In-Depth Surfer SEO Review 2024: Is It Really a Game Changer?

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Let’s be real – nailing that perfect SEO strategy can feel like a never-ending battle. With search engines constantly updating their algorithms, it’s tough to keep up and ensure your content ranks high (or ever ranks at all).

Surfer SEO has exploded in popularity in the past couple of years, promising to be a total game-changer for bloggers, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to level up their SEO game.

It aims to simplify and streamline on-page SEO optimization, offering a comprehensive suite of tools to help users create SEO-friendly content, analyze SERPs, and make data-driven decisions.

But is this fancy SEO tool really worth all the hype?

In this candid Surfer SEO review, we’re going to take a no-BS look at what it can actually do for your SEO efforts. We’ve been an avid user for a couple of years, so we can share the good, the bad, and everything in between.

We’ll break down the key features, pros and cons, and most importantly – whether it truly delivers on being that game-changing secret weapon.

What is Surfer SEO?

At its core, Surfer SEO is like your personal SEO coach – a smart, data-driven sidekick that guides you through creating content primed for success in the search rankings.

Instead of aimlessly writing and hoping for the best, Surfer SEO takes a scientific approach. It analyzes the top-ranking pages for your target keyword and gives you suggested data points to include based on this analysis.

It analyzes the top-ranking content in SERPs (search engine results pages) and evaluates:

  • What keywords are they using?
  • How are they structuring their content?
  • What topics are they covering?
  • How many words are they using?

Armed with those juicy insights, Surfer SEO then provides you with a customized blueprint with detailed recommendations for writing content that checks all of these boxes.

It even gives you an overall ranking score on your post to give you an idea of how well it measures up to the top-ranking content in search engines.

Surfer SEO content score example

It’s like having an SEO expert whispering sweet nothings in your ear as you write. Except this coach never gets tired, always has the latest data, and doesn’t judge your excessive snacking habits.

So in a nutshell, Surfer SEO takes the guesswork out of SEO writing.

Key Features of Surfer SEO

Next, let’s go over the key features of Surfer SEO.

Content Editor

Okay, let’s talk about the star of the Surfer SEO show – the Content Editor. This is where the real content optimization magic happens.

In the past, you’ve written blog posts and then probably come up with an arbitrary number of times your keywords should be scattered throughout your article. You guess at the length, images, headlines, and everything else, really.

Surfer SEO’s Content Editor changed the game.

Now, when you write a blog post, you can see your post in real time when you’re typing. You can get instant feedback on what keywords you should be using and how often. You can see what the optimal word count for your post is and even how many paragraphs you should have.

Surfer SEO related keywords example

You can also choose to write in your old-school way or with your favorite AI writing tool and simply copy and paste your finished product into the Content Editor to finish up the optimization process after you’re done writing.

The editor will analyze your draft and compare it to the top-ranking competition for your target keyword.

The cool thing is, as you start making corrections to your post, you can watch your content score increasing! It’s a strangely satisfying feeling watching your content score get closer and closer to 100% optimized content.

Although I will say, we never aim for a perfect 100. Anything above 85 is really great.

The thing to keep in mind here is that Surfer SEO analyzes the top-ranking content on Google, but it also doesn’t take into account that you could create an ever BETTER post than what’s currently ranking. Keep that in mind and make sure to include your own creative flair.

The editor also integrates with popular writing tools like Google Docs and web builders like WordPress. So you can optimize your content directly in your normal writing environment without juggling multiple apps.

And if you’re in more of an “inspo” mood versus writing from scratch, the Content Editor also has some cool AI-powered tools to generate outlines, intros, and entire drafts for you to optimize.

SERP Analyzer

The Content Editor is awesome for optimizing your actual writing. But before you even start drafting, wouldn’t it be great to have a game plan for what high-performing content looks like for your target keyword?

Surfer SEO SERP Analyzer

Enter Surfer’s SERP Analyzer tool. This handy feature does a deep analysis of the current top-ranking pages for any keyword you enter. And I’m not just talking about looking at word counts and backlinks.

The SERP Analyzer goes beyond surface-level metrics to really dissect what makes those top performers tick. It examines everything from content structure and semantic keywords to sentiment analysis and the prevalence of multimedia elements like videos and images.

Surfer SERP Analyzer 2

Essentially, it reverse-engineers the secret sauce that helped those pages claim the coveted ranking spots.

From there, Surfer provides you with a detailed report and visualization breaking down all the key insights. You’ll see which topics, phrases, and concepts are absolutely essential to cover. You’ll get recommendations on optimal word counts, heading structure, readability levels, and more.

