Let’s get straight to the point! Surfer SEO is not the cheapest option on the market when it comes to content writing tools. In this Surfer SEO review, our Geeksters explore if the premium paid over other options is worth the money in terms of functionality and ease of use of the platform.
- What is Surfer SEO?
- How does Surfer SEO work?
- What modules does Surfer SEO include?
- A deeper dive into Surfer SEO modules
- Pricing Plans for Surfer SEO
- Surfer SEO – Pros and Cons
- Alternatives to Surfer SEO
- Our Geeksters’ Review
What is Surfer SEO?
With Surfer SEO, you will be able to plan, and write SEO optimized content to rank higher and be more visible to your audience. Better rankings for blog posts and websites trigger more visits to your website, which in turn improves conversion rates. Surfer SEO enables you to do this without the technical expertise that were traditionally necessary in the digital marketing space. With a subscription to surfer SEO, you will have access to a powerful AI content writing tool that will make your content competitive from the second you push the ‘PUBLISH’ button. Use Surfer AI as your content writing companion within your AI marketing strategy.
How does Surfer SEO Work?
Surfer SEO helps you discover strategic keywords, plan your content strategy and generate attractive outlines/briefs for your posts.
The magic of Surfer SEO comes to life as it runs your generated content against first-page search results for the same target keyword applied for your content. What is more is that with every additional word you add to your content, Surfer SEO scores the live content in real-time. The ease-of-use of Surfer SEO is evident as it keeps you updated with changes/updates to your content to ensure the highest ranking possible on search engines such as Google.
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that. And there are a few more things Surfer can do besides the above, but we’ll cover all of that when we get into the actual features.
What Modules does Surfer SEO include?
Surfer SEO brings together top-tier features in the digital marketing space that can be used separately. Nevertheless, features are built in a way where they complement each other, bringing you one centralized content creation tool.
The main modules of Surfer SEO include the following (sorted in order of use for the creation of your content):
- Keyword Research
- Content Editor
- SERP Analyzer
A Deeper Dive into Surfer SEO Modules
Once you open an account with Surfer SEO, you are directed to a clean dashboard. As shown below, Surfer SEO features are shown on the top left side of the screen. The bottom left side of the screen will keep you updated on the number of features used and how close you are to reaching the monthly quota. This limit will of course vary with the subscription type you opted for.
1. Keyword Research
The keyword research module is a great start to plan your content strategy. With a click of a button Surfer SEO gives you access to a wide range of topics that you can target with your content writing.
When testing keyword research our Geeks were prompted to enter the seed word i.e. a high-level topic related to their target content. They were also required to enter the geographic area of interest based on the location of their target audience. In their example, our Geeks entered ‘AI digital marketing’ with a target audience in the USA. It takes a few minutes to generate the results, but it was worth the wait.
As shown below, from a generic topic on AI digital marketing, Surfer SEO opens up the topic into other closely related clusters that are of interest to content generation within this niche.
Each of the identified clusters shows the top keywords associated with the topic. By clicking the purple dot on the bottom right side of each box, you will be prompted with the following information. Use this valuable data to track keywords with a lower difficulty score and high monthly search volumes.
Surfer SEO’s approach towards cluster based results caters for Google’s smart logic whereby it understands the intent behind a search query. Google’s tech nowadays ranks results with respect to how well they cover the overall topic associated with the search query rather than limiting the specific search query of a user.
Once you’ve found a topic cluster you want to target in your content strategy, you can click the purple icon next to it to import it to the Content Editor, which brings us neatly onto the next feature…
With a click of a button ‘Create for 1 CE credit’ Surfer SEO will redirect you to the content editor page with all the relevant keywords on the side to be applied for your content. For more information on how content editor works, refer to the next section.
1.1 Surfer SEO Keyword Extension
Surfer SEO has recently added a Keyword Extension feature that can be installed on your chrome browser. Try it out for free. Surfer SEO makes this extension available to anyone, including users who have not paid for a subscription plan.
