techniques to optimize on-page content for improved search engine rankings. Here's an in-depth look at how Surfer SEO works:

  1. Content Analysis: Surfer SEO conducts a thorough content analysis by evaluating various on-page SEO factors. It assesses keyword density, relevance, and structure to understand how well the content aligns with SEO best practices.
  2. AI-driven Insights: Surfer SEO uses artificial intelligence to analyze top-ranking pages for specific keywords. This process generates actionable insights to guide users in optimizing their content to meet the criteria that search engines favor.
  3. Keyword Density Significance: Surfer SEO emphasizes the importance of keyword density. By analyzing the top pages in search results, it identifies related terms used by content competitors most frequently. This insight helps users understand and incorporate relevant keywords effectively.
  4. Continuous Evolution: The platform evolves its algorithms for content analysis. The new algorithmic models, such as the one introduced for content analysis, incorporate advanced metrics based on big data. This ensures that Surfer SEO stays at the forefront of SEO strategies.

How does Surfer AI Take Data from Search Engines?

Surfer AI utilizes natural language processing (NLP) models to extract valuable insights for content optimization from top Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). Here's a more detailed explanation of how Surfer AI collects data from search engines:

  1. Leveraging NLP models: Surfer AI employs advanced NLP models, either through Google's NLP API or its proprietary NLP engine, depending on the language of the query. These models are designed to understand the nuances of language, allowing Surfer AI to extract relevant information about entities and sentiment from search engine results.
  2. Analysis of SERPs: The tool analyzes the top-ranking pages on SERPs, examining keyword usage, content structure, and relevance. Surfer AI gains valuable insights into the patterns and elements contributing to their high rankings by comprehensively studying these pages.
  3. Content optimization recommendations: Surfer AI provides content optimization recommendations based on the data extracted from SERPs. These suggestions help users create content that aligns with the preferences of search engines, aiming for improved visibility and higher rankings.

How to Use Surfer SEO?

Surfer SEO offers a versatile set of tools within a user-friendly interface, empowering users to enhance their SEO strategies effectively.

Key Tools in Surfer SEO:

  1. Keyword Research: Leverage Surfer SEO's Keyword Research tool to identify relevant keywords for your content and optimize it for search engine visibility.
  2. Content Editor: The Content Editor tool enables users to create and optimize content by analyzing on-page SEO factors. It assists in refining content for improved relevance and visibility.
  3. Content Audit: Use Surfer SEO's Content Audit tool to assess and fine-tune existing content. Identify areas for improvement to align with SEO best practices.
  4. Domain Planner: The Domain Planner tool allows users to plan and strategize their overall SEO approach. Analyze domains, assess competition, and refine your SEO strategy.
  5. SERP Analyzer: Gain insights into search engine result pages (SERPs) with the SERP Analyzer. Understand ranking factors and optimize your content accordingly.
  6. Grow Flow: Surfer SEO's Grow Flow tool aids users in planning and scaling their SEO efforts. It provides a holistic view of your SEO strategy and helps in long-term planning. Although this tool is no longer available for new users, it has since been discontinued.

Surfer SEO Features

Here is a breakdown of each feature from Surfer SEO.

Content Editor

Content Editor is among the most popular Surfer SEO tools. It allows you to evaluate your content against those already ranking well. This serves as a benchmark for your content and helps you understand what you could add to ensure your content has a fighting chance in the SERPs.

First, in the Content Editor section, you can enter the keyword (s) you want to use to help build your blog post. This could be high-volume, low-volume, or long-tail keywords.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

A query with your keywords will be generated. This is now your Content Editor.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

This is what your Content Editor interface will look like.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

This section has a space on the left-hand side for you to enter the blog content you want to edit/optimize. On the right-hand side, you will see suggestions for your content.

This includes data suggestions for your content based on the top SERP results, such as:

  • Range for word count
  • Range for headings
  • Range for paragraphs
  • Range for images
  • Keyword suggestions

You can also see a rough outline and popular questions for the topic based on Google’s data.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

In the brief section, you can see the articles the editor uses as a reference to provide all the above suggestions.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

What if you are not satisfied with the suggestions Surfer made?

