If you want your pages to rank highly then you have to be well-versed in SEO. On-page and off-page SEO form the two halves of this highly competitive arena. On-page SEO refers to features you can optimize—mainly the page content and its underlying code. Off-page refers to actions taken outside your site, including link building and social media marketing. Both help each other symbiotically and are needed for a website to thrive.
But, if you have to focus on one aspect, on-page is the way to go. That’s because everything on-page is under your control (unlike off-page SEO). Even with a small budget, you can achieve fantastic results with the right on-page SEO strategy.
Surfer is a correlational on-page SEO tool that helps users analyze their website and competitors to make the changes needed to climb search result rankings and, hopefully, get the coveted top spot. In this review, we break down all you need to know about Surfer to help you decide if it’s the right option for you.
Surfer SEO is a cloud-based SEO tool that analyzes why pages rank for specific keywords. It focuses on three main areas:
- SERP Analysis
- Content Editor
- Keyword Researcher
The SERP Analysis element is the backbone of Surfer. From this information, you’ll be able to create new strategies and edit your content as needed to beat your competitors in the rankings.
Next is the Surfer Content Editor. This analyzes your blog posts and other pages to compare your keyword usage, content structure, media, and other elements to high-ranking results from the same keywords. You can also use it to develop optimized content as your write
Finally, the Keyword Researcher is similar to others you’ve probably used in the past. It helps you find the best keywords, see how they rank in particular markets and develop a larger strategy.
Surfer SEO Pricing
Compared to other tools like SEMrush, Cora, or Cognitive SEO, Surfer is much more affordable. Plans start at just $29, and they also have a 1-week trial for $1. If you opt for an annual plan, you can save up to 20% too.
- Hobby $29
- Basic: $59
- Pro: $99
- Business: $199
- Business+: $650
Competitor Starting Monthly Price:
|Page Optimizer Pro||$10|
Unlike other options, there’s enough to get started with the trial period and/or the basic plan so to help you decide if it’s really a good option for you or not.
Surfer SEO Features
Surfer is packed with tons of great features. But, we’re going to focus on its three main elements:
- SERP Analyzer
- Content Editor
- Keyword Researcher
Note: The Keyword researcher is a free tool you can add to Chrome. You don’t have to pay anything to Surfer to be able to use it.
1. SERP Analyzer
This is the core Surfer tool. How much benefit you get from it is what will encourage you to pay for premium or drop it after the trial period ends. The SERP Analyzer helps you optimize your existing content. It works by looking at top-ranking pages for a given keyword. From here, it identifies what factors equate to a higher ranking.
You begin by entering your keyword. For our purposes, we’ll go with “On-page SEO tool.”
Surfer will then search the web and generate a report for the top results. You’ll then see a chart with the top-ranking pages. By default, it will have the Total Word Count metric shown. You usually see that longer content outperforms shorter. But who didn’t know this already?
The real meat will appear on the left-hand column, where you can look at all the factors that calculate SEO correlations. You can select each of them to see how they individually measure up. The power bar indicates how strongly these component matter for rankings.
For example, you can select a highly important factor like “Missing common words and phrases” to see how this affects you and competitors. Best of all, you can enable multiple elements at the same time.
You can further configure these charts, too, such as excluding certain page links, narrowing results, filtering URLs, and more.
You can adjust to match your objectives, but it’s helpful to narrow results to a more reasonable 10-20 of the top ranking options. You may also want to disable average so you can see more precisely what’s working on sites and what isn’t.
Next, you may want to remove pages that aren’t real competitors such as informational pages, like Amazon or Reddit. In this example, we removed Neil Patel (you do these by tapping the eyeball icon) and added Surfer SEO’s homepage as our site.
From here, you’ll get a clear picture of exactly how your page stacks up against others.
2. The Content Editor
The Content Editor is designed for content creators, especially those aiming for improving on-page SEO content. Many other services offer this feature, but Surfer SEO has two primary benefits:
- It uses data from its SERP Analyzer, so you’ll see the real-time averages on the highest-ranking pages.
- You can optimize and write at the same time rather than a static checklist or a post-composition report.
It’s straightforward to use too. You input your keyword, and Surfer will begin its calculations. Except when you click on it this time, you’ll be guided to the content editor.
On the left side, you write your content as usual. It has all the typical formatting capabilities including links, headings, bullets, and images (it’s also compatible with Google Docs).
You’ll see the calculations on the left with suggested content length, heading count, paragraph count, and keyword phrases. As you create, all of this will be marked off for you, so you don’t have to guess whether you have everything needed or not.