Surfer SERP Analyzer 3

It’s like getting an entire content blueprint and checklist up front before you even write your first draft. Just follow Surfer’s data-driven roadmap, and you’ll be well on your way to creating that perfectly optimized, search-engine-slaying piece of content.

No more guessing what it takes to rank on page one. The SERP Analyzer takes away the mystery and hands you a clear, research-backed plan of attack.

Content Audit

We’ve covered how Surfer can help you optimize new content pieces to rank better. But what about that mountain of existing posts and pages already live on your website?

That’s where the Content Audit tool comes in clutch.

Even the most well-optimized content can start to show its age over time as search algorithms evolve and new competitors enter the arena. Maybe that page you poured your heart out for over two years ago is suddenly underperforming. Or perhaps there are some quick-win opportunities to freshen up and re-optimize some of your older pieces.

The Content Audit gives you a clear, data-driven look at how your existing content is stacking up in the current landscape. Just feed in your URLs, and Surfer will crawl and analyze each page against the latest ranking data for its target keywords.

Surfer SEO Audit tool example

You’ll get detailed audits and reports showing how optimized (or not) each piece truly is based on all those juicy on-page, keyword, and topical factors.

Surfer will highlight any glaring holes or weaknesses, like thin content sections, outdated keyword targeting, lack of multimedia, and more.

But here’s the best part – the audit doesn’t just point out the problems. It provides clear, actionable optimization recommendations tailored for each piece of content.

Surfer Audit suggestions for keywords

Surfer will tell you exactly what updates to make and what to focus on, whether that’s beefing up certain keyword mentions, adding new subheadings to cover neglected subtopics, or improving content quality and semantics.

Surfer audit page structure suggestions

From there, you can easily prioritize your content revision efforts based on potential impact. Maybe you tackle those few quick, low-hanging fruit updates first. Or you go all-in on revamping those pages that have fallen the farthest in the rankings.

It’s like getting a customized content workout plan to finally get your website into tip-top SEO shape.

You can focus your efforts on the pieces that truly move the needle rather than a fruitless, all-out overhaul.

The audit functionality is also a lifesaver for anyone who’s inherited a website full of old, unoptimized content after taking over a brand or blog. Instead of having to start from scratch, you can let Surfer’s analysis uncover those hidden diamond-in-the-rough opportunities ready for a rebirth.

Surfer’s Content Audit tool is an absolute must-have for optimizing your existing resources.

Keyword Research

On-page SEO aside, let’s next look at Surfer as a keyword research tool. After all, keyword research is the starting point for all great SEO content, right?

Instead of just vomiting out millions of keyword ideas like some tools, Surfer’s keyword research tool actually analyzes and prioritizes the suggestions based on factors like:

  • Monthly search volumes and trends
  • Competition levels
  • Your website’s current rankings
  • Content gaps you may have compared to competitors
Surfer SEO Keyword research tool example

Surfer looks at all the data to determine which keywords are actually worthwhile opportunities that fit your goals and capabilities. No more wasting time chasing after ultra-competitive white whales.

The tool also clusters the keyword ideas into neat little topic groups. This helps you map out comprehensive content hubs around core topics rather than just creating random, disconnected pages.

Surfer Keyword research 2 example

But here’s the really cool part: Surfer doesn’t just stop at broad keyword ideas. It can analyze the top-ranking pages for those terms and identify all the specific related phrases, questions, and subtopics you should cover.

It’s like getting an instant, data-backed content blueprint for each keyword – the topics to include, the semantic keywords to use, and the ideal content structure. No more guessing what it’ll take to rank.

Like most popular keyword research tools, Surfer SEO gives you comprehensive data on:

  • Keyword density
  • Keyword difficulty
  • Relevant keywords
  • Monthly search volume
  • And more

Between the curated suggestions and the granular insights, Surfer’s Keyword Research tool saves you countless hours of manual research and strategizing.

You get a clear, focused plan of attack for the most relevant and worthwhile keyword opportunities.

Surfer SEO Browser Extension

As you can see, this powerful content optimization tool does a lot. But guess what? It also has a browser extension that brings that power directly into your daily online workflow.

The Surfer SEO extension is available for Chrome and other popular browsers.

The browser extension is another simple tool that can help you evaluate keyword research data when you search in Google and other browsers.

Surfer chrome extension example

It gives you information about the keyword search volume, word count, and estimated monthly traffic each of the search engine rankings is getting.