Any tool that you use for SEO or content is insights and suggestions. If you believe another article that might have missed referencing needs to be added or the word count needs to increase,  you can customize the ideal content based on your understanding of the topic.

In the image below, you can see how there is a toggle option to enable or disable top blogs for comparison and reference.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Here, you can see how the word count, headings, paragraphs, and images can be increased or decreased.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

You can also include some keywords that aren’t already added and remove those that don’t add value.

Because when you are optimizing content for SEO and competing with blogs that are already ranking on the first page, you don’t want to add keywords that are not relevant to your blog.

💡
Surfer SEO’s content editor tool can sometimes suggest keywords only because they are included in the top pages. Make sure you weave the keywords into your content as naturally as possible. Stuffing keywords will not help your content.
Content Editor
Content Editor 

The question suggestions you see on Google signal what your readers may want. Surfer SEO does a good job of collecting them for you through the “People also ask” source.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

If you are working with a team of writers and want to provide additional writing notes to them, you can do it through the Editor as well.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Writing your blog with Surfer

You have three options at the beginning of your writing process on the editor:

  • Writing the blog from scratch
  • Using Surfer to create an outline for the blog
  • Write a blog with Surfer AI (more on this later)
Content Editor
Content Editor 

Let’s consider the first option - Insert outline.

You can see the outline generated by Surfer. If you look closely at the headings of the top-performing blogs, you will notice many of them are repeated in the outline. So, instead of writing your blog version, you would copy them without realizing it. That’s a big no.

Instead of using the outline as given, use the generated content as a benchmark and take inspiration from it to create your outline.

Content Editor
Content Editor 
💡
Create comprehensive outlines using Chatsonic for your blogs. No plagiarization is involved. We help you with original content that adds value to your skill.

The score will increase after adding the outline in the editor, as shown below.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Below the score are keyword suggestions you can incorporate into your content.

The keywords in red indicate your current keyword density is bad; Yellow indicates it is okay. Green indicates that the keyword density is good.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Similarly, you will be suggested keywords to infuse into your headings.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

NLP suggestions are highly rankable, naturally sounding keywords for you to include in the content.

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Your score will increase once you include all the keywords as needed and meet the content standards.

But here’s the catch.

The data shows the average high-ranking blog’s score is 80, and the top-ranking blogs have a score of 88. So, according to Surfer, if you want to beat them in the ranking, your score must exceed this.

To achieve this high score, you can optimize the blog or add more images, words, paragraphs, etc. Or you could even use their beta feature of “Insert Items.”

Content Editor
Content Editor 

Click on the feature and wait for it to make suggestions.

Insert items on Content Editor
Insert items on Content Editor

The tool will show you a bunch of suggestions. You can review each of them to ensure to flow with your sentences and don’t look stuffed.

Insert items on Content Editor
Insert items on Content Editor

But it also suggests nonsensical keywords that you cannot use. Discard these suggestions.

Insert items on Content Editor
Insert items on Content Editor

After including some of its suggestions, the content score can also increase as these suggestions are closely related to the SERP top pages.

Content score
Content score 
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Remember to be cognizant of the keywords you include. Stuffing keywords into your keyword will not lead to good organic results.

Keyword Research: Find New Keywords to Target

Surfer SEO is also a good tool to understand your keywords better and conduct comprehensive keyword research. To demonstrate, here we create a query for “content optimization.”

Keyword Research
Keyword Research

A keyword list for content optimization is created,

Keyword Research
Keyword Research

When you click on the above list, you will see extensive clusters for the keyword with intent.

Keyword Research
Keyword Research


Click on any of the clusters to find more information, such as monthly search volume, traffic, keyword difficulty, and similar information for the related keywords.

Keyword Research
Keyword Research
💡
Looking for more such tools? We've got you covered!

Here are 13 free keyword research tools for you. 

Surfer AI

Surfer AI is Surfer’s latest feature that allows you to create complete articles in one go. It allows you to create outlines, write a blog, and optimize it further.