This extension allows you to carry out standard google searches and receive intelligence on key metrics that include monthly searches, CPC and on-page data as well as highly useful keyword suggestions. Choose the country of interest and the extension will show data for that specific country. Did you spot a specific keyword that you want to include in your strategy? Bookmark that keyword with a click of a button and then extract your list of keywords on a .csv. Easy as that!
The keyword extension is gold for beginners who want to start benefitting from SEO related key metrics and serves as a stepping stone towards the fully-fledged Surfer SEO product.
2. Content Editor
Surfer SEO’s content editor is the star of the show. Use this module to write and optimise all of your content for websites and blog posts. Choose this module from the left hand side of the main page. The following screen is shown, where you are prompted to enter the keyword you want to rank for together with the target country. You can include more than one keyword in the keyword bar.
Surfer SEO has successfully integrated the power of artificial intelligence into their content writing module. Are you the type of content generator who wants to generate content ‘old school’, from scratch? Or would you rather let AI generate the content for you while you watch in awe? The power is in your hands. Choose between ‘write yourself’ or ‘write with AI’.
2.1 Content Editor with AI
There are four key steps to writing content with Surfer SEO’s AI companion. In the first page, choose the template. Is it a blog post or a product review? Next pick the tone of voice. Does your audience appreciate a humorous pitch or a more formal and professional style? Pick from a whole variety of styles to connect effectively with your audience. If you want to steer clear of AI detection tools, choose the option ‘boost anti-AI detection’. However, you should be aware that this can result in a lower content score and less natural language. Surfer SEO’s algorithm picks the relevant competitors. However, users have an option to exclude specific website competitors and include others that have been left out by the algorithm.
Next, click on create outline and ‘sit tight’. You will be prompted with a screen to review and edit suggested outlines before the full article is generated. If you are happy with the outline, click ‘Let’s write’. This is the time where you sit back and do nothing while AI generates content for you. Incredible to say the least. It roughly took 15 minutes for Surfer SEO to generate content from scratch. Although this process could be more efficient, it was worth the wait. It would have definitely taken much more time to write the article from scratch manually.
The result? Surfer SEO keeps its promise. The content editor powered by AI generated an article with a score above the average and the top ranking existing article for the keyword ‘ai digital marketing’. You should be proud of yourself! Or rather, you should be proud of Surfer SEO’s AI.
2.2 Content Editor (No AI)
Opting for the conventional manual content editor will direct you to the content editor screen as shown below.
As shown above, there is a main (editing) screen to type in your content. The side bar widgets to the right are critical in guiding you to generate SEO optimized content. Use the editing window like any other text editor by typing in your content. Make changes to formatting, alignment etc. thanks to the options shown on the toolbar on the top of the page.
Type your content and watch the content score widget update live as you apply suggested keywords or when reaching the suggested word count, paragraph number, headings or images. Suggested keywords are based on natural language processing (NLP) and SERP analysis. In other words, Surfer SEO analyses the search results associated with your target keyword/s including their structure, phrases, words etc.
All of the suggested guidelines including word count, paragraph count, heading count, image count and suggested keywords are all based on the formats and content of the highest ranking content on google. So it is suggested to take the suggestions of Surfer SEO and integrate them in your content.
The content score widget shows your content score in comparison to the average and top ranking scores for similar content that is available online. Use it wisely!
The outline tab brings together AI generated content in the form of titles and headings that can be included in your content with a click of a button. Further edits can be done manually. The brief tab is applicable when working with other participants to the content writing. Add notes that can be viewed by other participants. There is also a list of competing articles that are shared to be reviewed by the contributors to the article.
Once you are happy with your content as well as the content score, you have the option to copy the content over to your website/blog or export it to WordPress through the plugin. Make sure to select done so Surfer SEO saves and tracks your content.
Would you rather optimise your content directly from Google docs? Click Share, Get Chrome extension for Google docs, from Content Editor. You will be redirected to a landing page from where you can add the extension to chrome and install through the chrome store. Once done, all documents opened on google chrome will show the Surfer SEO content editor extension. The same option is available if you want to optimise your content directly through WordPress.
2.3 Plagiarism Checker
Surfer SEO complements the content writer module with a plagiarism checker for your content. Make sure your content is 100% original by clicking on the three dots at the top of the Content Editor dashboard. Then click on ‘Run Plagiarism Checker’.