Surfer chrome extension example 2

This free keyword research tool helps you quickly analyze keyword opportunities and related phrases from any page you’re browsing.

The only downside is the extension doesn’t include access to Surfer’s content editor or SEO audit tool. But it can still be helpful when you’re doing keyword research.

API and Third-Party Integrations

Surfer SEO is pretty great on its own, but it also has some great third-party integrations that allow you to use Surfer with your other favorite tools.

Surfer’s API allows you to connect the tool’s data and optimization capabilities with basically any other software or platform you can think of. But for the less tech savvy, like myself, you can also take advantage of Surfer’s pre-built connections with some of the most popular marketing and content tools out there.

One of my favorites, for example, is the integration with Jasper, an AI writing assistant, that allows you to optimize content directly within their platform using Surfer’s analysis.

screemshot of Jasper AI Surfer SEO integration feature

There are also plugins for WordPress, Google Docs, web builders like Divi, and more.

With these integrations, you can use Surfer’s optimization tools in your existing writing software so that you don’t have to open up multiple tools.

Pros and Cons

So far in this Surfer SEO review, we’ve covered all the bells, whistles, and SEO features that this popular tool has to offer. But let’s be real – no tool is perfect.

It’s time to break down the honest pros and cons of this SEO software.


  • Data-Driven Approach: A lot of SEO is still guesswork and gut instinct, but Surfer provides you with recommendations based on data from analyzing the top-ranking competition.
  • Massive Time Saver: Surfer automates planning and optimization by instantly providing detailed outlines, keyword insights, and optimization suggestions. More time for snacking!
  • Intuitive Interface: Some SEO tools, like Ahrefs, can feel overwhelming for non-experts. But Surfer has a really simple, easy-to-use interface that makes all its data easy to understand and act on – even for SEO newbies.
  • Always Up to Date: Search algorithms are constantly evolving, but Surfer updates its data and recommendations in real time. You can run your older articles through Surfer and continue to optimize them to provide the best content possible.
  • Free Trial: Surfer SEO has a free trial that you can get started with to test out all of these great features.


  • Pricey for Solopreneurs: SEO tools in general aren’t cheap and while Surfer isn’t one of the most expensive ones, it’s still an extra cost that can be hard to swallow for smaller blogs or businesses just starting out.
  • Over-Optimization Risks: While the data-driven approach is great, there’s a risk of over-optimizing and creating content that feels unnatural if you follow Surfer’s suggestions too rigidly. A little human finesse is still required.
  • Some Questionable Recommendations: As good as Surfer’s analysis is, it can occasionally spit out some head-scratching or irrelevant suggestions that don’t quite make sense for your content. Remember that it pulls data from top-ranking content, whether that content is actually of good quality or not.

Surfer SEO is incredibly powerful and can be a huge time-saver, but it’s not an affordable option for everyone. And like any tool, it has some quirks and risks to be aware of.

The key is using it strategically while still applying your own human expertise and judgment.

Surfer SEO Pricing and Plans

Next up in our comprehensive Surfer SEO review, we’ve got pricing.

It doesn’t matter how great the features are, pricing is always a huge factor in determining whether or not you want to invest in something.

Surfer has a few different pricing tiers to choose from, so let’s break them down:

  • The Essential Plan starts at $69 per month and includes access to the core optimization tools like the Content Editor, SERP Analyzer, and basic Keyword Research. It also lets you optimize up to 360 articles per month.
  • The Scale Plan starts at $99 per month and unlocks the Audit feature and more advanced keyword analysis as well as 1,200 articles per month.
  • The Scale AI Plan at $179 per month is the premium option that adds AI-powered writing assistance, personalized training, and more user seats for teams.
Surfer SEO Pricing plans screenshot

These prices are the annual billing discount prices. The prices are slightly higher for each Surfer plan if you pay on a monthly basis.

Honestly, the Essential plan is going to be sufficient for most bloggers and small business owners. The 360 articles it provides are a LOT and the key feature is really the Content Editor.

We LOVE Surfer and even we don’t use the Audit tool much.

In terms of value compared to other popular SEO tools, Surfer is definitely on the more affordable end. Some tools, like Ahrefs and SEMrush cost over $100/month, which makes the $69/month from Surfer seem like a bargain, even for solopreneurs or smaller budgets.

Just make sure you consider your TIME here too. If you want to get the most out of your SEO strategy, you really need to use an on-page SEO optimization tool like Surfer.