In the Content Editor section, instead of Write Yourself, choose Write with AI and enter the keyword/topic.

Surfer AI
Surfer AI 

Choose the article's tone, and select if you’d like to review the outline before generating the article. You can even turn on the “Boost anti-AI detection.”

Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm
Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm


Here is an outline generated by Surfer AI.

Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm
Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm


Here is the final blog generated; as you can see, it is already optimized with a high score by Surfer.

Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm
Surfer AI image from NeilChaseFilm
💡
Read our blog to know how Writesonic's Article Writer lets you create factual and personalized content in minutes. It can help you create a first draft that sets your content up for success! 

Content Audit

Wondering how you could improve your existing content? What are the gaps in the content and the keywords? Content Audit will help you find this information.

Enter the link to the blog and the primary keyword.

Content Audit
Content Audit

A query is generated based on the search.

Content Audit
Content Audit

When you click it, you can see the content score (the same data as the Content Editor), the internal links you can add to the blog, and keyword suggestions that will help your content perform better on the search results.

Content Audit
Content Audit
💡
Regularly auditing your content and website is essential to identify gaps and correct potential issues. But to truly stay on top of your game, you should conduct regular SEO audits. Here is our guide to conducting an SEO audit. Give it a read, and always keep your website optimized and updated. 

SERP analyzer

The SERP analyzer gives you a comprehensive analysis of the keyword you are researching. For example, I want to evaluate the SERP for ChatGPT alternatives and create a query for it.

SERP analyzer
SERP analyzer

In the graph below, the purple line represents the number of words a blog should have to achieve the corresponding position in the search results for the abovementioned keyword.

The blue line represents the number of times the keyword should appear in a blog to achieve the corresponding position in the search results.

You can also analyze other components such as backlinks, characters, missing common words and phrases, etc.

SERP analyzer
SERP analyzer

Domain Planner

The domain planner helps you analyze the website’s domain, find improvement suggestions, and identify gaps.

Domain Planner
Domain Planner

You can analyze which of your content sources have featured snippets, impressions, the intent of the posts, keywords, the position of the content, and more.

Domain Planner
Domain Planner


If you turn on the low-hanging fruits section, you can identify opportunities for improvement among your existing content to improve organic traffic.

Domain Planner
Domain Planner

Keyword Surfer - Surfer SEO Keyword Research Extension

Surfer SEO has a keyword research Chrome extension called Keyword Surfer that can enrich your search results with interesting data.

For example, when I looked for an SEO optimizer tool on Google, the search bar was immediately popular with the search volume for the US region and the CPC data,

Keyword Surfer
Keyword Surfer

Further, on the right, you will see keyword ideas based on the search results with the percentage of overlap data and the keyword volume.

Keyword Surfer
Keyword Surfer

Additionally, each result is accompanied by the following data:

The estimated monthly traffic for each domain.

Keyword Surfer
Keyword Surfer

The number of words in the search result of the web page,

Keyword Surfer
Keyword Surfer

Additional information about the web page, such as updates in the title.

Keyword Surfer
Keyword Surfer

Surfer SEO pros and cons

Surfer SEO pros:

  1. Comprehe₹nsive SEO Tools: Surfer SEO stands out for its tools, including Keyword Research, Content Editor, Content Audit, Domain Planner, SERP Analyzer, and Grow Flow. These tools collectively empower users to optimize various aspects of their website for better search engine performance.
  2. Competitor Insights: The platform provides valuable insights into competitors' strategies and the top-ranking pages for specific keywords. This competitive analysis enables users to understand the landscape and refine their content strategies.
  3. Efficient Content Optimization: The Content Editor and SERP Analyzer are notable features that facilitate efficient content optimization. The Content Editor, for instance, allows users to analyze top-performing content and align it with successful models.

Surfer SEO cons:

  1. Steep Pricing: While Surfer SEO offers a robust set of tools, the pricing may deter some users, especially those just starting with SEO. Users must assess whether the features justify the cost based on their needs and budget.
  2. Consideration for Budget and Requirements: Despite excelling in ease of use and integrations, users are advised to consider their budget and specific requirements. Investing in Surfer SEO should align with the user's financial capabilities and the scale of their SEO activities.
  3. No free trial: If you are new to Surfer SEO, you want to try the tool before providing your credit card details. However, there are free trial options.