Our Geeksters ran a test with plagiarised content. It works indeed! This is the result shown by the plagiarism check of Surfer SEO.
3. Content Audit
Content audit module enables you to optimize existing content on your website.
By choosing ‘Audit’ on the main page, you will be prompted with the following screen. Enter the url you want to audit and the target audience jurisdiction/s. By pressing ‘create’ audit, Surfer SEO will generate a report showing areas for improvement to your existing content.
First, click Audit in the sidebar. Then, enter the URL of the page you want to optimize, and the keyword you want to optimize it around, and click Create Audit.
Surfer SEO will then analyze the page to identify opportunities to improve its search performance and present them in an easy-to-understand report.
Feedback from the audit includes details on how to improve your content score, opportunities for internal links as well as suggestions to add key terms (including context examples). Other suggestions may include structure of page and areas for improvement in speed, amongst others.
Surfer SEO makes content enhancement a walk in the park.
Users may opt to review existing content by moving content to the content editor module as well. Both options yield great results in optimizing content. In the end, it is a matter of taste on how you want to manage the optimization of your existing content.
4. SERP Analyzer
SERP Analyzer is another key feature that is included in the product of SEO Surfer.
When choosing a keyword, it is critical to assess the competition. Can you effectively rank highly or are you competing with well-established web pages? SERP analysis is a key study that needs to be conducted as part of your strategy to focus on a keyword.
What you want in this case is a tool that can give you an insight into the result pages associated with a keyword and the SERP analyzer of Surfer SEO does that. This granularity of data gives you a perspective where you can see how on-page factors such as domain score, content score, article length and more affect the ranking associated with a particular keyword.
As an example – with your researched keyword – do top ranking websites have a high domain authority and an average content score? In this case, if your website has a low domain authority, it will be difficult for you to compete as websites with a healthy number of backlinks tend to take priority over a high content score. On the other hand, if results show average domain authority and a high content score, then it might be worth to generate content with a high content score that stand out from the competition.
In the example below, our Geeksters researched the keyword surfer SEO review. As shown, the domain authority of the top 1st ranking website is low (most probably due to the featured snippet). Nevertheless, the article score tops the competition. This is a perfect case study where you can plan your keyword strategy effectively.
Use SERP analyzer and get visibility to the following key metrics amongst others:
- Common ranked keywords associated with your researched keyword;
- Top similar questions related to your keyword;
- Popular words and the number of times they appear in top ranking articles;
- Popular phrases and the number of times they appear in top ranking articles;
Refer to ‘common words’ and ‘common phrases’ metrics and see how many out of the top 10 ranking websites make use of related words and phrases associated with your keyword.
The SERP analyzer allows you to compare so many on-page metrics. The list is endless. Surfer SEO shows the correlation very clearly in graphical format. Your challenge here is picking the metrics that are relevant to you from a varied list of metrics.
Pricing Plans Surfer SEO
So how much will Surfer SEO set you back? Surfer SEO provides different subscription tiers that fit different business budget perspectives – from smaller, newly set businesses to larger, more established businesses. Surfer SEO places their product pricing strategically, giving users access to a tier-1 SEO platform and more at a very affordable price.
The pricing model of Surfer SEO follows a standard monthly subscription model. Nevertheless, Surfer SEO gives you the option to opt for a one-time payment that renews yearly at an even cheaper price.
Another characteristic of the Surfer SEO’s pricing is the tiered approach for modules. The standard pricing covers the content editor and keyword research modules amongst an array of features. Users can then opt to top up payments to cover additional modules [Audit, SERP analysis and more]. The MAX and ENTERPRISE packages though give users access to all of the features without additional monthly charges.
There is also an option to white-label the system and have your logos show on the platform. This option is typically useful if you want to your brand logos to show and not reveal your inner workings with your clients. There is also an API option to automate query creation and analyse data without accessing the Surfer SEO app.
Price ranges between $89 for 15 monthly content editor credits to $299 for 90 monthly credits. The Essential package costs nearly twice as much as the MAX package per credit.