Similar to the SERP, you can also customize the sites Surfer pulls data from:
Surfer includes the top 5 ranking pages by default, but you can include or exclude items as you see fit.
Finally, you can make manual adjustments to change word count, keywords, and add further topics you want to cover in a piece.
This is the especially helpful for getting optimized content from your writers even if they don’t have SEO experience.
3. Keyword Researcher
The Keyword Researcher is really handy for quickly finding the best keywords to use to plan your content and improve optimization.
This provides you information, including:
- Related keywords
- Geographic location
- SERP similarity
- Average search volume
Be aware this is a new feature that’s still in beta for the US. But, it already does have relevant information on similar UK and Australia markets.
Who Should Use Surfer SEO?
Compared to other tools, Surfer SEO is very easy to use. Whether you’re an SEO veteran or just starting out, you can get the hang of it in no time. But that doesn’t’ mean it’s not packed with advanced features that SEO experts will find useful.
If you have a small site or blog with a limited number of pages, you won’t get much value out of Surfer. Likewise, sites that aren’t ranking may also not get a huge benefit from it as they may have technical issues to address first.
Surfer is for medium to large-sized sites with pages that aren’t ranking as highly as they should be. Or you can use it while creating content for new pages. Here three scenarios when Surfer can come in handy:
1. Quick & Detailed Audit
You don’t have to waste time wondering what’s working or not. Surfer generates an audit in no time and tells you exactly what’s going on with your page and how it’s impacting ranking. It’s useful for not only generalized information, but searching specific aspects that you may want to tweak individually.
2. Working With Google Docs
Google Docs is the not-so-secret backbone of SEO content. SO much content is produced there before it’s ever published. Surfer integrates into Google Docs seamlessly with its Chrome extension.
Then you’ll be able to easily adopt Surfer’s suggestions directly into your Google Docs file with all the benefits from the on-site Content Editor included there for you.
3. On and Off-Page SEO Recommendations
Surfer is primarily an on-page SEO tool. But that doesn’t mean it has other useful tools. You can use Common Backlinks to get a list of domains that two or more competitors have links from. This will help you identify backlink opportunities for you to reach out to.
Features like these give Surfer SEO a robustness that its competitors don’t have.
Surfer SEO Alternatives
Cora and Page Optimizer Pro are two of the most popular Surfer alternatives. The leading advantage Surfer has over them is that it’s much easier to use. You can get up and run on it in no time.
It’s also an excellent middle ground between affordability and features. Cora has a high $250 starting price, while Page Optimizer Pro doesn’t offer the same robust analysis features. Here’s a quick comparison for you to understand the differences:
|Surfer SEO||Page Optimizer Pro||Cora|
|On-page SEO optimization tool||✔||✔||✔|
|Number of on-site ranking factors||Over 500||29||Over 800|
|Analyzes Multiple Metrics||Yes||No||Yes|
|High-Quality Keyword Analysis||Yes||No||Yes|
Is Surfer SEO Worth It?
Yes. It’s an incredibly powerful cloud-based app that can provide you with the insight you need to get your pages to rank more highly.
However, as with any other correlational SEO tool, there’s no one size fits all approach. Each page needs to be treated uniquely. Even if you make all the suggested changes, it’s possible not to achieve desired outcomes.
That’s why it’s best as part of a comprehensive SEO strategy that includes all the other variables needed for success.
- Content Editor helps you create optimized content as you write
- Specific charts and graphs for a range of metrics
- SERP Analyzer provides deep insights on competitors
- Strong keyword researcher tool
- Relatively affordable starting price
- Google Docs Integration
- Content editor suggestions feel like keyword stuffing at times
- Some suggestions compromise readability
- Keyword tool needs improvement and US localization
- SERP Movement can vary a lot (a fault of most-on page SEO tools though)
Surfer SEO: The Bottom Line
Surfers knock it out of the park in many areas. More than anything, it’s two main tools—SERP Analysis and the Content Editor—are extremely useful in helping you perfect your on-page SEO. The Keyword Researcher may not be amazing, but it’s still pretty effective, especially when combined with the first two features.
Ultimately, where Surfer really excels is value. You can’t get these types of detailed statistics and such useful graphs as affordably anywhere else. Between this and how easy it is to use; Surfer SEO is an excellent tool for any website looking to beat the competition and scale to the top of the rankings.
Surfer SEO Review
Ease of Use
Knowing your SEO is important if you want to get your pages to rank high. Maybe you’ve considered trying Surfer SEO, then? Surfer SEO is a correlational on-page SEO tool that boasts many interesting tools and features. Find out what the buzz is all about and if Surfer SEO is right for you in our thorough review.