The best Surfer SEO alternative - Writesonic

Writesonic is a comprehensive Generative AI platform that helps brands ace their content creation. Here‘s a look at the tool's home page.

Writesonic - Best Surfer SEO alternative
Writesonic - Best Surfer SEO alternative 

To start creating your content, click “Create a new document.” An editor opens up with several tools for you to try.

To keep it simple and show an example of how to create a blog, let’s click on “Article Writer 5.0.”

Writesonic - Best Surfer SEO alternative
Writesonic - Best Surfer SEO alternative 

This is how your content generator’s interface will look.

Article Writer 5.0
Article Writer 5.0


Let’s choose the same topic as earlier. Here, I will add reference resources to create a new article.

Article Writer 5.0
Article Writer 5.0

I have also added the outline as additional information to structure the content.

You will see a new article based on the input on the right. To assess, edit, and analyze the generated content, click “Open in Sonic Editor.”

Article Writer 5.0
Article Writer 5.0

Sonic Editor

The Sonic Editor is now populated with the generated blog.

SEO content optimizer

Select the SEO Optimizer feature on the left.

Sonic Editor and SEO Optimizer
Sonic Editor and SEO Optimizer

Enter the keywords you want to rank for and analyze the results.

Sonic Editor and SEO Optimizer
Sonic Editor and SEO Optimizer

You can evaluate your content using the benchmarking details provided on the optimizer.

You will then see a comprehensive view of your competitor’s keywords and the expected density.

You can also see long-tail keyword details to help you rank for a more niche audience.


However, Sonic Editor provides more than rough data for optimization; it can help you optimize your content with AI.

For the selected content, choose the option “Ask AI.”

Then, enter the prompt based on the result you want.

The AI will deliver as needed. You can add the content to your blog and further edit it.

You can also check your content for plagiarism. Surfer SEO often provides the same headings as the competitors, which is often misleading. But you can check for plagiarism in the Sonic Editor and make an informed decision.

Sonic Editor
Sonic Editor 


As you can see, the generated content is 100% original.

Plagiarism checker on Sonic Editor
Plagiarism checker on Sonic Editor

The number of features doesn’t just end there. To enrich the content with more information, select the content you want and click on the chat-like option to open Chatsonic.

Chatsonic is Writesonic’s generative AI chatbot.

Chatsonic with Sonic Editor
Chatsonic with Sonic Editor

Ask Chatsonic for additional information about your content, and it easily delivers!

Chatsonic with Sonic Editor
Chatsonic with Sonic Editor

You can easily add the content to your blog!

Additionally, if you think a section of the blog is missing some keywords, you can ask the tool to “Improve SEO."

Improve SEO on Sonic Editor
Improve SEO on Sonic Editor 

Enter the keywords or information you think are relevant to the selected content.

Improve SEO on Sonic Editor
Improve SEO on Sonic Editor 

Select the keywords and click on Rewrite.

Improve SEO on Sonic Editor
Improve SEO on Sonic Editor 

You will see the rewritten content generated before you; you can replace your content with this and edit it further based on your understanding.

Improve SEO on Sonic Editor
Improve SEO on Sonic Editor 
💡
You can try Writesonic for free right away, unlike Surfer SEO. Why don't you sign up for the free trial and try it yourself?

Surfer SEO Pricing

Here is an overview of Surfer SEO’s pricing plans. Their most basic plan lets you generate 60 articles a year with Surfer AI and create 180 Content Editors with two organizational seats.

Surfer SEO Pricing
Surfer SEO Pricing 


However, if you are only interested in generating your articles with Surfer AI then you can generate 1 article for $29. In comparison with others in the industry, this pricing is on the higher end.

Surfer SEO Pricing
Surfer SEO Pricing 

Writesonic Pricing

Writesonic has a suite of features and templates to support your marketing efforts. The freelancer plan starts at $16 with unlimited usage, and the team plan starts at $13. Here is the comprehensive information about Writesonic's pricing.