The Enterprise package pricing is customizable, subject to the individual requirements. The following breaks down the monthly pricing for add-ons.
Surfer SEO does not provide free trials. However, any of the purchased subscriptions has a 7-day-money-back-guarantee. This gives you peace of mind where you can still try out the platform and request a refund if you are not satisfied (highly unlikely).
There is also separate pricing for Surfer AI module that enables users to generate AI powered content. This fee is set at a fixed $29 per article across the ESSENTIAL, ADVANCED and MAX packages. Surfer AI’s pricing does not make it suitable for small businesses with a limited budget with a focus on generating a number of content articles per month.
Surfer SEO Pros and Cons
- Highly intuitive user interface making it accessible for starters in digital marketing.
- Extensive data intelligence giving you access to priceless information related to your keyword of choice.
- Highly customizable correlation charts showing key metrics for your keyword research.
- One of the leading tools for optimizing existing content to improve search engine rankings.
- Unlike other platforms, Surfer SEO provides both keywords and content optimization as part of their package.
- Free Keyword chrome extension is helpful.
- Integration with Google docs, WordPress and more.
- Impressive AI generated content creation module.
- A 7-day-money-back guarantee gives you peace of mind.
- The number of on-page metrics at your disposal could be overwhelming.
- Only 15 Content Editor credits a month for their basic plan. This can be consumed very quickly depending on the number of articles published per month.
- Keyword Research tool not as effective as the content editor and content audit features.
- Surfer AI is too pricey for small businesses.
Alternatives to Surfer SEO
It’s always good to have options. So, let’s explore some other auto bloggers that can take a keyword and some context and convert it into a full-blown article.
Content at Scale
This platform is a lot like Surfer SEO. It gives you full functionality to create entire blogs from one keyword. But here’s where it pulls ahead – if you’re not a fan of the content created, you can have the article re-created from scratch without shelling out additional credits. It’s like getting a do-over for free! Have a look at our full on Content at Scale review for more information.
Market Muse is a tool that can help you with keyword research, competitor analysis, and topic suggestions for creating better content. Its use of machine learning and artificial intelligence allows for more accurate analysis and briefs. It is recommended for any brands or SEO writers who want to base their content marketing strategy on data rather than intuition. The tool has two main types of features: Inventory, tracking and reporting your website’s content, and an Applications tool for research and planning of content creation.
Market Muse comes with a free version plan that allows up to 10 queries a month. Queries can be used both for fresh or already existent content.
Our Geeksters’ Review
Surfer SEO sets the bar high! It is a versatile product that caters for a wide range of audiences – from beginners to the more experienced content writers. In doing so, it never loses balance and delivers on what it was made for- content writing in its purest form.
Our Geeksters have tested the software from a beginner’s perspective as well as a professional’s perspective. Surfer SEO proved to be very intuitive for beginners. This can be said with reference to the content writing module where everything is broken down into sections and metrics that make it very easy for beginners to do content writing that ranks highly.
Surfer SEO also incorporates all the bells and whistles demanded from the pros in the content writing field. A good example is the number of on-page KPIs that are available to analyse in the SERP analyser. This makes it the go to content writing software for more experienced content writers.
The pricing structure is also structured in a way that makes the product attractive for beginners and professionals in the field. Tiered pricing is offered so users can choose the modules that are mostly applicable for them. With content writing as the core service offered by Surfer SEO, the ‘essential plan’ gives users access to the content writer.
Users can pick additional modules such as Audit, Serp Analyser, AI content writing (Surfer AI) and more by paying a higher monthly subscription. Despite the excellent job done by Surfer AI in building content from scratch, the price for Surfer AI is on the high-side and is less affordable for smaller start-ups. This is a pity when considering Google’s updated stance on AI generated content.
Conclusion – Surfer SEO Review
Content writing is a key pillar to your successful branding strategy. This is true for businesses who are just starting as well as the most established ones. That is why you want to this properly from day one. Picking the best tool for your content writing journey is critical to your overall marketing strategy. With so many options in the market, our Geeksters agree that Surfer SEO is one of the best tools for traditional content writing, AI-powered content writing and intelligence gathering from competitors for analysis.