There’s also a free 7-day trial available so you can get a taste before financially committing. But heads up – it’s pretty limited in scope, so the trial may not fully sell you.

Surfer SEO Alternatives

While Surfer SEO is undoubtedly a powerful content optimization tool, it’s certainly not the only player in town.

Depending on your specific needs, budget, and workflow preferences, there are several worthy alternatives to consider in the content optimization space.

SEMrush and All-In-One SEO Suites

One of the biggest names in the SEO tools market is SEMrush. While not solely focused on content optimization like Surfer, SEMrush offers its own suite of optimization capabilities like the SEMrush Writing Assistant and SEO Content Template.

These are bundled alongside the platform’s comprehensive offerings for keyword research, site auditing, rank tracking, and more.

For teams looking for an all-encompassing SEO solution with optimization tools included, SEMrush could be an enticing alternative.

SEMrush also offers a free trial to check it out.

AI Writing-Focused Tools Like Frase

If you’re specifically interested in combining data-driven content optimization with advanced AI writing capabilities, tools like Frase are worth exploring.

Frase takes a similar data-driven approach to analyzing top-ranking content and providing detailed briefs, But it places a bigger emphasis on AI-generated content creation and writing assistance compared to Surfer.

For those wanting an AI co-pilot to streamline the entire writing and optimization process, Frase could hit that sweet spot.

Frase also offers a free trial you can get started with.

Affordable Optimization-Only Options

For smaller budgets or those solely focused on content optimization without extra features, there are more affordable options like Clearscope and MarketMuse.

These tools hone in on the core capabilities of on-page optimization, content grading, and providing data-backed recommendations for improving content quality and search rankings.

While not as comprehensive as Surfer, they can be cost-effective choices if you simply need the optimization essentials.

Other Notable Mentions

Beyond the above categories, there are plenty of other content optimization tools vying for attention, each with its own unique selling points and specialties.

A few other names to consider are:

At the end of the day, the “best” Surfer SEO alternative will depend on your specific goals, experience level, team needs, and how much you’re willing to invest in an optimization solution.

While Surfer is certainly innovative, it’s not the only game in town – there’s a diverse ecosystem of options out there to explore and find the right fit for your content strategy.

FAQs About Surfer SEO

Is Surfer SEO any good?

Yes, Surfer SEO is widely considered a very good and innovative tool for on-page SEO optimization. Reviews praise its data-driven approach, intuitive content editor, and ability to provide detailed, real-time recommendations for improving content to outrank competitors. While not perfect, most find Surfer SEO extremely useful for creating high-ranking content.

Is Surfer worth it?

Whether Surfer SEO is worth the investment depends on your specific needs and budget. For bloggers, small businesses, and content teams willing to pay for premium optimization capabilities, most reviews conclude that Surfer’s time-saving features and potential SEO gains make it worthwhile. However, the pricing may be too high for solopreneurs or those only needing basic optimization.

Is Surfer SEO better than SEMRush?

Surfer SEO and Semrush serve somewhat different purposes. Semrush is an all-in-one SEO suite covering keyword research, site audits, rank tracking, and more. Surfer SEO is laser-focused on data-driven on-page optimization and content planning. Most reviews find Surfer superior specifically for the content optimization workflow, while Semrush is better for broader SEO tasks.

Is Surfer SEO free?

No, Surfer SEO is not a free tool. It offers a free 7-day trial, but that is limited in scope. To access all of Surfer’s optimization features like the content editor and data analysis, you must purchase one of their paid pricing plans which start at $59/month.

Verdict: Is Surfer SEO a Game Changer?

Alright, we’ve taken a deep dive into this Surfer SEO Review to reveal everything Surfer SEO has to offer – the good, the bad, and everything between.

So, is Surfer SEO worth it?

In my opinion, Surfer SEO absolutely has the potential to revolutionize your content workflow and SEO strategy.

It’s our #1 go-to tool for optimizing each and every blog post that we write before it’s published as well as what we use to update existing content to boost its rankings.

The SERP Analyzer and Content Editor features alone are worth their weight in gold. Having that detailed competitive analysis and real-time optimization guidance at your fingertips is an undeniable game-changer compared to flying blind or relying on guesswork.

Surfer isn’t a magic “rank #1 instantly” button. Achieving a content score of 100 on your post won’t guarantee its ranking in search engines, but it will give you your best shot.

Surfer SEO is still one of the best and most affordable SEO tools on the market and it’s an invaluable tool in our SEO success.

It has changed the game for us and a lot of other bloggers we know. Will you be next!?