As you can see, it is a much more affordable choice without compromising the quality of features.

Writesonic Pricing
Writesonic Pricing

Surfer SEO Review Conclusion

So, what do we think about Surfer SEO? This comprehensive SEO tool can help teams coordinate and manage their content better. It also lets users create content efficiently to help you rank better. It also has advanced features for on-page optimization and performance tracking – essential for holistic content management.

However, for the pricing involved, the features could be too steep for several businesses. There are independent keyword research and AI tools with much more advanced capabilities, especially if your intention with the tool is to create content.

There are AI writing tools like Writesonic with several capabilities, such as templates, a generative AI chatbot to create and research on the go, capabilities to include your brand voice, generate images, convert speech to text, and so much more!

Try Writesonic for free!


‌At Writesonic, we understand the importance of AI and human collaboration to ace your marketing efforts. That's why we've equipped our platform with all the advanced AI features that teams need to do more in less time. From crafting compelling marketing copy to generating engaging product descriptions, our AI-powered platform can help you take your business to the next level.

And the best part? You can try it out for free! Our free trial allows you to experience the power of AI firsthand without any commitment. So why wait? Sign up today and see the difference that Writesonic can make for your business!

Your first 10,000 words are on us. Go ahead and try all the features yourself!

Frequently Asked Questions

How to use Surfer SEO for on-page optimization?

Keyword Research: Utilize Surfer's Keyword Research tool to discover strategic keywords for your content.

Content Editor: Optimize your content using the Content Editor, which provides real-time feedback on keyword usage and other on-page SEO factors.

Surfer AI: Leverage Surfer AI to quickly generate SEO-friendly articles based on natural language processing (NLP) analysis.

Content Audit: Evaluate and enhance existing content with the Content Audit feature, which identifies areas for on-page optimization.

SERP Analyzer: Analyze top-ranking articles with the SERP Analyzer tool for insights into content optimization strategies.

Is Surfer good for SEO?

Yes, Surfer SEO is highly effective for SEO. Its suite of tools, including the Content Editor and Keyword Research, provides actionable insights to optimize content and improve search engine rankings.

How accurate is Surfer SEO?

Surfer SEO is known for its accuracy in analyzing on-page SEO factors. It employs advanced algorithms and data-driven metrics to provide precise recommendations for content optimization.

Is Surfer SEO better than Semrush?

Both Surfer SEO and Semrush serve different purposes. Surfer SEO excels in on-page optimization, while Semrush offers a broader range of SEO functionalities. The choice depends on specific needs and preferences.

Is Surfer SEO paid?

Yes, Surfer SEO offers paid plans with various features. Pricing starts from $29/month for the "Hobby" plan, providing different levels of access and tools based on subscription tiers.

Is Surfer SEO easy to use?

Surfer SEO is designed for user-friendliness. Its intuitive interface and step-by-step guidance make it accessible for both beginners and experienced users.

Is Surfer SEO better than Clearscope?

Surfer SEO and Clearscope are both reputable SEO tools. The choice depends on individual requirements. Surfer SEO is renowned for on-page optimization, while Clearscope focuses on content strategy and keyword research.

What is the best way to use Surfer SEO?

The best way to use Surfer SEO is to conduct thorough keyword research, optimize content using the Content Editor, leverage Surfer AI for content generation, audit existing content with the Content Audit tool, and analyze SERPs using the SERP Analyzer for strategic insights.

What does SEO Surfer do?

Surfer SEO offers tools for on-page optimization, keyword research, content generation, and performance tracking. It helps users enhance their content's SEO relevance and improve search engine ranking.

Preethi Anchan

Content creator and seasoned marketer @Writesonic. I specialize in storytelling with long-form product-led content, converting the language of machines into the language of people.

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Discover what writing with AI feels like. See for yourself with a free trial -- we assure you'll save 20+ hours every week.
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Get started with Writesonic!

Discover what writing with AI feels like. See for yourself with a free trial -- we assure you'll save 20+ hours every week.
Try for FREE